Back in the saddle

Written January 11, 2013

Well here I am, the end of my first full day back at site and all I can say is “it wasn’t that bad”. By that I mean the transition from first-world Portugal (or high class third-world in Tana for that matter) back to my village life. I think this is a concern of all volunteers who take vacations abroad during their service, it certainly was for all of us volunteers camped out in the meva trying to come up futilely with reasons as to why we should push our return to site back…. just one more day. Funny enough, 6 of us volunteers ended up on the same return flight from Paris to Tana (which involved getting chair kicked and hair pulled by some horrible French children who were WAY too old for such behavior) and upon arrival in the airport we almost immediately began to discuss how we didn’t want to be there.

But alas, it hasn’t been bad. I knew things would be good when I got into Moramanga and ran over to my brousse stand to get someone to help me with my bags. They were all very excited to see me and just as helpful and nice as they ever were (I may take the most giant, broken down, SLOW brousse ever but I love my driver and other assorted staff!). I got into my village at about 2:30 which was perfect because most people are still out working and it was therefore fairly calm.

Left up to its own devices, my house does some crazy shit. First off literally ¾ of my yard was overgrown with squash and cucumber plants. All I could do was laugh when I say it because it looked insane. Inside the house many chunks of my clay walls had fallen out (normal) and judging by the quantity of mouse poop they enjoyed my vacation as well (even though I locked up every piece of food in my metal trunk, they must just enjoy the cozy atmosphere). There were also the usual bajillion spiders, millipedes, cockroaches, and other bugs. Nothing unusual.

Overall people were excited to see me and didn’t give me the guilt trip I was expecting for being away for 3 weeks. Apparently Christmas and New Years were quite here because no one has enough money to party. Food is very expensive right now. Even my beloved eggs which I eat soooo much of have gone up from 350AR to 500AR! Also, it is still dry here, apparently cyclone season is skipping my town. Half my plants died and it is brought up at least once in every conversation. Mandrosa ny orana (come on  rain!).

In other news, remember in my last post how I was complaining that I hadn’t heard updates on my SPA project and that it was moving slow? Ignore that! Literally the next day I ran into the staff member in charge at the PC office and he told me my project was approved! I will get the money with my next living allowance at the end of the month. Now I have TWO projects to work on. Yay!


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