Written April 13, 2013
Sorry for the lack of blog posts. I am quickly approaching my one year of service mark and things here in Ambohidray are no longer new and exciting. It no longer bothers me that I have to pick weevils out of my rice before I cook it, I am (slightly) more used to being stared at like a zoo animal, and I am so in love with my po (chamber pot) that I am wondering how I can incorporate into my life post-Peace Corps. As a result, I have lost my blogging motivation (and I would really rather save my laptop battery for watching movies).
Anyways, the past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. A group of 18 new agriculture volunteers (the environment and community economic development programs have been “merged” into an ag program, but it is pretty much the environment program with a new name) arrived in country in March and I spent the past couple of weeks helping to train them. Training was a bitch. I am constantly amazed at how disorganized Peace Corps Madagascar can be at times. Anyways, it was nice to meet all the newbies and to get some fresh blood. PC volunteers get very jaded and unhappy as they go through their service so it is nice to have people who are excited.
The second week of training I got to go along with the volunteers on tech trip where they get to visit different volunteer sites and learn about agricultural practices here in Madagascar. On Monday they came to my site and overall things went well. I worked my butt off to get everything planned and organized but I am glad it is something my community got to experience. In the morning the trainees split into groups and taught some lessons at the school garden. After lunch we did a cooking demo with my women’s group which was tons of fun. One group made guacamole which was a big hit. I also accompanied the trainees on their first night “out” in Madagascar (kind of a joke because Moramanga has basically no nightlife). I introduced them to meat on a stick (and promised they wouldn’t all get dysentery and die), yelled at men who were harassing us, and funniest of all, helped people navigate bathroom situations (yes, you can trust the waitress to take you somewhere safe to pee, no its not unusual that she took you to the basement to do so). The rest of tech trip I tagged along and mostly did nothing. It was nice.
I got back to site on Friday and the very next day had a meeting with the YMCA in Moramanga. We discussed health issues in the commune (or they did, I mostly sat there and played on my phone….). It was the best kind of meeting because we got there, ate snacks, talked a bit, ate lunch, and went home. We even had a “special” (private) taxi brousse which was super fun. People would try to get in and we got tell them no, it was only for special people, ha! I picked up some new round storage baskets for my house and on the way back the (slightly drunk) commune veterinarian who had also attended the meeting asked me if I was going to farm cats in the baskets. They are very nice round, woven baskets, the kind that a cat most certainly would like to curl up in and maybe have some kittens, but it certainly wouldn’t be my first thought.