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 a testimony or ways they’ve seen God work in their lives. Afterwards a few break off to help make lunch consisting of rice and some form of laoka (sauce) each day. The rest of the gang gets to mixing cement, making concrete bricks and carrying the heavy suckers across a large property to where we’re rebuilding the perimeter wall around the maternity center. Of course it’s not all work and no play… there’s definitely more talking, laughing, joking and teaching/learning English and Malagasy going on then there is work… but that’s the point! The wall is just the platform for these relationships to be built. In the afternoons, the gang heads down to the local soccer field, walks into town, eats street food, plays basketball or the equivalent of bocce ball, and of course the talking, laughing, joking and teaching/learning continues. Each night the Westmont students go back “home” with their Malagasy host families. Worship together, eat together, work together, pray together and play together is always our motto.
Last week we took the gang on a lakana or Malagasy outrigger canoe to one of the small islands off our city where we’ve reforested the area with Eden Projects. It’s an “experience” to say the least– for the Americans as well as the Malagasy who are experiencing this for the first time. Of course when tromping through knee-deep and thigh-deep thick mud, that is teaming with crabs and barnacle ridden mangrove tree trunks, a mud fight always ensues. Poor Litcho, is still picking dried mud out of his ear. Always fun, always an adventure.
Perhaps even better than the mud fight though is the lakana ride back at sunset. Personally, I don’t know if it gets much better than riding a hand built wooden lakana on the Indian ocean with a rainbow in the distance in one direction and the sun setting in the other direction with a bunch of great people… I never cease to be in awe and wonder of the beauty of this place we call home and the opportunities we get to share it with others. Here’s a short minute-long video so you can catch my drift…