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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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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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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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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A Photographic Journey

A Photographic Journey

Over New Year’s we went to Antananarivo for some cooler temps, some fellowship with other English speakers, some play, some work, and alas, some shopping.. though shopping for stuff like Oatmeal and Sundried Tomatoes is not necessarily what I consider exhilarating shopping. The beauty of this rugged landscape that is Madagascar never ceases to amaze me.  Every time we make this 10-hour drive, I stand in awe of God’s awesome creation...

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Antananarivo

Antananarivo

Antananarivo, try saying that fast 10 times.  Antananarivo or Tana for short, is the capital city of Madagascar and is where we recently spent a week over New Years for business but also play and fellowship with other English speaking friends in the missionary community.  Some people despise Tana while others seem to enjoy it.  We enjoy it in somewhat small doses.  Like most capital cities, especially in developing countries, Tana is a city...

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WITH LOVE FROM MADAGASCAR… a must-see video!

WITH LOVE FROM MADAGASCAR… a must-see video!

If you’ve got 6 minutes and want to see an absolutely spectacular movie trailer about the real deal Madagascar– no cartoon animals here, you really must check out this video.  The full-length movie is coming soon. Here’s a little blurb from their website, “WITH LOVE FROM MADAGASCAR is an eco-adventure documentary about two Europeans traveling through Madagascar trying to find out if there is still a way to save the...

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On the Road

On the Road

Traveling between our city of Mahajanga and the capital city of Antananarivo is roughly 350 miles but travel takes 10+ hours with only small towns dotted along the two lane national highway. As such, there are only small take-your-chances-on-getting-sick restaurants along the way. So when hunger pains come and it’s time to stop for lunch, we pull over under a good tree, find a descent rock to sit on and take out our packed lunches. And...

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Chicken Count

Chicken Count

Quiz: A customary gift of friendship here in Madagascar is: flowers a froofy-smelling candle a chicken a stuffed fish on a plaque to hang on the wall   If you guessed C. a chicken, congratulations!  Yes, a chicken is the traditional gift of friendship here in Madagascar.  There’s not any hard and fast rules about this (that I know of), however it’s the typical fomba or custom. Since we moved back to Mahajanga in July, we’ve...

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Sunday Fun

Sunday Fun

There isn’t an overabundance of fun activities for kids here in Madagascar.  Thankfully though, we live on the northwest coast of the island where the days are hot and the beach is close.  As a mom of young kids, this lack of activities is definitely an unwelcome challenge.  No zoos, no parks, no natural history museum or sea center.  We do have 1 scant playground for which we’re thankful.  The other thing we’re incredibly thankful...

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Unsung Heroes (part I)

Unsung Heroes (part I)

  We decided to start a little “Unsung Heroes” series… a tribute to all the Malagasy people who work so hard, day after day, to eek out a living in order to care for their family the best they can.  The stories are unique and they are endless.  Our goal is that these circumstances and lives may not go unnoticed in the world…. at least in our small world and the circle of friends and family who view this blog. We found are...

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Lost in a Forest!!!

Lost in a Forest!!!

I could not wait to see what nearly four years of new growth would do to a devastated section of a mangrove forest.  My eyes leapt with excitement as we approached a wall of fresh green over 8 feet tall.  As we stepped off our canoes onto a piece of land that was once stripped of its forest and slowly bleeding its muddy surface into the ever expanding canal, we were enveloped by a new forest. The tallest of these trees stood over 12 feet tall...

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Ranomafana

Ranomafana

Two weeks ago, over Pentecost, we had a long holiday weekend… after all, doesn’t everybody have Pentecost Monday as a national holiday?  Along with our guests, we went to a lush rainforest, Ranomafana (literally translated as Hot Water because of the natural hot springs).  It’s one of the “must see” tourist sites on the island.  A large rainforest with a river meandering through the valley floor, full of lemurs, chameleons,...

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POTW

POTW

Fall is ending and winter is beginning here in Madagascar and with it, the glorious and HUGE poinsettia’s are in full and vibrant bloom! Like it? Share it!SharePrintGoogleTwitterLinkedInFacebookLike this:Like...

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Early Missionaries

Early Missionaries

Last week our Malagasy class w ent on a field trip to a center for adults who are blind.  This center teaches them a variety of trades so that in time, they may be employed as rug weavers, scarf and sweater knitters, basket makers, etc.  The center and the people were impressive however what really intrigued me was the early missionaries that started this center and lived in this remote location.  I’ve always been fascinated with the daily...

