Learning to live…
Learning to live in the village requires us to take notice of what is happening with our neighbors, the life of the community and the rhythm of their responsibilities. Recently, Bryan and I had the opportunity to get away alone together for a couple hours. Different from what a getaway might look like back in the States, we walked half a mile to the taxi rank in Ambatozavavy where we found our friends and neighbors hanging around the seashore while buckets of fish were being brought in from the fisherman’s catch of the day. We have come to know and call these fish, “loku maluki” (fish maluki), and when it’s a big day for the fisherman we say, “loku maru” (fish lots) and “loku maru” means “misi vola” (we have money)!
We sat ourselves down in the midst of the local villagers, positioned on the rickety porch of a bamboo house that sits on the beach. This particular location is not just a family’s hut, but is the central hub of the village where the pirogues offload their fish, it’s also the one place I’ve found where I can buy a small cup of coffee, and is where taxis come to pick up anyone who wants to go to town (Hellville). Taxis are not always available and when we sat down on the porch it was because we were waiting for a taxi…time for conversation…another chance to practice our new language. What do we talk about? Fish…lots of fish…more fish…sending fish to town…selling fish…frying fish…eating fish…need ice to keep all this fish fresh…where are the taxis for the fish?
The first taxi came and went. Bryan and I were not the first passengers to go because what was important in the village that day was not for us to go into town and be alone together, but for the fish to go into town right away! The taxi was loaded down with giant basins of fish piled on top of more basins of fish. The second taxi came and the same thing happened…we waited. The third taxi arrived after an hour and commotion started to happen that indicated this taxi would take more loads of fish…and us! In the busyness of loading down the car, Bryan insisted that they also load a basin of “loku maluki” on his lap, as we had caught on by now to the importance of fish transportation. Fish transportation translated into community income. Everyone began to laugh at the fish on Bryan’s lap, and people were speaking so fast that we couldn’t keep up with all that they were saying, but this was most likely the first time they had ever seen a couple of “faza” (white folks) loaded up in a village taxi alongside loads of fish…much less carrying one of their buckets of fish to sale in town. We didn’t think anything of it…in fact; it felt exactly like what we were supposed to be doing! After about 10 minutes of loading the car, laughing hard, enjoying the camaraderie, now with stains of fish oil in our hair, we pull away with everyone waving goodbye behind us. Since that day, we are no longer just “faza” (white folks)…we are “faza Sakalava” (white, Sakalava folks).
Bryan and I did have some time alone that day, and it was good, yet our time spent extended beyond ourselves was an experience that changed our hearts and changed the hearts of our neighbors. What does it look like for us to be accepted in our new community? What other roadblocks in our daily tasks might actually be God directing us in HIS ministry among the Sakalava? God is good. He is an intentional God, faithful in all things, and I delight in seeing Him gently reveal my preconceived plans or ideas of ministry, and show me new ways by unfolding His Story right before my eyes.
I have included some additional photos from the past few weeks.
Blessings friends, Rebe