A Village Transformed– Maman’i Kambana

A Village Transformed– Maman’i Kambana

In late 2006, the first mangrove propagule went into the mud in the mangrove channels that surround a remote peninsula in the village of Mahabana on the northwest coast of Madagascar.  It was an experiment.  The propagule grew, and grew, and grew.  A team of 8 Malagasy friends planted an additional 100,000 propagules.  They also grew.  Now, 8 years later, millions and millions of mangrove propagules have been planted in Mahabana and other...

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Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

We opened the Sarobidy Maternity Center just shy of 18-months ago.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve had the privilege to provide compassionate medical care for women during their pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum period in addition to well-baby care until their little ones are 6 months old.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able to share life-empowering education with women each week.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able...

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and the winners are….

and the winners are….

Last week I posted our first giveaway, thanks to the guys over at TenTree. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect… would people be as stoked to enter this as I would be or would I need to recruit friends and family to enter?  A bunch of you entered, some of you doubled and tripled your chances by liking Red Island Restoration on facebook or signing up to receive our monthly newsletters.  In fact, there were six nationalities...

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TenTree- a giveaway!

TenTree- a giveaway!

Back in August we hosted a great group of Eden Projects supporters for 8 days of crazy travel to remote villages, planting sites, the tsingy (limestone forests), grabbed hours of professional video footage, drone teaching and flying and lots of just good conversations.  It was one those packing-everything-you-can into 8 short days type of trips.  But it was a good one. Keep your eyes peeled for some awesome short videos of the Sarobidy...

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Through their Eyes

Through their Eyes

We recently got to hang out with Josh and Amanda, some Santa Barbara friends who came to visit us and the ministry here in Madagascar.  It’s always a joy when our two worlds of Santa Barbara and Madagascar merge and this was no exception. Often times what stands out to visitors has become just normal life stuff for us so we often walk past it without a second glance, thought or even an awareness or appreciation of how different life is...

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Introducing Paquerette’s Baby…

Introducing Paquerette’s Baby…

Meet Paquerette.  We’ve known Paquerette and her family for at least 2 decades, in fact we’ve known Paquerette since she was a little girl…and now she’s a mom.  She and her husband Haja welcomed their first baby, Cesar Gabriel into the world on August 27th.  Paquerette is extra special because not only is she our co-worker, ministry partner and friend, she is also the National Director for the dry...

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a STOLEN update

a STOLEN update

It’s been nearly two months since my last post.  Over two months since our maternity center was broken into in the early morning hours.  You can read more about that here.  In the wake of the theft, there’s been much to do to get back on our feet logistically and emotionally.  We sent a special mid-month newsletter and posted about the theft.  Originally, we had only calculated what the cost would be to replace the stolen...

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STOLEN at the Sarobidy Maternity Center

STOLEN at the Sarobidy Maternity Center

We’re super sad to report that the Sarobidy Maternity Center was broken into just before dawn on Sunday morning.  Every-one is OK.  There was no threat to life or injuries for which we’re extremely thankful after a few other burglaries in our city this weekend where this wasn’t the case!!   Nonetheless, it comes with a whole host of emotions… anger, frustration, sadness, the sense of violation and an underlying...

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a Grace story…

a Grace story…

This is a story of God’s grace which has been so lavishly and undeniably extended to this little family!  At the age of 20, Judith and her at-the-time-boyfriend had a son together in 1996.  As is all too common here in Madagascar, soon after their son was born, the father of the baby up and left.  Judith cared for her son as a single mom for a few years before getting married to her current husband in 2000.  Each day following their...

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This little guy…

This little guy…

Last month while the Westmont team was here we celebrated this little dude’s birthday.  How can it be that my youngest baby is four already? During my pregnancy with him, I knew with all my motherly instincts that he was going to be a boy.  In fact, seven dreams during my pregnancy confirmed this.  He entered the world and our lives on a beautiful morning the day before Father’s Day in a birth pool in our bedroom.  I didn’t...

