Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Host Home

Cousin (left) and brother (right) making salsa

My Neny

My other brother

My sister (left) and my Neny (right)

My sister

My sister

Language class prior to going to the wedding

Wedding cake my Neny made

My Neny

My host home

The grandparents

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pictures of the Jean LaBorde Tours

Model of Mantasoa during Jean Laborde

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 2

Friday, 6/13/14

Breakfast was great.  They serve rice with every meal; it is the staple food in Madagascar.  Lunch and diner is just boiled rice, but for breakfast it is always a specialty cooked or seasoned rice. All of the volunteer’s plates are divided into the different foods that they give us with what I would call an average amount of rice, but if you looked at the workers and staff plates they had a mountain of rice with all of the other foods just stacked on top of it.  This being my second training day, it was a lot easier than yesterday.  We started with a two hour language lesson class, which was far easier than yesterday thankfully.  I found out today that it will be our last real lesson before we go to our host home tomorrow.  That I think will be a shock.  I am really excited to go, but I can not lie, I am a little

Saturday, July 12, 2014

1st Malagasy wedding!


Fourth of July!!

Site Announcement!!!

Wednesday, 7/2/14

Today is the day that everyone has been waiting for since we found out we were going to be serving in Madagascar.  It is the day we found out where our sites were going to be for the next two years.  Before getting into the site placement announcement I should first give a little background into the process.  Madagascar is one of the only Peace Corps countries that allow the trainees a say into where their site will be.  Whether there is any weight to what the trainees say is questionable and it is relative to each individual case.  Peace Corps takes into count what the Medical officers, placement director, and language trainers have to say and then look at the trainees preferences.  What is certain

Madagascar’s Independence Day!!!

Thursday, 6/26/2014

The Independence Day celebrations here in Mantasoa went on for three days and I was told that in the capital they went on all week.  The actual independence day was on Thursday, 6/26/2014, but people started celebrating the night before.  When I returned from our meetings at the PCTC, knowing that there were going to be festivities going on that night, I asked my Neny what was going on and if we were going to be doing anything.  When he answered that we were going to watch the fireworks in Tana on the T.V. I was super bummed, but there was not much I could do.  Fortunately

First Day at the “Big Market”

Monday, 6/23/14

As part of our training Peace Corps took us to the market in a town 40 km (or 30 minutes) away to practice our numbers and bargaining skills.  To do this they gave each of the trainees 5,000 Ar (equivalent to $2.50) and a list of stuff that we had to buy.  We were informed that we could only spend that money and if we had extra left over to buy whatever other food items we wanted and that all of it would be prepared for us for lunch on Wednesday when we came to the PCTC.  The list I was given to buy was as follows: 3 kilos of oranges, 2 cups of wet beans (fresh beans), and a bunch of

My First Sickness

Saturday, 6/21/14

So I have just got over my first sickness here in Madagascar.  Fortunately it was not a bad one, but only the common cold (and not really that bad of a cold).  The bad ones are still to come and there is no doubt that I will be checking off a few boxes of international diseases while I am here in Madagascar.  This sickness all started a few days ago when the weather turned for the worst and it started raining and continued to be cold.  I was not the only, nor the first, trainee to get sick, nor was I the worst.  Although for the most part I did the same as I would have done in the States (nothing) to

Church and Tourism in a Foreign Land

Sunday, 6/15/14

My host family is Protestant and today being Sunday, they go to church.  Previous to leaving for Community Based Training many of the trainees had stated that they were not going to go to church with their families, me being on of them, this Sunday because it was the first day out “in the real world” and we could not even answer a few questions from a few people much less a whole congregation.  As it turns out not very many of the trainees were able to see this through, me again being one of them.  How are you supposed to say no and politely explain why when you can not even understand each other?  So I went to church.  And this is not a ‘get in the car and drive to church real quick’ kind of travel; it is a

First Day at My Host Home!!!

Saturday, 6/14/14

Today was probably the most nervous day for all of the volunteers.  Today at noon we went to our host home for Community Based Training.  Everyone undoubtedly had an array of different fears to contend with, but what was on everyone’s mind was the lack of communication capabilities.  We had only three half days of language training and most of it we could not reliably remember.  So we were off with what we thought we would need for a week and the very little language skills we had acquired to meet our host family.  Arriving at the Commune we all piled out of the vans and stood around waiting to be adopted by our new family.  The Commune is a small compound which is the

“I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane, Don’t Know When I’ll be Back Again”

So I left today for Madagascar.  Well it won’t actually be “today” when I am finally able to post this so that you can read it.  But on Tuesday, June 10, at 2:30 am I left the Hampton Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia for what would be no less than a tiny, but long, adventure to get to Madagascar.  Leaving the hotel at 2:30 am with no sleep the night before would begin the longest session of travel, including the longest airplane flight, which I have yet accomplished and ever want to do again.  We all loaded into a greyhound bus outside the hotel and began on our way to JFK airport where we were to catch our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, at 11:15.  Knowing it was just shy of a nine hour

Peace Crops Application Timeline

I have had a few people ask me about the timeline of my application process, so I have decided to post a bulleted version of it.  What follows are just the events and dates that I found important.  There were a few other follow up interviews and questionnaires that I had to also fill out, but I think the following gives a good idea about the time frame between the major events.  If there is any questions about any of the events or anything fill free to comment or e-mail me.

Applied to Peace Corps: June 4
Had my 1st interview:       July 9
Nominated:                       July 15
Placement interview:         November 20
Received my invitation:  November 29
Staging:                           June 8

I Have Internet!!!

So since my last post I have not had access to internet till now and will probably not have it again for another month.  So below are the all of the blogs that I have written since I flew out from Philly on my way to Madagascar.  I apologize in advance for any grammatical or spelling errors, any places where it seems to jump from one topic to the next, or any places where it is just point to point with no explanation in the blog.  All of these blogs were written at different times during the day, most often while exhausted at night, and have not been proof read.  Enjoy!