In preface, there really is no such thing as a “typical” day here, so I just took today, the first day of February, as an example of life here in our little town of Antsirabe, Madagascar…
7:20am – I know this hour surprises some of you, but this is when I wake up, generally very rested and ready for a new day (Ps. 3:5, Lam. 3:22-23). This morning I decided not to shower, mainly because this past week we’ve had only hot water in the shower. As much as I would NEVER have thought this before experiencing both, it is much easier to take a cold shower then a boiling hot one! Ha ha. Oh, and I did take one the day before, so am not entirely disgusting. ;) On to my morning quiet time... :)
From 8:30-12:30 is language and culture school. Most of the time we take a cookie and coffee (lemonade for me) break mid-way through. Edouard says I make “tsara be mofo mamy,” which is literally “really good sweet bread!” lol. I guess it just comes with being a Bergthold! Today we take the time to enjoy some bread that Edouard’s wife so sweetly sent us.
After lunch, Heather and I drive over to the Norton’s house, for they graciously allow us to use their internet. Today (and every day thus far, by the grace of God) we manage to avoid hitting any one of the myriad of pedestrians, bicyclists, pousse-pousse, animals, or anything else on the road. It is always an adventure driving and always lovely to catch up on how our friends in America and other parts of the world are doing. :0) We love you guys!
Next we go to the mechanic’s. Fret not - our truck is running well! Last Sunday, however, it didn’t want to start after church. A gentleman from the church said he knew where a mechanic was, but figured it was closed since it was Sunday. We walked a few blocks down the dirt road to see that, sure enough, it was closed. Thankfully the mechanic lived next door and was willing to come fix the truck! After he fixed it I asked, “ohatrinona ny totaliny,” to see what I owed him. His answer did not sound like any number I had learned, so I asked our friend if he could help translate. Turns out the guy was saying that there was no charge! How nice was that?! God truly blesses us beyond what we can think of! So today we took the kind mechanic a thank you note and cookies. :)
Our next stop was the bakery for some fresh bread, and then on to the market where everyone wants you to buy something – fruit, a pousse-pousse ride, a live chicken (Ps. 148:10). I couldn’t help but grin when greeted “salama tompoko!” by a man happily slicing open an entire head of zebu. We last went to ShopRite, the only grocery store in town, for our meat, peanut butter, and milk in a box. :P Once we got home there were the normal after-shopping things to do such as putting away our groceries, soaking our fruits and veggies in bleach water, and trimming and boiling the chicken (I think I am going to attempt a chicken pot pie tomorrow – mmm!).
Then we studied Malagasy, mostly going over our translation and grammar homework for tomorrow. We’ve been using our vocabulary words around town as we take walks and shop. This past weekend we decided to be very purposeful about using what we had learned, and took our short biographies (IN Malagasy-woohoo!) to a nearby park. There we queried, “afaka miteny Malagasy miaraka aminao ve aho” (which means may I practice Malagasy with you?) and proceeded to share about ourselves. People were very open to talk with us, which made us want all the more to know Malagasy so we can know what the people are saying and how to respond! Please continue to pray for quick language learning AND speaking for us both!
Tonight was Mexican night for dinner. The homemade tortillas with zebu hamburger were quite delectable. We are eating so well, you guys! Heather and I calculated that we spend the most money on food right now (which still isn’t too much), and it is well worth it. We figure we’ll eat so well these first three months that if we hike for a week or a month into the rain forest at a time and only have rice and beans, we’ll be quite okay with it!
After supper we study some more, finish up our homework, and have a heart to heart chat. Ha ha – we have those all the time! :) I am now writing this update to you my dear friends, plan to read a little and then head to bed!
I hope you enjoyed this little day in the life (Prov. 25:25), and know that I love you all dearly!