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“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

Last weekend our family traveled to Antananarivo, the capital city, so that I could attend a conference about “Ideas For Women’s Cancer Control in Africa”.  This conference, organized by TEDx, brought in specialists from several countries, including Italy, France, India, Zimbabwe, the UK, South Africa, Madagascar and the good ole‘ US of A.  The speakers were as varied as the countries represented… medical directors, researchers,...

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Field Trip to the School for the Visually Impaired

Field Trip to the School for the Visually Impaired

Yesterday our Malagasy class took a field trip to a school for visually impaired children.  The purpose of such field trips is to not only to be able to listen and speak in Malagasy but also to raise our cultural awareness.  I love these field trips and find them absolutely fascinating.  This school is the largest center on the island of Madagascar.  It was started in 1924 and moved to it’s current location in the town of Antsirabe in...

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The Rice of Life…

The Rice of Life…

Rice is not only a way of life here in Madagascar, rice IS life!  The Malagasy people are a blend of african and malayo-indonesian and signs of this heritage are seen throughout the country.  Rice fields can be seen in the wet rain forests of the east coast, the savanna of the high plateau, as well as the dry and arid west coast.  The average Malagasy adult can eat roughly 1 kg (or 2.2 pounds) of rice everyday between breakfast, lunch and...

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Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems

Two weekends ago, we hopped in the car and drove 90 minutes south to the town of Ambositra, the wood-carving capital of the island.  While there, someone pointed out where we could find raffia handmade items.  We climbed up a steep trail and emerged at the top of the hill outside a traditional Malagasy house.  We were warmly welcomed in with a “Mandroso!”  There we met a sweet elderly woman sitting on the floor of her bedroom amidst a...

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Money Matters

Money Matters

Money is an interesting thing here in Madagascar.  Though we have been paid for medical services in the form of livestock, fruit and/or vegetables before, this quite obviously is not the standard.  Malagasy money has quite the history of changing on several occasions.  For example, when we lived here before, we used the Malagasy Franc (MGF) but in recent years, the currency has returned to the pre-colonial Ariary.  The Ariary is 1/5 the...

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A Sign of the Times

A Sign of the Times

Madagascar is behind in the times with many things though I’m happy to report not with everything.  My find yesterday was a prime example.  We quickly stopped into a grocery store (which in and of itself is relatively recent… within the last decade or so) and I spotted an English magazine near the check out!  This is absolutely incredible!  This is just the second store that I’ve seen English literature here, the first being a...

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hot, Hot, HOT!

hot, Hot, HOT!

One may think that being a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean that all of Madagascar is hot.  However, Madagascar is in fact the 4th largest island in the world and therefore the climate can be drastically different.  Since we’re below the equator, our seasons are reversed from most of you, so currently it’s summer and we’re in the midst of the hot and rainy season.  Yet where we’ve been living on the high plateau...

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Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

    Our long-time good friend and main ministry partner, Josy, left his wife home with their 3 kids and made the 15 hour drive to spend a few days with us and our 3 kids.  It was fantastic!!  We learned something new with our time together…. kids are kids wherever they are and whatever culture they’re from.  Josy felt like he was transplanted back into the chaos of the three small children that he left behind and that chaos was...

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Alley of the Baobabs

Alley of the Baobabs

Last weekend we took a trip to the coast for a change of scenery and a little scouting trip.  To get an idea of the vastness of this island… it took 6 hours to travel by car from where we live in the middle of the island to the west coast!  Morondava is a bit of a sleepy town on the coast bordering the Mozambique Channel.  The town isn’t much to boast about but the baobab trees are another story!  These gems of the forest are one of...

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Sekoly

Sekoly is “school” in Malagasy and is what transpires four days a week for the three older kids on our team; Isabella (4), Oliver (3), and Eliana (2).  Sekoly coincides with Malagasy language lessons for the parents, however it’s a very different education for these little ones.  Jamie is their exuberant teacher and as a result, sekoly days are full of explorations and adventures, singing, learning Malagasy words, as well...

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Sights and Scenes

Sights and Scenes

  Often referred to as the “Eighth Continent of the World”, Madagascar is quite the unique island.  Around every corner there’s intriguing and sometimes not so intriguing sights and scenes.  We’ll spare you from the “not so” intriguing ones….  however, we will share with you the beauty of this Eighth Continent and the people who live here!  Come, walk into our world…. Like it? Share...

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