Here We Are
From Austin to Atlanta…Atlanta to London…London to Johannesburg….Johannesburg to Antananarivo…Antananarivo to Nosy Be…Nosy Be to Ambanja…Ambanja back to Nosy Be and into the shelter of our village hut surrounded by pineapple plants, mango and bananas trees. By road, air and sea we have travelled a long journey to arrive at our new home where the Sakalava people greeted us with traditional food and music. The trip, to say the least, has been a challenging journey. Many of the comforts of our home culture have suddenly been stripped away and our greatest fears have been tested daily. The lifestyle we lived in the U.S. will not fit properly in this new context, but God’s hand is guiding us and his mighty power is being revealed in the ordinary struggles that each day brings.
The day began at 4:00 a.m. with five community roosters calling us to wake with the upcoming sunrise. My calf muscles cramp, my skin clammy from the coastal environment, the house mice come early in the morning to see what crumbs they can forage on, native birds sing, the leopard chameleon slowly creeps down from the mango tree, the kids begin to toss and by the wee hours of the morning we are up beginning the chores of the day. The village well is a short walk down the hill from our home and together we set out after breakfast to fill our buckets full of water for use throughout the day.
We have been introduced to the Sakalava language and have a number of phrases we are already able to use each day. We can greet our neighbors, introduce ourselves, say where we’re from, ask “What is that?” and say phrases such as, “I don’t understand,” and “This is all I know.” Yesterday my neighbor (her name is Sandrine) came over to call me down to her place where she taught me how to prepare a dish using a vegetable similar to cucumber, and showed me how to pull up a root that can be eaten like a carrot or cooked like a potato.
The Sakalava people grow rice, and it is harvesting season so another woman demonstrated for me how to pound the rice out of it’s shell and sift it clean. The people laughed as they watched me use a wooden pole about the same size as myself as I pounded into a large wooden bowl carved from the trunk of a tree that was full of rice grains. After my feeble efforts, another woman came and worked for a few minutes and then passed the large mallet to a young man who finished the job. Then we began sifting…
Over the course of the next 3 months we will embark upon a technological fast, with the aim of helping us to more deeply dive into this new place and comfortably move toward a new lifestyle among the Sakalava tribe. Apart from this fast, we will be able to communicate through our blog when we have access to the internet. We do not have internet from our hut, and our team leader is often having trouble getting her internet lines to connect. Pray:
1. For our home-stay this week and that God would be glorified…we will be living with a Sakalava family, sharing their space, eating their food, sleeping in their beds, using the restroom with them in the forest (the majority of people do not have pit latrines and use the restroom in the forest). 2. Praise God for health and safety and pray for continued health and safety.
3. Praise God for what we have learned and for continued language learning.
We are still working out how best to phone out to the U.S., but we have been told that we can receive calls from the states with no charge on our end ☺ If you need to get in touch with us, our numbers are (calling from the U.S.A.):
Bryan – 011-261-32-554-9194 Rebe – 011-261-32-742-4914
Peace of Christ brothers and sisters,