A place that I didn’t know much about a year and a half ago.
A place that I honestly don’t know if I’ll see again.
A place that will always have an imprint on my heart.
My relationship with Madagascar has definitely been a love affair. As I got to know her, I was nervous and insecure of what I was doing. I wanted her to reveal herself to me, but just like any relationship, it took time and patience and struggles to understand what she was all about. But through time, we’ve learned to love each other.
When it came to me and Madagascar, we experienced all sorts of different emotions and feelings together. Good, bad, ugly, hilarious… you name it!
There were times when I would have a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning because I had been bruised or hurt and I didn’t want to face her that day.
There were other times I didn’t want the sun to set because that meant I needed to return home and couldn’t explore her streets anymore.
There were times when I felt so alone – almost invisible- like I was only noticed for the color of my skin and nothing else.
But then there were the glorious days when I felt that everyone was my friend and would get stopped on the street to have conversations.
There were times (quite often actually) when I really didn’t want to teach. I didn’t feel that I was a capable teacher, or that my students would learn anything.
But there were the times (Thank the good Lord) when I didn’t want to leave the classroom because my students and I were laughing so hard and having such a good time together!
Throughout time I came to learn some of her secrets. She’s a tricky one, this Mada. Always keeps you on your toes. And it’s all about how YOU look at it. You could find a certain situation frustrating, or amusing – completely up to you.
There were days I got so angry with her, that I cried… a lot. And other situations where I was laughing and saying to myself “oooooh madalife!”
And although I yearn so much to unveil more of her secrets which only are disclosed over time, it’s time for me to leave.
Time for me to say goodbye to a place I’ve fallen in love with. A place that’s stolen my heart. A place where I see God every day. A place I call home.
I would be lying if I said it was all easy. Sometimes it makes me want to throw things and yell at the walls. Everything from annoying and unnecessary Tana traffic, to the injustice I see every day, to my dear Marzette leaving to work in Kuwait.
But it is in those difficult times when I most needed to cling to the promise of God’s grace and to ask the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace and wisdom.
In my last few days in Ambohibao, Antananarivo (Tana), I’ve struggled with how to soak up every moment and not take it for granted… as well as how to say goodbye and accurately express my extreme gratitude to everyone around me.
I’ve also struggled with how to say hello to loved ones back home – how to accurately express emotions and stories and… well… madalife.
For now, all I can do is live in the present and be here now.
But I would like to publicly express my eternal gratitude to everyone in Madagascar for making this home. And to everyone else reading this – thank you for your continual support.
This year has challenged me and pushed me like I’ve never experienced before. I’ve learned a lot and loved a lot and been loved a lot. And although it breaks my heart to leave, I am excited for a new batch of YAGM volunteers to fall in love with her.
So once again, thank you to everyone who has made this year what it is – without you I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of my bed. And then Mada and I never would have become friends.
May God bless you all on your journey, wherever you may be.
Love from Mada!