The first few days of our trip were all travel and it was exhausting! We finally got to our hotel around 3am (Madagascar time) on Sunday. We got about 3 hours of sleep, woke up the next morning and had breakfast at the hotel. We are treated so well by everyone at the hotel and our rooms are great. After breakfast we unpacked all the Youthlinc duffels. The lunch on Sunday was amazing. All of our lunches so far have been authentic Malagasy and delicious. Sunday afternoon, we toured the capital of Madagascar. We rode in buses and drove all around the city, which was very crowded and busy. We traveled to the top of Tana (at the top of the city) and it was absolutely gorgeous. We overlooked the whole city and a lot of us mentioned how it reminded us a lot of home. It was really neat to see the rolling hills and the busyness of the city, accompanied by the country side and the rice fields. We went to bed that night filled with utter excitement. Monday morning we woke up and headed out to the village.
As soon as we could see the village, we could see all the kids and the women lined up. I can honestly say that my heart skipped a beat. It was crazy to see how excited they were to see us and it seemed almost silly because they had NO idea how over joyed we were to see them. While walking through and shaking their hands, I realized that this was what it’s all about. Those people were the reason we were here and even though they thought we were there to help them, little did they know that their impact on us would be far greater.
To kick off opening ceremonies the kids sang. I think I most definitely speak for all of us when I say that it was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. We ended closing ceremonies with us singing “You Are My Sunshine” and it was very fitting. Our love for the people had already grown tremendously and we had only spent a few hours with them!
We then split up and went to our different stations. Vocational prepped for their coming lessons with the people by setting up the sewing machines. Business did the same with computers and English camp got ready for the first round of lessons. Home visits came back with exciting stories about visiting the tombs they use here. In Madagascar they do something called turning of the bones and home visits have had the opportunity of touring the tombs where they place the bodies and bones of their dead. It was crazy cool and definitely eye opening to see how rich their culture is here. Construction is working hard mixing cement, moving bricks, digging and carry bags of dirt and it’s just so awesome. Seeing the progress of this school we’re building is very satisfying and makes you want to work harder, but also take a nap all at the same time. Our garden is also making tremendous progress, seeing as how it began as weeds and is now flat and ready to begin planting.
We have had an incredible two days of work here and we have found that although the days are long, time seems to move incredibly fast. We are constantly all reflecting and soaking in every second. We are so blessed and enjoying each other’s company. Having the time of our lives to say the least!
Btw, our toilet paper is PINK.