Manahoana from Madagascar everyone! It's so good to finally be here. Man, I don't even know where to begin!
The flights were looooooooooong. But it was okay, I slept through most of it. From South Africa we flew on a smaller sketchier plane which was exciting! Haha. I don't have much to say about sitting on planes and airports. Not much fun.
Wednesday afternoon we arrived in Tana and I ended up with all my luggage! I was relieved cause I had heard about some missionaries that go and don't get all their luggage for a couple of weeks. So I was happy about that. First of all, the little kids here are SO cute! Yeah, I'm a dude and I just used the word cute. Sue me! It was kinda sad cause when we first got there the kids came up to us and started asking for money. I guess we're not supposed to, so all we could really say was 'Azafady! (sorry). But they looooove fist bumps here. It's weird, I feel kinda like a celebrity here, but at the same time like a zoo animal cause everyone just stares at me. Haha and I don't think it's cause I'm 6'5, but cause I'm a vazaha (foreigner). Everyone is tall to them! Pretty much the tallest I've seen here is maybe 5 feet tall. It's funny cause every once and a while an investigator or something will point to me and say, "Lava be!!" which means very tall. It's pretty funny. I also saw Elder Rasmussen!! He was at the airport to pick us up. We immediately started talking about how we were kind of related. He's a great guy.
So after we met the mission president, his wife, and some of the other couples that work at the mission home, we got our new assignments. I got assigned to Talmatave with Elder Moulton! So awesome. It did suck though, cause we had to take an 8 hour bus ride here and it was way bumpy. We ended up getting here friday morning around 3. But other than the bus ride I'm really liking it here. It's way humid and hot here, so I always feel sticky. It's weird, but I'll just have to get used to it I suppose! To be honest, I wanted to get outta Tana. All the streets were absolutely PACKED with people and everywhere smelled like burnt garbage and probably some other things that I don't want to think about. So yeah, I'm really liking it here. Everywhere in Mada is gonna be something like that, the people here are really poor. But this place is nicer, a bit more clean. Plus the beach is nearby!! We had a zone conference on saturday and we went and played soccer and volleyball at the beach. It was so fun! And beautiful. I'll be sure to put a few pictures up of it.
There's not a whole lot to say about the food. Rice. Rice and more rice. Haha it was really hard for me at first to finish a whole bowl of rice cause it filled me up so fast. But I'm able to eat more of it now. They have a bunch of different toppings called loaka they put on it. Different meats, sometimes salsa and beans. Pretty good. To go with it they give you burnt rice water. It's weird, all the other missionaries love it, but I'm not the biggest fan. I hear it'll grow on me though! Oh and the sodas here, aaaaaamazing. So freakin good. Everything has real cane sugar in it, none of this corn syrup crap. My favorite might be the Fanta's, especially Fanta ananas (pineapple). They also have this really good one called Bonbon Anglais that tastes a lot like banana laffy taffy. I think you'd like that, mom!
Teaching here is pretty fun. Elder Moulton does most of the work cause I'm not mahay (skilled) at malagasy at all. I can say pretty much whatever I want, but when they say something back is when it gets awkward... I can't understand with their accents and with them speaking so fast. It's frustrating, but I know I'll get it eventually. They speak a different dialect here too, so that makes things a little more difficult. It's been a pretty big adjustment moving in to Madagascar, but by far the hardest thing is having all these wonderful people here that are so welcoming and not being able to communicate with them. It's a little depressing sometimes actually. But not too bad. A lot of the missionaries here say they didn't get comfortable with the language until about it year into it, so that makes me feel a little better. I'll just keep working hard. Whenever there's a word I don't understand, I scribble it down in my planner and Elder Moulton goes over it with me at the end of the day. It'll come. I know it will. :) One lesson we had stood out to me. It was at night and we were teaching this family in their home by candlelight. We taught them all about prayer. And when I would say something, sometimes they wouldn't understand me, but for the most part they did. Anyways, this family was so accepting and even though I couldn't understand anything they said, you could tell they were accepting things. It was cool to see, and I got this overwhelming feeling that even though I don't speak the language now, that everything would be okay and that soon I would be able to speak with these wonderful people.
Let's see. I can't really think of anything else for the moment.. So send me some questions! Oh and it turns out I still only get an hour a week for email, so sorry if these get a little shorter! I'll try to make the most out of it. And I'm probably missing a few things, but I'll write it down and get it in next week when I email again. Anyways, I'll get to some of the personal emails! And I'll get some pictures up. I love all of you! Tiako ianareo!
Here's the mailing address for anything you would like to send me. I love you all!
Me and Elder Rasmussen!
Me and Elder Moulton!
Our chapel. Way sweet!
View from the mission home in Tana. Beautiful!
The beach in Talmatave.
The street to our house. I forgot to snap a few of the house, I'll get some in next week! It's way big, there's 6 of us there. I love it :)
Another cool pic from the beach in Talmatave!
First view of Mada. The field is white! Well... In a manner of speaking ;)
Some cool looking houses in the area.
It's a jungle out here!
The South African airport!