Out of Africa

Peace Corps Madagascar 2011-2013

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The Highlight Reel

Here are some favorite entries of mine over my 27 months living and working in Madagascar with the Peace Corps.  I’ve also included the blog entries that family & friends still can’t stop talking about, even to this day.  Enjoy!

{After re-reading all of these, I realized just how much I curse on a daily basis…so…I apologize for that!}

My First 5 Months:

March 6, 2011 - “Holy Shit

March 21, 2011 - “The Market Disaster of 2011

March 28, 2011 - “Anja, Here I Come

April 2, 2011 - “I Almost Saw A Man Get Killed

(if you haven’t realized my penchant towards drama yet, well, it’s there.)

April 13, 2011 - “Anjozoro

May 9, 2011 - “Thanks Dad For Taking Me Camping…NOT

May 12, 2011 - “3 Days Down

May 22, 2011 - “A Tomato Goes A Long Way

May 27, 2011 - “A Betsileo Wedding

3 Gross Entries:Oh Shit" "DIVA!" "Another First

July 2, 2011 - “There Comes A Time

July 5, 2011 - “My Best Friend

July 13, 2011 - “The Hardest Blog Post

3 Great Pictures: 1, 2, 3

July 28, 2011 - “Manetsa

August 18, 2011 - “Let’s Play A Game

I’ll be back in a day or two to post the best entries from the next 5-6 months of my time in Madagascar.  In the meantime, feel free to go to http://taraprindiville.tumblr.com/archive to sift through the hundreds of essays yourself!

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Leaving my house in Anja for the last time…goodbye Anja!

(This photoshoot may or may not have been staged, don’t judge…)

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Anonymous asked: Love your reading list! Two of my favorite books are on there--The God of Small Things and Time Traveler's Wife. Two suggestions: Power of One by Bryce Courtenay and The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. Also The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I know I left The Moviegoer and Poisonwood in the flophouse before I left...I was an ed volunteer in Miarinarivo 1999-2001. Just found your blog when I randomly Googled "Tamana tsara!" All the best, Lori

I love anything by Barbara Kingsolver, so I will most definitely check that out!  And I’ve never read anything by Courtenay or Percy, but I’ll let you know what I think, thanks for the suggestions Lori!

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Here are a few shots from our farewell party here in Fianar this past Monday…

…you’ll have to forgive my blogging skills for the next few weeks.  I’m all over the place.  I move out of my village for good in less than a week, then I’m up in Tana for about a week, followed by ten days in Thailand, then home to America.  I’ll try to write as often as possible, although I’m not sure how often that will actually be.

Also, it’s hard for me to write anything really deep or poignant because I’m just too sad that it’s finally here.  It’s time to say good-bye.  If you had asked me two years ago about this moment, I wouldn’t have believed that it would actually get here.  And now that it’s here…I can’t believe it.  So, please, bear with me.

At the very least, I’ll toss an interesting picture up here every now and then.  :)

Until next time,

T

(P.S. I am going to miss my region-mates SOOOO much!!  Keep kickin’ ass at life Fianar-ites, I’ll be sending a care package your way real soon!)

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Women’s Day at the Tree Nursery

Women’s Day, March 8, 2013

The women in my village totally surprised me this year by approaching me to ask if they could hold an event to celebrate Women’s Day at our tree nursery!  

I excitedly said, “OF COURSE!” and that’s pretty much all I had to do.  They planned the whole thing, decided what they wanted to do (they decided to weed the entire nursery and plant another round of tree seedlings!), and went at it.  It was amazing.

Seriously, after two years of waiting around for someone in my community to take the initiative with starting projects, rather than it always being me, my village surprises me when I least expect it.  To be completely honest, I had given up hope; I thought I would leave Anja without teaching a single person what a creative, determined mind can accomplish if they only put forth a little effort…

…and now, as you can see from these pictures, I have an entire community full of strong, confident women who can lead the charge.

Women of Anja, I salute you.  You made me so proud today, thank you for making these last two months of service even MORE memorable than they already are.

I’m leaving the tree nursery in VERY capable hands.

