Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Mpandeha--Malagasy for "traveller"

Dearest Friends,

Time forever passes, eluding those who wish to capture it, devouring those who wish to stop it, rewarding those who remain in the balance. Today I blinked and when I opened my eyes again I found that my departure date is five days away. I will blink again and find myself in the mists, storms, seas, stars, lands, and suns of Africa. What will happen after that I cannot say…

Will I survive the rickety flight in the old, rusty propeller plane?

Will the giant jumping rat eat me for dinner?

Will the 3-4 inch cockroaches think it fun to invade and set up camp in my home?

Will I loose all my teeth in the rocks hidden within the rice?

Will I brave the storms of the friendly cyclones that like to ravish the island every now and then?

Will I tame the hearts of the local "pigmies?"

Will I get to experience to local biology of the island in the friendly forms of malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, and many, many more?

Will I have the opportunity to swim with the local crocodiles and sharks—better yet, unknowingly do so?

How much fun will I have slaughtering chickens?

Will all the natives scream and run away, pointing and yelling "Godzilla!" every time they see me?

Find out in the next episode of "Letters from Madagascar."

Ok basically what I’m trying to say is WRITE ME!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease! A Peace Corps volunteer (PCV), who is currently over there made it a point to stress that I make sure my friends know how to write AFTER the first six months!! Please write! I don’t know if I will have email and I won’t find out until after December. It remains a possibility, but if I get placed in some remote area that whole electricity problem may slightly interfere with my hotmail access! I understand that letter writing is and art form of the past but I ask you to try and remember what it is like and put it into practice! I had one friend apologize and say that he’s going to have to type the letters because he simply won’t sit down and write one. HEY! That’s OK! Perfect! Wonderful! I don’t care if you send me a blank envelope—I just want some love! Please! LOVE! Love me! (sniff!)

NO ONE will speak English in my village, all of my affairs will be conducted in French and Malagasy—you will be my only contact with the outside world, with my fellow Americans, and with the English language.

Es muy importante that you write the address just as it appears and include "Air Mail" AND "Par Avion" on the envelopes of your letters.

The mail system there is slightly different and takes about 2-4 weeks, the Peace Corps also encourages that you number your letters so that I can make sure I’ve received them all! I can receive letters, packages, and of course YOU when you come visit! :)

As soon as my address changes and I’m preparing to move to my new village for the remainder of my two years, I shall forward my new address promptly!

Now this is muy importante as well—I need YOUR information! PLEASE send me your updated information and the address where you would like to receive your letters!!! Even if you think I have your address—SEND IT TO ME ANYWAY!!! I’m getting a new address book and updating all my information so please send it so me. Feel free to email it to me and if for any reason you should need my home information it’s—


I will be here until about 3:30 a.m. Monday morning, October 29th, and then I shall leave for the airport to Philly for a day and a half, then travel with my group to JFK and fly out the evening of the 30th. If you loose my info for any reason please contact my mother at the above number and she’ll be more than happy to give it to you, and you can just say hi to her and check up on her for me! :)

Today I will lay out all of my crap and attempt to pack it and then attempt to carry it—haha, that should be quite amusing!

In all seriousness, I would truly love to hear from you while I’m over there and you don’t have to write me only when something profound happens to you, just hearing about your everyday happenings will make me feel closer to home! If you write me a letter you WILL receive one in return, chances are I’ll be so excited I’ll sit down and write you immediately, so don’t get mad if you don’t hear from me write away—it’s the snail mail system! Truthfully, chances are you’ll receive a letter from me even if you don’t send me one, but you will receive a thorough ass whooping once I return!!! That’s a promise!

So since I will be here until Monday, please give me a call while I still have a phone and/or drop me a line while I still have email!

AND DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO SAY GOOD-BYE OR ANY OF THAT CRAP!!! I am NOT leaving you, I’m simply going on a little trip! I’m still here even when I’m there! (wow, that was quite profound!) YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!


A bein tot,
Mandram pihaona,
See you later,