Throughout Madagascar there are 17 different regions, dialects, and groups. Living on the East Coast I speak and have become integrated with the Betsimisaraka people. Betsimisaraka translates to “the many inseparable”. I could not agree more with this translation.
I have lived in Mahanoro for almost 4 months and never have I felt so welcomed and comfortable. I share a terrain and live in the same house (divided by wood planks) as a Malagasy family. This family has become my family. Being an only child I always wished for a brother or sister. Well, in 4 months I gained 10! This family is one of the most giving, sweet, beautiful families I have come across. Just like the translation we are inseparable. My Neny, Madame Marie, sells mofo akondro (fried bananas) and tamarind juice. This woman has a beautiful pure heart. Having raised 7 children of her own, she has taken me under wing, ensuring that I learn how to cook traditional Malagasy food and stay healthy. Her soft smile and great sense of humor keep me laughing. Not to mention she makes sure I get my morning coffee and lock my doors and windows when I leave the house!
Her husband, Monsieur Victor, is the finance director for the high school. He is soft spoken and hard working. I am grateful for his kindness.
My sisters Eva, Elianie, Francine, Marcia, Christianah, and Yvette are the sisters I always wished of having. I spend weekends helping out with homework, learning fun dances, and making dinner together. There maturity and self-assurance is remarkable.
My brothers, Edena, Iandry, and Josefa are strong hearted, respectable, and hilarious. They are artists and handymen! I was actually surprised today with a new wood table!
This is my family.
I cannot imagine my Peace Corps experience without every one of these individuals. I only hope one day I will be able to express to them how much I appreciate their love, patience, and open arms.