Friday, March 26, 2010

A crazy few weeks!

Bon Bon Anglais
Whoever named this product did a terrible disservice to any English speaker. Thanks Coca Cola! It’s a drink that when translated from French means English Candy. It tastes like old bubble gum that you get on Halloween and only has any flavor for a minute or two. It also is known as lemonade here. Double whammy. Any time people realize that you speak English they assume that you would enjoy this “English Candy”. You may also be suckered in by the title lemonade and it sounds so refreshing after only drinking water for months that you agree. My suggestion: Don’t!

Dancing/Music Videos
The dancing here mainly consists of booty shaking and hip thrusting. There are many different styles of this as you may be able to discover if you look up Malagasy music videos. Its pretty interesting and it makes going out dancing a fascinating experience. Bringing a suitable guy is necessary or you can get offers to dance by a dozen different men at a time. And by offers I mean practically attacked while you try to dance with your friends. All in all its pretty fun to go out here and the music is a new style to me. Among the confusing songs are ones that sounds like "that's skeevy" or "le vache qui ri".

Tropical Storm
In the past couple weeks there has been a large tropical storm in the area. A huge amount of flooding has since left my region rather devastated. While most people are physically okay, most of the rice fields are ruined for the season. More than a week after the tropical storm has subsided into regular rainy season, most fields are still under several feet of water. Relief services have not made a visible presence here yet as there are many areas worse off. I haven’t been able to get out to the fields because of the high water level and mud, nor have other farmers.

With the flooding from the tropical storm, my kabone (latrine) filled with water. When it drained it left the land around my latrine weak and as I went to go use it, the ground collapsed. My right leg fell into the latrine and I had to haul myself out. A rather unpleasant experience if you can imagine. Cleaned myself up and only had some minor scrapes and bruises but I think I might be scarred for life mentally.

A group of Washington University in St. Louis students recently visited MBG in Mahabo. I went over there most days to work with them during the tropical storm. It was interesting to interact with people again and to have conversations in English with anyone other than Melissa. I forget that I am an Expat now and it seems strange to have been gone so long. Cultural differences are starting to make more sense to me and I would interpret some of the differences to them. In all, a lot of their plans were ruined or changed because of the weather but they still managed to do some valuable work. I learned how to make a water filter with them and hope to continue some of their work with local farmers.

Saw a huge snake dead in the road a few weeks ago, it looked like a constrictor. I also had a snake fall out of my mango tree yesterday and land outside my door. We stared at each other for a minute then he slithered into the forest behind my house. The very same day I also saw a millipede in my yard. It looked comfortable so I left it alone. Rats are the new bane of my existence. They eat my food, poop in my house, and wake me up in the middle of the night. I hope this changes and I’ve managed to trap/kill one and it still continues. While learning how to fish like a native Malagasy person there was a crocodile in the area O_O I am not allowed to swim in the rivers anyways but now there is extra incentive not to!

Thunder also keeps me up at night. Last night was the loudest and closest I think I’ve ever experienced lightning/thunder. It was basically right outside my house and made my bed shake. It was near deafening and seemed to linger for hours.