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Westmont 2014

Westmont 2014

Just a few days ago we said veloma to four wonderful Westmont College students that were with us for four weeks through the Emmaus Road program.  They joined a team of 25+ Malagasy young people… most of whom work with us either at the Sarobidy Maternity Center or with Eden Projects or who are friends or are friends of friends.  It was an intensely fun time together as we had the privilege to bring together two worlds that we love; our...

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Genotine’s Story

Genotine’s Story

Genotine recently delivered her second baby, a sweet little girl named Marigette.  At 19 years old, this is Genotine’s second baby.  Her first baby is a little boy who just recently turned two years old.  Two precious children from two different fathers, both of whom are no longer around.  Instead Genotine is a single teenage mom with 2 children just trying to survive. This little family lives with Genotine’s mom in a 10′ x...

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Lakana at Sunset

Lakana at Sunset

The crew of 4 students from Westmont College are with us this month and we’re joining efforts with a team of 20+ Malagasy young people from our Eden Crew and Maternity Center crew for a month-long mission trip.  Each morning we meet in the gazebo at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  Jamie leads a fun challenge and pretends that he’s Jeff Probst from Survivor for the day.  We then sing songs in Malagasy and English and someone shares...

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TCK love

TCK love

I’ve been thinking a lot about TCK’s lately… third culture kids.  You may or may not be familiar with that terminology or what in the world it means.  Essentially TCK’s are those kids that grow up in a culture other than their parents home culture (or first culture).  Therefore they typically don’t truly identify themselves with their parents culture but they don’t truly identify themselves with their host...

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Signage

Signage

I can’t help but to love the signs on the roads in Madagascar.  They’re mostly made of cement with the exception of the few that are made of metal.  I’m pretty sure they’re all hand-painted– you know ’cause we’re quite the developing place around here.  The national highways are just as developed as the signs that are on the side of their roads.  Two lane roads with one lane bridges zig zag...

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Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Today we celebrated the 1-year anniversary since opening the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  As a staff team, we celebrated by giving each other high-fives, hootin’ and hollerin’ and conducting prenatal visits.  It’s been a joy to watch this dream become a reality, to watch how God moves, to experience His provision and His grace.  It’s been a gift to enter into women’s lives here, to come closer to the depths of...

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Home Visits…

Home Visits…

Postpartum care for a new mama and baby is unheard of in this country.  I’ve witnessed on several occasions where babies are never even examined before they go home… not even a listen to the heart or lungs.  Once discharged from the hospital or clinic where the woman delivered, moms and babies don’t receive any follow-up postpartum care.  This of course doesn’t take into account those women that deliver at home,...

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Celebrating Forests–

Celebrating Forests–

Happy Earth Day/Arbor Day week!  We’re super stoked that Jamie is the International Director for Eden Projects here in Madagascar.  This organization is over-the-top amazing in their commitment to planting trees, restoring habitat, and saving lives through employment!  Take 1 minute (literally) to watch this video below and be inspired by all that has happened in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Haiti in these last 10 years— 72 million...

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This (little) girl…

This (little) girl…

Just like her big sister did last month, this little girl celebrated a birthday last week.  6 years old.  Time seems to pass even more quickly with each year.  This little girl of ours was a whole 13 days late… and when she decided to make her appearance into the world, she did so with force and intensity… a bit like a freight train, in fact. From 6 cm to having a beautiful baby girl in my arms in less than 25 minutes… over...

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Maman’i Josy

Maman’i Josy

In Madagascar, parents are known by their children… Maman’i Josy is Josy’s mom.  Sometimes Josy’s mom also goes by the name of Maman’i Dina or Maman’i Redy… or any of her other 4 children.  She’s a sweet women who has seen a lot in her nearly 80 years of life– an age well past the average life expectancy in Madagascar.  After nearly 60 years of marriage, she’s seen her children...

