Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Blog Update of Sorts

(by Erik)

It's been awhile since our last blog post, but we've been fairly active on Facebook. I've seen other Peace Corps Volunteers post a series of brief journal entries, spanning a stretch of time, to a single blog entry, so we agreed to try something similar for this entry. Not everyone who checks our blog is on Facebook, so this style should get them in the loop.

Below are our Facebook status updates from 12/20/2010 until now 2/20/2011. 

We've actually been quite busy, and hopefully these little blurbs from everyday life will provide another window into our lives here. Mazatoa! 

ERIK: A new blog! 
Our (my) take on the New York Times article. 

POLLY: that Erik guy just posted a new blog.

POLLY: Merry Christmas to my community and our tree farm (pepiniere) enterprise. Won a small grant and the funds arrive tomorrow!

ERIK: …is heading home soon from Fianar with a Christmas package!

ERIK: ...just got the DVDs! BIG thanks to Mike Davie, Jonathan Rice, Jackson PaternoDan Branch, & Soraiya Gessling for getting them to us! It is a MERRY Christmas. You all rule.

ERIK: Merry Christmas, or "Tratry ny Krismasy", from Ambohimahasoa, Madagascar.

POLLY: A Merry, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!...Particularly for those of you back in the States! We've already seen Santa here, slept a bit, and are back up for a 2.5 hour Malagasy church service! Can I get a "Ho ho ho!!!"

ERIK: ‎ headed to Malagasy church, and then a day full of food and foreign language!

‎ERIK: ...really enjoyed today's soccer match between TIAVO and "Bom Bom" here in A/soa. It had everything: over-time, a shoot out, a riot-esque brawl, & the winners' trophy bull charging through/over the crowd!

POLLY: Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, big-time crazy crazy -- did I mention, CRAZY? -- kaaarrrazzy kids!!!!! Hallelujah!! Holy s#^t!! Where's the Tylenol???

POLLY: Up super early to squeeze into crowded taxi-brousse. Among other wonders, in search of new ocean views, sky-high baobabs, and giant jumping rats.

ERIK: …is off to Kirindy Reserve and the Avenue of Baobabs with Polly Endreny Holmberg, Bill Warnock, & Savanna Benson.

ERIK: briefly updating his status while Polly Endreny Holmberg is out of the room, and enjoying a "The Wire" season 3 marathon. Check out all the new pics she's posting!

POLLY:  SOOOO excited our town finally opened its Tsena Vaovao (New Market)! Great structure, smart layout, clean, cool, expansive, has everything we need in one area, open daily -- it's like a proper market! And it's just down the hill from our place! This changes everything!!!

ERIK: ...will be at his ideal weight after one more day with this stomach thing!

POLLY: red feet.

POLLY: Spent the morning partnering my community's tree farm business with another local tree nursery. We did a fine job of covering ourselves in cow manure and subsequently got about 1,700 young trees going! Then had a lovely time hanging out with my one of my new counterparts and his family in the afternoon. Sweet folks.

ERIK: A day without speaking ANY Malagasy. Can it be done?

‎ERIK: ...just finished "The Wire", season 4, is anxious to move on to season 5, yet really must do something productive.

POLLY: could be anywhere.

POLLY: Gearing up to take a few handfuls of kids (12? 15?) on a hike in local wildlife park -- most have never been. Excited and nervous. Must walk the main road for 8km to get there...then 8km back...fingers crossed we don't get kids hit by flying trucks.

‎ERIK: "Wake up and smell the River!"
 (Tom Hanks, as Lawrence Whatley Bourne III, in "Volunteers")

‎ERIK: ...just watched "It Might Get Loud", and was thoroughly entertained. Recommend.

ERIK: …once again has power! now, to recharge EVERYTHING!

POLLY: Tavoangy (bottle) madness! The absolute joy a freshly washed metal can or bottle brings the little, and not so little, children... Nothing short of wondrous merriment.
ERIK: ...finished "The Wire". All 5 seasons. 
It almost makes me miss Maryland. Almost.

ERIK: Under our window this morning...2 crowing roosters, 2 mooing cows, 2 barking dogs, 1 howling cat, 1 turkey, 1 circular saw, and 1 guy with a hammer.

POLLY: Rabbit, rabbit!

ERIK: ...worked with several Malagasy children today, building a fence for THEIR permagarden. Their skills with my machete are well-beyond their years!

‎ERIK...just finished 'Lost'. What was THAT about? 
(Please don't put anything up here for those who have yet to finish the series, but I'd love some insight in a private message.)

POLLY: Wishing folks back home a slew of tasty Super Bowl parties. I can't stop daydreaming about chicken wings, nachos, guacamole, cheese dips, good beer...

POLLY: These next few months are quickly getting packed with a jumble of trips, work activities, new volunteer arrivals, trainings, festivities. Exciting! Makes me happy :)

‎ERIK: ...loves Madagascar! 
I just saw a unicorn jump over a rainbow.

ERIK: It's true. Some people will work for peanuts. Especially children. 

If only everyone understood that the work they did today in the community garden was actually for them! I think they'll "get it" when the first harvest is on their tables.

ERIK: ...just saw 2 little girls carrying 2 big beers. No minimum age here!

POLLY: Enjoying edge effects of a Valentine's Day cyclone that kept me home and away from early morning field work. That's love.

ERIK: It's still raining here, but now it's even windier. 
Valentine's day, slack day part 2...engage.

POLLY: Just had a random guy come up on our veranda and ask for our house key. 
Me: "Um, why?" 
Him: "Because the key is broken and I must repair it for you." 
Me: "Ok...but, NO. Just used the key today - it's definitely not broken. Thanks for caring, though." 
Then we had a stare-off until he walked away. I mean, really?!

‎ERIK...just had a GIANT beetle in my shirt. I heard this "quacking", and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I moved furniture and looked around with my flashlight until I felt it along my waistline. 
FREAK OUT! Adrenaline rush! Whoo.

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