Antananarivo, Madagascar. October 7-17, 2022
The fourth largest island in the WORLD or the 8th Continent, if you prefer, Madagascar was all new to us. I wish I had quickly taken a French course, or could have picked up some Malagasy somewhere, because we have rarely been anywhere where we found so few other English speakers. Thankfully, we have played Charades off and on during our lives, and we managed to eventually communicate on those occasions when we strayed from our translator, Tina.
The trip to Madagascar should be a 2 hour flight to Johannesburg, then a 3 hour flight to Antananarivo (I must confess to a burst of pride that I have learned to spell that word!) However, it's not that simple at the moment.
We heard that someone in South Africa stole a lot of gold from Madagascar, about two years ago. They flew to South Africa in a private plane. South Africa apprehended the thief but is keeping the gold "for evidence". Hence, Madagascar is understandably angry about this, so they stopped all flights to and from South Africa. Therefore, we had to fly from Jo'burg, all the way up to Ethiopia, at terrible hours like 11 pm-4:30 AM, have a layover in Addis Ababa, which is admittedly interesting and has a Pizza Hut in the airport! But still... And then back down to Madagascar, arriving feeling tired from overnighting on the plane.
Tina was our hostess, scheduler, translator, accommodation and food planner, and transportation planner, besides her normal life jobs. Just call her Wonder Woman for short, though she dresses better than Wonder Woman. She had her sister Nancy pick us up from the airport and bring us to the first meeting, a meeting of BBM Madagascar (Back to the Bible Mission, Madagascar) where Paul preached, and I tried not to doze. Then we had pictures with everyone and went to see where we were sleeping.
Tina had arranged for an apartment for us all on a steep hillside overlooking the city. We LOVED the views! The sunsets were spectacular, the moonrises seemed so close, and we could look down on many of the houses and yards and learn about the locals from a safe distance. When it was time to get to know them, Tim's socks flying off the balcony provided the occasion for me to strike out into the neighbor and meet the neighbors and get 6 different people to help find those socks.
We also met neighbors while buying tomatoes and eggs from the local kiosks. I "bonjoured" more than I have ever "bonjoured" in my life.
Sunday Paul preached in a small, friendly church. No one quite knew what to expect and were surprised at this new thing of drawing while preaching and seemed to like it! I was pleased I didn't doze as I was seated on the platform.
On Monday we went to Tina's family's school. That was so good! Paul preached to the whole school on the high, flat rooftop, with Tina translating, and then we had to wait awhile so they gave us a Wifi connection, and we could finally let people know we had arrived safely. One of my fun things was to go around to a bunch of the classrooms and get my picture taken with the classes.
Tim and Tina went prospecting after lunch and scheduled a school for that very afternoon and four for the next day! Tina was tired so her sister Mano translated for that one. I'm so glad we got to meet Mano (pronounced Man-oo). I instantly liked her. She had to go into the hospital on Wednesday for surgery and it is very serious. We're still waiting to hear results.
Tuesday we had four schools, and we walked to them from Tina's Mom's house. That's unusual! One of them was HUGE and the school's sound system was ineffective so it was chaos at the back, with a little core of people listening well at the front.
Tina was on a mission to make sure we sampled a lot of the fruit of Madagascar and many of the dishes. I should have written down the names as I have forgotten many, but I do remember it was all good!
Wednesday Tina gave us the day off. Paul needed to rest and was glad, so Tim and I decided to try walking to the zoo. Tina's kids, Gloria and Fano came with us, as well as their nanny Ando. That's where most of my pictures were taken as it was a pretty outdoor day, and we had time to take pictures.
|I think the "banky" on the Ariary money is so cute 😊|
The Christians in Madagascar were persecuted for 26 years in the early 1800's. Rasalama was the first lady to be killed, so her name is in the church's name. It is called the Church of the Martyrs having been built in their memory. It's still having services.
On the road again!
Sunset through the city smoke as seen from the roof of our apartment.
My best picture of lemurs is a picture of a picture of lemurs, taken at the airport as we were leaving.