Received a letter from Kinsey the other day that I wanted to share. Tried to scan it so it would be in her writing, but won't scan so you could read. So here it is.
Dad & Mom Thurs. may 27,2010
I'm praying you have a great Memorial Weekend. I don't have any plans of today, but I.m sure something will come along. I won't have Monday off, but I'm not complaining. We've had enough days off lately. I'm sure when I'm back home, I'll be wishing for a Malagasy "Bridge Holiday". The grass is always greener...
On Monday the twin high school girls who are fairly good at English came over and we made lunch. It turned into an all-day affair. We all took naps after lunch.(I love this Malagasy custom, Do you think I can bring back nap time in my future HS Classroom? Then we made papaya salad-so good! You saute onions, with curry,salt & pepper then add shredded papaya. Cook til soft. After you remove form heat you add a few tablespoons of vinegar. Sounds kind of weird, but trust me Delicious. Then we changed (the dress I was wearing evidently too closely resembled the kind pregnant women wear so I was forced to put on shorts) and we walked to the beach.
There was a small stage, some decorations and women with stands of fried food. Looked just like a carnival at home. I even smelled hot dogs, which I obviously imagined.(I'm not even overly fond of hot dogs but the atmosphere was right & I haven't had one in a long time) There was karaoke & then a presidential candidate showed up. They had a raffle & gave away prizes(all more practical than we're used to: big bars of soap they use to wash laundry,shovels, hugh bundles of second-hand clothes.) There was supposed to be a dance contest but if it happened, it was after I left. And this is what happens the day after Pentecost. One friend asked what we traditionally do in America for Pentecost Monday. Um, work? Most people probably don't even realize it's Pentecost. I know I complain about how many random days we have off but honestly, Malagasy people so know how to enjoy life. They're happy with so little, often singing and dancing. Ready to have a party for the smallest reason. It's a gift. Somehow we forgot about that in America.
"No Yelling!" I should make this my new motto, too. I know it's hard for you to imagine daddy, but I speak quite loud in my classes and lately have taken to raising my voice when they're impolite and don't do their exercises.
Thurs. June 3
Where does the time go? On June 12th it will be 2 yrs. since I first arrived in Madagascar. And Grandpa's 80th birthday :)
In my CARE class(the adult workers of an American NGO), we were talking about a famous Malagasy singer who will perform in our town this weekend. One of the women said, "Kinsey you are famous in Mahanoro" Ha! I don't know about famous, but certainly known by all people in town, and they expect me to know/ remember everyone's names. Yeah, right. I am one and they are many. I like to give my students nicknames, mainly the boys since they're so outspoken. I have Mr. Tsiky(Mr. Smiley because he talks all the time and smiles so big everytime I look at him to be quiet) I have Mr. Yes and a Mr. No. No matter what question I ask, those are their responses respectively, (me, " Do you have any questions? "Mr. Yes: "Yes".
Me: "What is your question?" "Mr. Yes: No question.") I alternate who I call Mr. Crazy because they think it's hilarious when I use that word. The gasy word for crazy isn't as flexible as ours, which is probably why they think it's so funny. Today my students in my first class started calling a boy Mr, Papaya. I didn't get it for a long time but finally figured our the "paza maska"(ripe papaya) is slangfor "cocky". I had told the same boy a few weeks ago not to be cocky because he often shows off. At least they listen to me and remember what I say sometimes.
Fri. June 4th
I reas a book recently that said,"Everything you're sure is right can be wrong in another place."
You definitely learn that in PC. In Malagasy the word "very" means lost but in English it's a lot or really. Sometimes it's not a problem of saying the wrong word but pronouncing a word incorrectly - put the stress on the wrong part of a word and the person will look at you like you're crazy. 'Lanana' is road but lal'ana is a law. The book I reas was called "Poisonwood Bible" One of my favorite word examples in the book was how in the Congo, the words for "Father in Heaven" could mean,"Father of fish bait" depending on a tiny change in the way you say it. It was a good book -thought provoking. Mainly about a pastor who takes his family to Africa as a missionary. His first mistake is that he arrives and wants to baptize all the village children in the river. Even though everyone repeatedly tells him "no" he is set on it. Only later, after he's turned most of the people off from him and consequently God, does he find out that a child was eaten by a crocodile recently. They were simply afraid and grew to think he wanted to feed them to the crocodiles. And his second mistake was not slowing down enough to really learn the culture and the language. His favorite saying was "Jesus is bangala!" Unfortunately, bangala can mean 'most precious', 'most insufferable' and 'poisonwood'. I can't help but wonder if sometimes we get in the way of God. We try to tell people about him with words but sometimes there are no words or we use the wrong ones. Perhaps if the man would have lived alongside the people, talked with them but not at them, learned about their ways, they would have felt Jesus love for them. Actions speak louder than words.
Deep stuff, I know. I have lots of time on my hands! I love you all! Thank you for all the support :) I think of you often and pray for you too. I hope you can feel the love even across the oceans! Love Kinsey Jo Happy 4th of July!!!