{all the ladies after their parade into the park grounds}

{perfect day}

{girls from the local CEG hard at work}

{weed.weed.weed}

{get it}

{this is my mpanasa lamba (laundry lady) working hard!}

{an armful for the trash pit}

{women of all ages helping out!}

{my counterpart teaching them how to mix the correct soil mixture}

{the girls filling up the plastic pots}

{taking a little break}

{angady = shovel}

{even the men pitched in!}

{lovely ladies}

{Victor leading the charge!}

{vizaka be!}

{Victor & Madame Pauline, getting the girls organized}

{one last round of plastic bag packing}

{great job girls!}

Amazing Women’s Day!!!  I hope no matter who my replacement volunteer is come May, that they try and continue the work that we’ve started with this tree nursery.  They’ll at least have the help of all the women in town!  :)

Until next time,

T

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A Gasy St. Paddy’s Day

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{zebu crossing}

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{big river}

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{phoenix followed me to mada!}

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{2 sudesters, 1 majunger & 1 fianarer=awesome}

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{is there any better way to celebrate st. patrick’s day?  i don’t think so.  a little competition is good for the irish soul!}

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{playing a little “baseball”}

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{love the vest/shirt jeremy!}

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{nailed it!}

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{brousse ride home to fianar}

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{baby imitating momma}

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{playing in the field}

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HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY EVERYONE!!



Until next time,

T

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Just a few pictures from our VAC meeting in Isalo National Park!  

We celebrated Women’s Day by dancing with some locals, then hiked the park the next day and swam in a few natural lagoons (amazing waterfalls!).  We ended the whole trip with stargazing on the roof of our hotel.

All in all, a pretty great last VAC meeting for myself and the other zokys (older siblings) that are leaving in April.

The Fianarantsoa region RULES!!!!  :)

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SO MANY EMOTIONS!

It started off with something small, nothing that on a regular, normal day would have bothered me.

But today was not a regular day.

You see, the taxi drivers were trying to rip me off on the fare to get to the brousse station.  I knew the normal fare is 2,000…THEY knew the normal fare is 2,000…and yet, taxi after taxi, they quote me at 3,000, 3,500, never dropping lower than 2,500.

And I know what you’re asking yourself right now.

"Tara, 500 Ariary is not that big of a deal.  It translates to 25 cents in USD, calm down and just get in the taxi."

But it’s a point of pride, thank you very much!

After at least ten taxis that refuse to bargain with me, I just get in one for 2,500, muttering under my breath as I hop in that he doesn’t deserve my money, but I’ll give it to him anyway.

After an incident like this, I usually would have calmed down and “re-set” my Irish temper back down to a normal level.

But today, like I mentioned, was not a regular day.

During the taxi ride to the brousse station, I sat there and just STEWED.  You know those days when everything is bothering you and it just piles up.  Snowballing.  One on top of the other.

I finally arrive at the brousse station and the normal scene ensues.  I get out of the taxi and am immediately surrounded by ten guys pulling on my bag, trying to get me to ride with THEIR car so that they can fill up quicker and head out to their destination.

Well, one guy too many touched my arm this time.

I WHEEL around and fix him with my you-are-dead-to-me eyes and he immediately turned to stone, obviously.

I stalked off towards my usual brousse guys.  At this point, I am completely, 100% oblivious to what people are saying to me.  All I know is, my brousse has left without me and I’m near-hysterics at this point:

"YOU SAID YOU WOULD CALL ME WHEN MY BROUSSE WAS FILLED UP AND READY TO GO.  AND NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YOU ARE TELLING ME THAT MY BROUSSE ALREADY LEFTTTTTTTTT?!!"

As this interaction is taking place, I notice out of my peripheral vision just how many people are at the brousse station today.  It is literally crawling with people (a brousse station, in case you didn’t know, is Dante’s 7th circle of hell.  just so you know).

And now all my frustrations melt into one full-blown panic attack.

I simultaneously can’t breathe and start bawling at the same time.

I toss my bag up to the bag-loader and scramble into the nearly-empty car to wait.  I have to physically make myself close my eyes and envision a happier, calmer place.  And then I think of back home, and the tears flow even harder.  At least at this point I can breathe again.

But seriously guys, home sickness at this point in the game?  I’ve been living in this country for exactly 24 months at this point, how can I still be getting homesick?  I’m here to tell you, it hits at surprising and random times.