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Global People

Global People

Tears… welling up in my eyes and beginning to stream down my cheeks as I read these words.  Head nodding… as these truths strike so many cords for our family individually and collectively.  Heart rejoicing… that we’ve been privileged with this life in which God has blessed us to be a global people. By now you probably have no idea what I’m talking about but hopefully your curiosity is peaked.  Head on over to A...

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Lending a Voice…

Lending a Voice…

Life in Madagascar.  It’s difficult to explain.  It’s beautiful and it’s ugly.  It’s triumph and it’s defeat.  It’s growth and it’s tearing down.  It’s truth and it’s lies.  In these ways, it’s really no different than anywhere else in the world.  One of the big differences of course is the poverty in which Madagascar is entrapped in.  Some stats place Madagascar as the 4th poorest country in the world while others...

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Tropical Cyclone Hellen

Tropical Cyclone Hellen

(11:30am Monday morning- Madagascar time) If you can’t see it… we’re that massive island (the world’s 4th largest in fact) underneath this storm!  Our city is the “pin mark” in the NW corner of the picture. Cyclone Hellen is building in intensity and is now a category 4 with winds approximately 142 miles/hour at the eye of the storm. It’s moving incredibly slow at just 3-5miles per hour so the potential...

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SMC Sings…

SMC Sings…

A few weeks ago we started singing with the ladies before and after our class sessions.  It’s amazing how singing breaks the darkness and the staleness of the air and replaces it with life and refreshment.  We’re singing about the great love of Christ and singing about God’s grace for us.  Some of the women in our program are Christ-followers.  Some are not.  Some are Muslim while others may worship their ancestors and...

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Little by little at the Sarobidy Maternity Center…

Little by little at the Sarobidy Maternity Center…

It’s been really good to be back to work at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. To be with these women, to build relationships with them, to hear their stories of triumph and defeat, to rejoice with them and mourn with them, to laugh with them, sing with them and pray with them.  To marvel with them over their babies and to giggle together when their baby smiles, rolls over and begins to crawl.  It’s been good and it’s been...

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This girl…

This girl…

This little chick-a-dee of ours just turned 8.  How is that even possible?  I can vividly remember the excited anticipation when she was still in my womb and the moment she entered the world… our hearts and lives were forever changed and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  This girl… she’s pretty amazing.  She’s spunky and full of life, she’s a lover of animals and people.  She’s an amazing...

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Voandalana…

Voandalana…

Say you live in sunny Santa Barbara and you travel to Maine to visit friends and you bring back some still kickin’ lobster for your friends back home.  That’s a voandalana.  Or perhaps you live in Arizona and you’re traveling to California for a vacay and when you return home, you bring your friends some awesome avocados.  That’s a voandalana.   The literal translation of voandalana is “fruit of the...

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This is Madagascar…

This is Madagascar…

We’ve been back in Madagascar for 2 weeks… the journey was quite the adventure– one which you can read here.  No matter how many times we return back and forth, there’s always an adjustment.  When returning to the States, the adjustment is to smooth roads, cleanliness, blending in in a crowd, speaking English at all times, understanding cultural clues, helpful sales people, and general efficiency.  Those are all good...

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The Full Story

The Full Story

I haven’t been posting much lately, or posting practically at all for the last 6’ish months.  Our days have been busy with fundraising and all the State-side work that comes with “home assignment”.  And truth be told, life for me… my life, is a bit uninspiring when in the States.  Life can be pretty uninspiring when in Madagascar too… but it’s different.  I find Madagascar inspiring– the...

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Essential Oils!

Essential Oils!

Last week we were blessed to receive a huge box packed with lots of love by some friends of ours in frosty Ohio.  Truth be told, this friend and I have never officially met, as in, in person.  We’ve emailed, texted and talked on the phone… and without a doubt, we’re sisters from another mother.  She lived and worked in Madagascar for a year back in 2000.  Many people say, after spending any significant amount of time in...

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How to Send a 20-foot Container and Not Go Crazy….

