I have been in Madagascar for a year. I have been “at site” since September. I have learned a lot and have had a few ups and downs. I am happy to report that I have mostly experienced ups. I decided to list some highlights that I have not written about.
In September 2015:
I arrived to Antalaha, a small city in the north east of Madagascar. Antalaha is my favorite place in Madagascar and the place that I have learned to call home. My month of service as an official Peace Corps volunteer was a blur. My installer took me around town and introduced me to all the important officials ranging from the head of police to the chief of the district (what that means, I am still not quite sure). New locks were put on my door, a curtain rod was installed to separate my kitchen side of my one-roomed house from my bed side of the house (I never even use the curtain) and then the moment that all peace corps volunteers remember: peace corps car pulled away and left me all alone.
The month was spent gathering courage to leave house, struggling to buy food at the market using French numbers (when I had only mastered Malagasy numbers– something they don’t use in the north) and reading Harry Potter. Trying to find comfort, I ended up reading all of the Harry Potter books in just a couple of weeks. Luckily I only had 2 weeks to burn because my school started early and I started teaching on September 15th. I teach at a private middle school and teach 4 different grades : 9eme (3rd grade), 6eme (6th), 5eme (7th) and 4eme (8th grade). I also teach two different adult classes during the week and tutor interested students on Saturday. So many lesson plans… So little time.
First impressions of my site: it’s on the ocean! There are goats and small green geckos everywhere! Why is going outside my house so intimidating? We have pizza!