Here’s my theory:

You know when you’re sitting there on your computer and suddenly realize that you have to pee?  If you’re not in the middle of something, you get up and go to the bathroom.  But if you’re busy, or trying to finish something, or don’t want to leave the latest episode of New Girl, you sit there and you hold it.

You hold in your pee.

And suddenly, because you now KNOW you need to pee, you have to go SO BADLY it’s almost unbearable.  Maybe you do a little pee-dance, trying to hold it in as long as possible.

But how does this make any sense?  It’s not like the urge to pee hit you all of a sudden.  It crept up on you.  Slowly.  Until you realized that you would need to go to the bathroom right at that moment or pee your pants.

(Stay with me on this, it’s going somewhere, I swear.)

That’s what it’s like when going home to the States after two years in the Peace Corps.  It’s like, you lived for two whole years away from home, and suddenly, one day, you realize that you’re REALLY going home in a month.  You’re finally going to see family and friends that you haven’t physically hugged in the last 24 months.

You finally realized that you needed to pee.  And all of a sudden, you need to pee NOW.

That’s where I’m at.  I know I’m going home in a little under a month, and over the last two years I knew this day would come.  But now it’s actually here.  

Going home is so close I can almost TASTE it.  I realized I was going home soon and all of a sudden, I need to go NOW…and the fact that I’m not doing that RIGHT THIS SECOND REALLY MAKES ME SO INCREDIBLY ANGRY.

My emotions are out of control.  One minute I’m laughing, the next I’m crying.

The brousse station in Fianar got a lesson in dealing with a COSing Peace Corps Volunteer today, let me tell you.  No one came up to talk to me for a solid hour and a half after my “episode.”  I don’t even think anyone made eye contact with me…at least, until that creepy guy came up to my window and licked it…that pretty much broke the spell.

It’s just that I’m feeling so many things right now - 

I’M IN A GLASS CAGE OF EMOTION! - and I don’t really know how to deal with it.  It’s like going through puberty in high school, really.  Learning how to deal with your new emotions.  

So, bare with me over the next four weeks.  It’s going to be a crazy emotional roller coaster.  But it’s a win-win situation for you guys!  You get the amazingly ridiculous/hilarious stories of my insanity without ACTUALLY having to experience any of it first-hand.

Great for you.  Congratulations.

Now get out of my face before I punch you.

Until next time,

T

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What’s better than using my last remaining laptop battery life on a movie?
Doing it by candlelight!  What’s better than that??
Leonardo Dicaprio is in it!!!!

So to sum up: movie night + candle + Leo = AWESOME

What’s better than using my last remaining laptop battery life on a movie?

Doing it by candlelight!  What’s better than that??

Leonardo Dicaprio is in it!!!!

So to sum up: movie night + candle + Leo = AWESOME

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0 Plays
Nelly
Hey Porsche

"Hey Porsche" is Nelly’s new song and IT IS AMAZING!

So catchy!  And who knew this was Nelly?!

It’s my official taxi brousse song that I put on repeat and play over & over, trying to ignore the drunk Malagasy man next to me that is trying (and failing) to get my attention.

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The Perfect Day

Today was a perfect day.

To start with, it was absolutely beautiful outside. 

The sun was shining, with huge fluffy white clouds floating through the sky.  It was warm, but with a perfect breeze blowing that it made it possible to be outside in the sun & not die.

The next element added is the birds.

Today they were cheerfully chattering to each other, back and forth.  While I was on the phone with the PC doctor, he even commented that he could hear them through our connection!

(Literally the sun was shining and the birds were singing!)

The village was also exceptionally quiet today.  I was able to blast Nelly’s new song “Hey Porsche” and sing/dance along in peace!

Then when I went down to my well to fetch some water, not only was I greeted with a completely deserted spigot (no line!), but right there next to where I was filling up my buckets were five of the most ADORABLE baby ducklings I have ever seen.

They scrambled up out of the flooded rice field, one by one, and proceeded to shake off droplets of water.  The small runt of the litter even shook himself so hard, he fell over!  AAAAAH it was so freaking cute, I actually audibly sighed.

And the best part of the day?  To top everything off?

I had pancakes for dinner!!!!!!!!!


{nailed it!}

The only downside to the entire day was when I ate one pancake too many and ended up ralfing all my delicious pancakes out in one fell swoop.

Drat.

Until next time!

T