How to Send a 20-foot Container and Not Go Crazy….

Boxes.  Totes.  Purchasing.  Receiving donations.  Sorting.  Packing.  Itemizing.  Applying value for each item.  Numbering.  Taping itemized list and box number.  Zip-tying.  Packing Truck.  Driving Truck to Sacramento.  Unpacking Truck into holding container.   94 boxes/totes later.   All of these are awaiting to be packed on a 20-foot (or maybe 40-foot) ocean freight container which will then be shipped across the world to...

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What it takes for US to return to Madagascar…

What it takes for US to return to Madagascar…

You may remember when we first went to Madagascar it was a bit of a trial… a trial to make sure that our family wouldn’t merely survive but thrive in ministry on the Red Island.  As a result, we decided it was in our best interest to go to Madagascar as “mid-term” missionaries. Mid-term being roughly 2 years with the possibility of extending.  This has been our status for the last 3+ years. We have continually sensed...

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Heartline in Haiti

Heartline in Haiti

Earlier this month, Jamie and I (sans kiddos), traveled to Haiti with our awesome new teammates, Neal and Danielle Carlstrom and their wee one, Jolie.   Though our time was short in Haiti (Tuesday morning to Friday), our time was rich– full of learning, conversation, encouragement, ideas, prayers and oh so much more.  The major goal of our trip was to visit the Heartline Maternity Center, one of the maternity center’s that...

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Josy Update #8- Amazing News!

Josy Update #8- Amazing News!

  Last week we shared with you the most recent news about Josy and Redy– that the surgery had been performed and the only news we had was that we knew they were both OK.  On Friday morning, November 1st, we received a phone call at 4:30am from India.  Josy was on the other end of the line.  His voice ecstatic, he shared the good news that the initial kidney function tests revealed that his new kidney was working perfectly!  The...

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Video Ministry Update- October 2013

Video Ministry Update- October 2013

We’re excited to share with you our newest ministry video of 2013 as God restores health, forests, and hope in Madagascar! Restoring Health– through the Sarobidy Maternity Center as we strive to empower impoverished women with truth, education, and culturally sensitive and compassionate medical care during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the newborn period. Restoring Forests– through the planting of over 55 million coastal...

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Hopping over to Haiti

Hopping over to Haiti

On Monday, Jamie and I are traveling, sans kiddos, to Haiti for 5 days! You may wonder, Haiti– why Haiti?  In truth… it’s a good excuse to have some much needed time away from our tribe of little crazies, er… kids.  The first time ever actually…in over 7 years!  But really, there’s an even better reason why we’re traveling to Haiti– to visit the Heartline Maternity Center.  This awesome...

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Before… and …After

Before… and …After

It’s almost indescribable the transformation that took place at the house where Jamie grew up into what is now the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  I think Rota, our Malagasy midwife said it best after living in the house for a few months before and during the construction and renovations… her words to be exact, “I felt like I was living in a house within a horror movie”.  Note that Rota comes from a lower middle class...

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It Takes a Village…

It Takes a Village…

We often think of the remainder of this line as it takes a village to raise a child… this is indeed the case in Madagascar and we love this aspect of Malagasy community life.  This last year, we’ve been blessed and encouraged to find that it also takes a village to open a maternity center. The community– both our Malagasy friends within Madagascar and internationally, our American friends living in the USA, the Philippines and...

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3 Countries and A Familiar Outsider

3 Countries and A Familiar Outsider

We’ve been back in the States for close to two weeks now.  It was smooth sailing across the world on each and every leg of travel.  The 10-hour drive from our home in Mahajanga to the capital city of Tana.  The 11-hour plane ride from Tana to Paris.  The 11.5-hour plane ride from Paris to Los Angeles and the 3-hour traffic-jammed drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.  Smoooooth sailing.  Honestly. Done back to back, this journey...

