Alright, have I got a story or two for you.
No, I haven't.
Just kidding I do.
Alright, questions first.
1) Are you in a house of 4 elders again or is it just you and your companion?
Four elders, me and my comp with Elder Moore and his kid, Elder Baker. As far as he knows, no relation to the Bakers in Moses.
2) Native companions always take a little adjusting to. Are things going okay so far?
Oh yeah. He is super cool. So far we get along great, I learn Malagasy and about the area and we work on his teaching skills, I am trying to be less offensive than I have in the past. So that is fun. Elder Moore helps me out a lot too while we are at home with senior missionary stuff.
3) First week in a new ward/branch. How was it?
Pretty good. Bore my testimony and everyone says I am already way good at Malagasy, so that's definitely good. The members are way nice, and way different from the people in Tana. It's a recognizable difference between here and there.
4) Is the food everything you heard it was?
It is very good, I haven't really gotten the full experience yet, but what I have had is delicious. It's pretty dang good. I am going to Shez Billy's tonight, which is supposedly the best place to eat in Madagascar for a reasonable price.
Alright so I will tell you about the cool stories and you can share with mom and everyone. Alright so the first things first, we had to pack five guys and their stuff onto a little Toyota four door pickup, and we ended up tying three big bags to the roof. Then the four hour trip to Antsirabe on windy mountain roads. That was fun. But we made it here safely, and we rolled in around seven at night. Then my companion was on splits doing some teaching so I waited for him to get home. Then, he rolled in on his pouse pouse (like a rickshaw, but pulled by a malagasy instead of an asian) and I got to meet my new comp. He is super short. I am trying to get up pictures but this computer is being weird so I don't know. It's super frustrating trying to send pictures home here. But he is way cool. So we went out to work the next day, and he talks like a Malagasy, which makes sense. However, it's not the best for teaching. Malagasies tend to talk very softly and quickly. He doesn't ask any questions while we teach either. We walk a lot here, not too much biking in our area because there is a huge rice paddy that goes through the middle of our area so we cross it a lot. No bikes on that. But I guess on Tuesdays we go by bike. So that will be good. Still a little nervous about biking but I think I will be fine. And it will mean I'm not walking all the time so I will take what I can get. So we were walking through the rice paddy the other day, no one calling me vazah, and following my short black companion speaking only malagasy all day, and I realized something. I am in freaking Madagascar, speaking a language most people don't know exists. I am freaking cool, and there is no way out of this place. I think I'm turning Malagasy.
Saturday morning we had a branch activity, farming trees. What we did is hiked for about a half hour and then climbed this mountain basically and on the side of the mountain were little baby trees they planted like four or five years ago. So we weeded around them and tilled up the soil. Long, hot, dirty work but it was fun because I got to know a few of the members better. And I got sunburned pretty bad. I am gonna buy a hat for those kinds of day today.
Then later that day we went and taught this less active family. Their dad's name is Everest. So is the older son, and the younger son. Yeah, all three of their names are the same. It's not like a family name thing either, they just legitimately all have the same name.
Well I think that's all about that, I am gonna tell Mom about the perks of a native comp. Love you so much!
Now my letter!
First of all, thank you so much for the pictures of everyone! Love seeing my cousins again. Second of all, no I did not know Cari is pregnant again. Holy cow, this kid isn't going to know me. The baby will only be 9 or 10 months old when he gets home. He will be known. Holy moly. Such big families!
I did get John and Cari's valentine package, thank you very much to them. What is their new address? Lots of down time in the new house because the city dies at eight. I actually have been writing in my journal again and writing a few letters. I am going to write them back too, I promise.
Because you were so subtle and this cyber actually let me send pictures home there are a few on photobucket for you. Enjoy. It never hurts to be too subtle!
So, I am going to tell you what it is like to work with a Malagasy. It's pretty swell. He is way good at Malagasy, not very good at English at all. But, that's ok. We are working on teaching more effectively, so that the people have to pay attention and actually get something out of the lesson, because his trainer was only three months in country and was trained by a malagasy so he didn't get much training. So that is interesting. It's quite a new experience speaking malagasy all the time too, I am really getting better at conversational malagasy. Also, and this may be the best part, when we go to a members house and they feed us, I give him the skin and the fat chunks off my meat because he loves it and it makes me throw up. So that is a great arrangement. It works well. Also I have to take the lead a lot more in lessons, because he is still really new on the mission.
You're lesson on Tuesday sounds like the new curriculum is from straight out of PMG. Excellent stuff right there.
Alright, well mom I love you very much. Lunch time!
Thanks for Connors email, it's good to hear how he is doing.
Also, Wyatt told me the truck broke again. Do me a favor and get rid of that thing before I get home. haha
New companion riding in a Pouse pouse.