Looks like I need to apologize once again for a very overdue post. I’ll try to get a couple posts up in the next few days to make up for it. I finally caved and bought a nifty little internet stick, though, which means I can access the internet right from my house. (This is of course assuming the cell network is functioning, I still have battery life on my computer, a cyclone isn’t hitting the island, and other various factors that interfere with my connectivity in Madagascar to the outside world.) But probably this means I’ll be in touch a lot more. I can certainly check email several times a week and hopefully update my blog a bit more frequently. I still won’t use facebook and skype too much as they use up a lot of data very quickly (and the modem is based on amount of data processed, not on time connected). Anyhoo….
The past several weeks have once again been full of all kinds of adventures. A bunch of Mada PCV’s have decided to train for the half-marathon held in Morondava (near my old site) in July. Well, turns out the marathon actually hasn’t happened in a couple of years, but we’re hoping we might be able to help revive it. So I’m training assuming we’ll get it going, but if not I may find one to run in the states when I get home in September. So I’ve been running a lot. In other athletic news, Charity (the other PCV in my village) and I decided to work on one of the Peace Corps goals of helping others around the world better understand American culture during Superbowl Sunday. Just for ourselves we made quite the Superbowl Party feast—chili, nacho cheese, homemade tortilla chips, and a salad with a Mexican dressing—but then spent the rest of the afternoon teaching kids about the Superbowl. We talked about party traditions and explained how big the game is to a lot of people. We couldn’t find a football anywhere, so we decided to teach them how to play rugby since I played in college. We got girls and boys to play, and I think everyone had a lot of fun.
Work has all been going very well. I've been continuing the cooking club. Recently I've had a smaller group of people, and some of the regulars have been attending less frequently. The past couple months have been the hunger season in Madagascar--it's right before the major rice harvest of the year (usually beginning around March), which is the major source of income for many Malagasy. Most people are struggling a lot right now and have to spend any extra time they can trying to find odd jobs and scrape together the best they can. This doesn't leave much free time to go to things like cooking club. And then once it’s actually time to harvest the rice, everyone will be busy with that. I'm going to try switching to different days and times on occasion to see if that allows more people to attend. But, I'm probably just going to have to wait it out will a very small group, and attendance will likely jump back up by April. In any event, it's still going well even with just a few women each week. I don’t think we’ve done any especially noteworthy recipes recently, but I’ll be sure to post recipes as before if we stumble across something really great.
Just a quick update for now, but I’ll add more about my Girls’ Club and some water projects I have going later this week. Love love.