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First Babies

First Babies

The first two women of the Sarobidy Maternity Center had their babies in the last week! Judicia had a beautiful baby girl and Prisca, a sweet baby boy! Both moms and babies are doing well and are settled in at home.  Rota, the malagasy midwife and I have already had a few home visits with each mama and baby as we make sure both are healthy, breastfeeding well, watching the weight of the baby, healing, educating and praying for them.  The home...

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It’s time…

It’s time…

It’s mind-boggling to us that in less than 8 days, we’ll be on the first leg of our journey back to the USA for the fall.  It’s only been a year since we were last in the States for the main purpose of completing my midwifery license and taking my certifying board exams.  In reality, one year isn’t very long to be away from the States.  In reality, one year isn’t very long that we’ve been back in Madagascar...

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Expectant…

Expectant…

I wanted to take the time to introduce you to the 10 women currently enrolled in the Sarobidy Maternity Center’s prenatal program.  The staff and I consider it an honor and privilege to get to know these women and walk alongside of them during these months leading up to the birth of their babies and then for the 6 months after their babies are born while they are in the postpartum/child development program.   Rose, 27 years old,...

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Josy Update #4

Josy Update #4

    It’s been several months since I last wrote an update about Josy.  If you receive our monthly newsletters, (or if you don’t and want to… sign up by dropping us a line here) you know that his health has stabilized, he’s been receiving dialysis 3 times a week while living in Tana which is a 12-hour drive from his family.  Life has returned to Josy… to his body, to his eyes, to his spirit.  Back in...

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Opening weeks…

Opening weeks…

On Monday, May 13th, just 1 day after American Mother’s Day (Malagasy Mother’s Day is actually the 26 of May), we officially opened the doors of the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  What a feeling!  We received the first 5 pregnant women that day and the joy in the air was palpable. The second week, we added the education component to the prenatal program.  As you can see from the picture… we started with the...

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On the Eve of Opening Day…

On the Eve of Opening Day…

It’s the eve of opening day… not the eve of the opening day of baseball season… though I have desperately missed the last few years of these. Not the eve of a summer break or the eve of a beautiful relaxing vacation, though both of those would be great too.  Rather, it’s the eve of the opening day of the Sarobidy Maternity Center. It’s CRAZY to think back to summer 2007 when God whispered this plan to me, the way...

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Smoked Fish- A micro-loan project

Smoked Fish- A micro-loan project

60-year old Eliza is a single mother to 7 children and a grandmother to 7 grandchildren.  For some time, she’s been struggling to keep her last 2 children in the government college.  The fact that they’ve been attending college is actually quite remarkable! Eliza lives in Antanimajaja and has long attended the Baptist there.  In fact, she used to help care for Jamie in church when he was a child.   Eliza, like many, lives in an...

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Glory School: A micro-loan project

Glory School: A micro-loan project

When 1+1+1= 42… Forty-two is the number of boys and girls that are now receiving a preschool and early elementary school education after a father and his two adult daughters each took out a $95 loan and then combined them to open the Glory School.   Forty-two kids who no longer need to walk 2 hours to go to school in town.  Their favorite subjects?  Math, reading, writing and of course PE… which includes playing soccer and using...

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Micro-Finance Loan Projects

Micro-Finance Loan Projects

In early 2012 we started a small micro-finance loan project after some friends gave a generous gift to get this started.  Last month, we did a year-end review of the project.  We’re thrilled to share that in the last 12 months, 108 women and men have a received small loan to start or grow their existing businesses!!  So far, all 108 individuals who received loans are people who are known by the micro-finance committee from different...

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Around Here

Around Here

Around here, life has been intense.  Our days have been beyond full and our nights of sleep sometimes a little a lot too short.  Around here, our minds have been swirling with the need-to-do’s, the want-to-do’s, the must-do-nows, and the emergency-do’s.  Around here, our bodies sometimes feel like they are keeping up simply with the force of adrenaline and a little afternoon caffeine. Around here, our hearts have been heavy...

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