Not a whole lot to report to you folks back home since the last post. Things have been fairly calm on this side of the world. I got a few things planted in my garden that I've got going at my house, thanks Mom! Kale and spinach are already showing up. I did have to get some manure for my yard cause the red clay that is Madagascar just wouldn't have done well. So I went down the hill about 2 kilometers to where I knew some folks had some cows and asked them if I could buy some manure off of them. They let me have as much as I wanted and wouldn't let me pay them cause they said I taught their kids English. But I did buy 2 kilos of rice and a Coca-Cola (not the liquor he wanted, though) for the guy who helped me push the cart the 2 kilometers back up the hill to my house.
I ran out of Sur-Eau (the chlorine stuff I put in my drinking water) the other day and had to ride my bike 8km up the highway to Andasibe. When I say up, I mean Blue Ridge Parkway straight up climbing. It wasn't too easy but I got it done. The fun part was coming back down the RN2, 8 km of downhill flying fun! Yes, it was awesome and I will be doing a lot more of that.
I got visited by several other Peace Corps high-ups this week. It was great to have Leif Davenport, our Programs and Training Director, as well as Kelly Dailey, the desk officer in Washington who you guys in the States will talk to if ever emergencies arise here on the island. Let's hope you never here her voice or get an email. There was some other guy named Aaron, who does some kind of security something with the Embassy, who visited as well. They checked out all that's going with my house and my site and work and all. Great to have them come visit. Now, I love my site and I know that I lucked out with my placement here but you know it's true when Leif says my site makes him want to be a volunteer again. Damn skippy.
The same morning that I was visited by all those important Peace Corps and Embassy folks, some guy from my town came running to my house saying something about taking a picture of something that had just gotten shot. So I didn't know what dead thing I was about to take a picture. At one of the houses in my town, a crowd had gathered around whatever was lying on the ground. I didn't know what it was about to find laying there that people were gawking over. When I got close enough to see hat it, I saw a four legged, pot-bellied, coarse-haired, tusked wild-boar. I didn't even know we had wild boars in Madagascar! Three men from Moramanga (the Commissioner of the Gendarmerie Brigade, the Director of Public Works, and the owner of the Bezanozano Hotel) had been hunting near my site and had killed it that morning with a shotgun. All three of these gentlemen were carrying shotguns, 2 semi-automatics and single-shot break action. So I got some pictures of the beast and these Malagasy good ole boys with there shotguns. They even let me check out the shotguns! Things got interesting when one of the guys offered me a shell to put in the gun and said I could fire it off if I wanted to. I was very hesitant at first (I am a Peace Corps volunteer.....) but after he told me that he was the Commissioner of the Gendarmerie Brigade, I figured "What the hell." So I threw the shell in the magazine, loaded it into the chamber, pointed the gun away form town and into the sky and did what very few Peace Corps volunteers, I believe, have ever done. #thispeacecorpslife.
Next week, I will be crashing the Highland Regional all-vol meeting for fun in the capitol with, guess what, LASER TAG! That's right, it is here on this island. After that, it's back to the beach of Foulpointe where MY region will be having our all-vol meeting, with plenty of folks crashing it as well. But today, I'll be hosting guests at my house for the first time ever in Mada. Last time I was in Tana, I met a PCV from Malawai who was vacationing in Mada with a friend and I told them they were welcome to come to my site and stay and check out the forest. And they took me up on it! Gonna be fun. What to make for dinner? Oh I know, RICE. Welcome to MADAGASCAR!
Take care Stateside folks.
Madafolks, let's hang soon.
Go VOLS! (ehhhh)
PS: If you're from North Carolina, have lived in North Carolina, been to North Carolina, want to go North Carolina, don't want to go to North Carolina, then you should definitely read Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I loved it.