After spending a full week in Peace Corps Madagascar’s Pre Service Training (PST) I am extremely happy to have made the decision to leave everything I know and love in the U.S. to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar. Although it has only been one week I can already feel myself becoming a more confident, empathetic and resilient human being. I undoubtedly believe that being a part of this organization will challenge me to think on my feet, to be creative, to adapt to many challenging situations and to become more culturally aware. I also believe that embarking on this Peace Corps assignment will help me to continue to further develop as an educator, entrepreneur and creative mind. To tell you about my first week so far I have been engaged in several workshops and clinics ranging from water sanitation & food security, medical immunizations, safety & security in Madagascar, Malagasy language training and several ted talk styles lectures on resiliency, Malaria and achieving Peace Corps Madagascar’s mission .
Although these clinics and workshops have been amazing, the actual highlight of my week has been moving into my homestay with my new Malagasy family: Neny Doline & Dada Michel and their three grandchildren Mira, Impuini, and Numena. Neny and Dada are now retired school teachers whom own a farm house by a lake in Montosua. The farm house include LOTS of chickens, cows, pigs, dogs, cats and they grow a ton of veggies, fruits and crops including the Malagasy staple dish “vary” (rice). Although the nights here in Montosua are very cold (its winter here), Dada and Neny have made me feel very welcomed and at home here. The view of the lake from la kozia (the kitchen) in the mornings is absolutely spectacular. Neny is always making sure I am well fed with her super delicious three course meals which all include some form of vary (rice). Mira (my Malagsy sister) taught me how to wash my clothes by hand which I gladly appreciated and Dada has been helping me get better at speaking Malagasy.
Overall, the lifestyle I am currently living here in Madagascar is very different from the lifestyle I was living back home in Boston. I feel like in many ways things have slowed down for me here and in many ways I have lost track of time and I am learning to just live day by day...Having extra time to put thought into what I am doing without any distractions of western world social media is quite refreshing. It is also incredibly liberating to have the time to daze off into the beautiful fauna of nature and have my spirit be calmed by the beautiful lake next to Neny and Dada’s place. I am not 100% sure what triumphs and challenges await me for the next 27 months but deep in my heart I know that I will come out of this experience a more aware, resilient and stronger human being.