Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beauty in the midst of poverty

April 4, 2011

Just got back yesterday from a village outside a small town called Ankazobe. We went with the AMI students (where Randy teaches). The purpose of the trip was to reach out to the villagers there by running a children's, teens', and adult ministry. We left Friday morning on a HUGE bus packed to the GILLS with lots of luggage and equpiment tied to the top of the bus - including stuff for a home-made shower, tents, backpacks, huge pots for cooking food and all the food we'd need for the weekend (as food was not easily gotten there in the bush).

It was a 3 hr drive on fairly good roads that ended with a 10 kilometer drive on a bumpy (though very good) dirt road. Eventually all of us had to get off the bus and walk about 2 kilometers. “Why did you have to get off and walk?” you might ask. Because the bus had to cross a VERY primitive bridge. The driver had to drive the bus wheels exactly on the main beams, which were about 1 foot wide, across the river. We weren't sure it was going to make it, but all the Malagasy thought it would be ok. …..hold your breath....pray....gasp.....we made it!

This village was your typical Malagasy bush village. In one sense it's the epitome of poverty and in another sense I don't think I've ever seen a place or a people SO beautiful....Everywhere I turned I saw homes made of brick covered with a mud/dung mixture.  Along with them beautiful pairs of dark brown eyes were peeping around a door, a window, a tree here and there trying to take in the sight of vazah (foreigners) for the first time. Eventually courage was built up and groups of barefoot beauties of all ages would slowly come walking up to the bus or hang back under a small canopy made of tree branches and thatched roofs.

It would take me hours to write all that we experienced this weekend so I'll just share a few of the highlights with you. The boys enjoyed walking around with a hammer they found from the tent sets that we brought and some toy construction vehicles pretending to be busy fixing....well....I'm not really sure what. At first the boys were apprehensive about hanging out with the Malagasy children in the village, however, by Sunday they were very comfortable with all the children following them around trying to touch them and play with them. Eventually the Malagasy children and Seth and Cole started speaking a language that all children speak...laughter!

During the teen outreach on Saturday afternoon Marsha (my friend visiting here from America) and I got to participate with some fun group games which included a Simon says game which was explained and played in Malagasy! Needless to say Marsha and I messed up and ended up in the middle of the circle with some of the Malagasy teens having to dance to music as our “punishment” for having been caught doing the wrong moves! It was GREAT fun!

Saturday afternoon I brought out my balloons and made balloon animals for all the children in the children's ministry. I reckon there was about 120+ beaming children waving their balloons in the air while they sang their daily closing song. What a privilege to have experienced this!

Each day the Malagasy hauled water from the river about 1.5 kilometers away from the village for us to use for washing and with the home made showers. I decided instead to go down to the river early in the morning to bathe in the actual river with the AMI students (all Malagasy). This was a great experience and a very typical daily routine of the Malagasy who live in the country near a natural water supply.

We brought along our own cook who works for AMI. We ate typical Malagasy food the whole weekend which included the following...
breakfast: rice in an oatmeal like substance with meat
lunch: rice with some kind of meat and some vegetables
dinner: rice with some kind of      
                                                      meat and some vegetables.
Needless to say we got our fill of rice, which ended up being a blessing as it can bind you up.....take a look at the squaty potty 
we had to use!

On Saturday morning we split up into groups of 5 and went to the homes of the village people who wanted to be visited. It was amazing to see how simply these people lived. I put some pictures up of the inside of their houses below. All in all it was a WONDERFUL weekend and experience for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. They have so little yet are so happy. We can learn from this.