I took this from my large window in my house. I can sit on my bed and see this vine growing in the tree up the hill from my house. GORGEOUS, I know. When are you coming to visit?
The inside of my house: my table/desk on the left, the shelves that were there when I arrived (apparently the PCV I replaced had a tv and LOTS of people want to know when I'm going to get one so they can be even better friends with me). My bed, which looks nice, but the mattress is terrible, on the right (I twist up my mosquito net during the day). In the back part of the house on the left is my cooking bench and on the right is my indoor ladosy). There are pictures on my walls of sunsets at Lake Michigan, my family, and maps of Michigan and the States. I have a book of pictures from home too (which I add to when you send me letters from home) that I show to my Malagasy friends. They love to see my family and friends.
The outside of my house (I was standing by the kabone when I took the picture). The yard is fenced in by a bamboo fence. The larger window on the right is where my bed is and my table. The small window is where my cooking stove sits on my bench and behind that is my indoor ladosy (place to take a bucket shower).
I'm in Tamatave (Toamasina), a larger town on the east coast, for an AIDS awareness bike race. A good chance to see another part of the island (this is a very nice city and I fell asleep to the sound of the ocean last night) and to see my friends.
I'm doing well. It's nice to see the people I trained with after not seeing them for a month. I ate ice cream last night and real cheese. It must be in the 80s or 90s here. Very hot, and I got a little sun burnt even though I put on sunscreen. Nothing major, though.
I've been teaching for two weeks now. My kids are great so far, a few giggles and talking here and there, but I think it's because of my Malagasy pronunciation (although my language skills are getting MUCH better).
I teach Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, a total of 12 hours a week. I'm always done by noon at the lastest and start at 7 am at the earliest. Never teach on Monday or Friday. Not a bad schedule, huh? I'm hoping to help out at the preschool that is starting up in mid-October and teach adults one night a week. Other projects will come up as time goes on.
I played a lot of basketball the last two weeks, and the boys think I'm pretty impressive. It helps that I'm a foreigner because I'm a little more intimidating and bigger than some of the boys here.
I'm trying to upload pictures...it's slow. Sorry.
My days are still a rollar coaster of emotions. The isolation, not being able to call home but once a month, that's the hardest part. The people are nice (for the most part, I still get called after and asked for money because I'm a vazaha), my site is gorgeous, I'm making friends, learning the language, having some fun. It's just a LONG way from my family and friends sometimes.
What else? I always see things that I want to tell people at home about, something I know you would enjoy or find completely terrifying. But then I sit down at the computer, and the internet is SLOW and I just get frustrated. I'm happy that I don't have to use this every day. I was addicted to it at home.
Sorry this isn't very detailed. Maybe I can use the Internet tomorrow before or between one of my taxi brousse rides back to my site. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Thank you again for everything: letters, cards, emails, packages, thougths, prayers. I love and miss you all. Enjoying Madagascar, but thinking of you often.