Pernille (teammate) and I have arrived in Fandriana, and been here for more than a week already. Time flies when you have nothing to do…mora mora (slow) lifestyle is taking its hold on me, and so I havn’t gotten around to posting yet.
We are living in what used to be a missionary residence, and so there are plenty of interesting things to read and look at that have been left here. There is even the traditional Valiha, a string instrument made of bamboo and originating from Indonesia. We have a tree with purple flowers and a bush with pink flowers in our garden, we have a family of chickens wondering around between the properties that all belong to the teacher preparation school SFM (Sekoly Famananana Mpampianatra), and we have many beautifully green rice fields a few minutes’ walk away. We also have the occasional visit by a cockroach or two (at the time) - yikes, but we are learning to deal (slowly).
The first few days, we were taught some of the essentials, such as how to buy electricity and internet when we run out. For those especially interested (krempt: pappa) we buy internet by paying in cash for a certain amount of MG or GB that we put into a sim card that we move from the router to our phone and back again when we get home. One day, after meeting our local contact person, Richard, he helped us register at the regional office (fylkeskontor) and the police station. On the way to the police station (at 3pm) we met the police man, in exercise gear, on his way to play sports. Upon meeting us, he followed us back to the office to receive our documents. This is just one example where I am confused as to how the systems work here in Madagascar – but we have been taught there is always a reason and intention behind every action (whether conscious or unconscious).
And yet, at hearing “we can be friends if you want”, I found myself surprised at the question. I thought to myself: I usually think of friendships as being built over a long period and requiring some shared values, interests, and experiences. In my view, you don’t just “decide” to be friends. But maybe this is just as good, and maybe that is common here in Madagascar? You make a friendship request (in person not just on Facebook), you commit, and voilà you are friends. Is it that easy?
Anyway, tongasoa eto Fandriana (Similar to “welcome”) – the town where I am getting more acquainted with some of the cultural differences between the Norway I knew growing up and the Madagascar I have gotten to know ever so slightly. More to come (including pictures from church, school, and town)…when a week of work is over.