I was sitting with 2 Sakalava teeanagers yesterday, discussing the finer points of bargaining in Madagascar. We were speaking the Sakalava language, so basically they were speaking to a 3 year old (me), but a 3 year old who has to buy shovels and candles and charcoal and doesn’t want to get ripped off. Most of the shops in Hellville have 2 prices, the Sakalava price and the Faza (foreigner) price. My goal is to try and buy something as close to the Sakalava price as possible, while also maintaining a friendly relationship with the person I’m buying from. One author writes of bargaining in Africa as “a series of verbal and bodily maneuvers, a polite duel, a contest of wits, an operation in oral combat.”
As the discussion waned, Franklin, who is very inquisitive and hopes to be a medical doctor one day, asked me THE question… “Why are you here?” How can a 3 year old answer that question?
I can’t… not yet. I can’t articulate the great truths of God and His Gospel, Jesus Christ. I can’t speak it, but I can live it. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth. Of all the possibilities that Jesus, the master storyteller, had, he chose to compare them (and us) to salt. Why? What can we learn from salt?
- Like salt, we are called to become a part of everything around us, bringing out the aromas and flavors (gifts, abilities and goodness) of our communities.
- In the village, the fisherman take the fish that are not sold or eaten and cover them with salt to preserve the meat without refrigeration. Like salt, we are called to preserve our communities, keeping them from decay and rot.
- Salt is not something to think much about (humility), yet it is necessary both for survival and enjoyment of food.
God has called all of us to be “salt” in the world, wherever that may be. For us here in Nosy Be, being salt is the only way we can show our neighbors the love of Christ at this moment. We cannot say it; we can only live it. May God grant all of us the grace to be salt to each other and our communities.
Before I go, please keep our team leader, Rosina, in your prayers. Her brother has recently passed away, and she has flown to the mainland to be with her family. Pray that her time there would be blessed and that her Faza back on the island would survive without their mother!
Below are some pics of village life from the past week…