So it’s been a very long time since I wrote an anecdotal entry on this thing, I was thinking, since I have time an all, I’d do it today. It would be impossible for me to recap everything I’ve done, every experience I’ve had, and everything I’ve learned, so I won’t even try. However, I can hit up some highlights:
Places I’ve gone on the island since last time I wrote:
*Ranohira (isalo)- We went there for VAC (volunteer action committee) and while we were there, we hiked the national park and got to visit the natural pools and the waterfalls and see ring-tailed lemurs. It was baller. We also celebrated Women’s Day there (Fety Vevavy) and got the party started.
*Anja - I helped my friend Tara plant trees for her tree nursery at the national park. A bunch of volunteers came into her site to help, and we just had fun playing in poop and planting trees. :)
*Diego Suarez - I went here to celebrate Christmas with a bunch of PCVs, and it was an amazing time. The food was spectacular (Tons of sea food), and we went to the Emerald Isle which is an island there that has crystal blue water, snorkling, and the fish is caught by a spear-fisherman and served fresh. It was so amazing. We went clubbing on Christmas night, and it felt like being in America for a quick second… not that I usually go clubbing on Christmas…?
*Ambalavoa - Tara and I paraglided at my friend Brad’s site. It was awesome. We hiked this really high mountain and just ran off of it and glided down. It was invigorating and beautiful.
*Ihosy - I visited my best friend on this Island, Ben. I got to meet his really awesome Malagasy girlfriend, Anna, and we hiked up a mountain, and to a dam, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a good time.
*Antananarivo/Mantasoa – Went for IST (In-Service Training) and got to see my whole again which was wonderful. I also went there for New Years which was amazing. I miss those guys, but MSC (Mid-Service Conference) is gonna be here in no time.
Strange/New Things I’ve eaten:
*Chicken Brain, Feet, innards, Head
*Pig – innards
*Cow – Tongue
*Duck – Liver and other innards
Random assortments of things that I had no idea what they were.
Work at Site:
Welp, the trimester just came to an end, so I’m 1/3 of the way done with my primary project (teaching) here at site. It’s crazy to me how fast this is all going, but my kids did really well this trimester, so they are really stoked about it and so am I. I’m working on my PCPP (Peace Corps Partnership Program) to get money to fund a library in Alakamisy Ambohimaha, but I hit some snags that sent me back. I’m gonna have to get on that ASAP. Time is flying.
Things to look forward to:
*GOING HOME FOR VACATION IN < 4 MONTHS!
* The NEW STAGE that just came in! And I’m getting a new volunteer near me! And the Fianar VAC region is getting 4 (I think) new members!
*My Sitemate returning (She’s been in America for the past few weeks)
*The third trimester at school
*Reggae Fest this weekend
*Possibly seeing a bullfight on Monday
*Raphaeline returning to site (She’s my beautiful and wonderful and amazing counterpart and She’s been in Tana for Easter)
*I have packages coming in the mail! J (Mail from home is the best)
What I’ve learned so far:
*Flexibility and understanding
Overall, so far this experience has changed me in so many ways. When I got here, I was egotistical (which I still am a little I’m sure), dependent on others, determined my self worth by the perspective of others, and now, I have learned so much more about myself and how to be happy. Peace Corps is difficult, but the only way the struggle is going to make a difference in life is if you let it, I’ve come to learn. I’ve lost a lot of things by being here: money, two years away from my family, friends, etc, postponing getting my masters, my girlfriend, all of my creature comforts, my language, my culture, etc. Some of those things I’ll get back, some I won’t. In the long run though, I’ve gained so much more than I ever thought was possible. I’ve gained things that people can’t take from me, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to do this. Would I recommend it? I dunno. I guess it depends on the person because this could either be the hardest and worst two years of your life or it can be the most life changing and incredible experience. If you’re thinking of the Peace Corps, think long and hard, and if you think you’re ready, then go for it you’re your whole being. That’s all I can say.
Pictures to follow