Letter to Omi (Grandmother)

Trip Start Nov 02, 2003
Trip End Feb 14, 2006

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Flag of Madagascar  ,
Friday, January 23, 2004

Dear Omi,

I'm getting settled in pretty well here, but people are expecting me to do work already. (I'm not officially supposed to work until April, so that I can learn the language really well before I start.) However, the volunteer I replaced was already fluent when she arrived (she had already spent 2 years in the north of the country) and started to work right away, which is skewing peoples' expectations of me. I got talked into giving 2 presentations right away, one for mothers on nutrition for children under 3, and one for high school students on condoms. They'll just have to suffer through my still-bumbling Malagasy, I guess, and maybe they won't ask me to do more talks for a while!

I'm still a little concerned about finding 2 years' worth of valuable work here, since it's such a relatively well-off and developed town, but I really love living here. There's a lake that I walk by on my way home and incredible views of all the rice paddies and hills. Yesterday my site partner, Callie, and I climbed up to a cliff and watched the sunset, which was spectacular; we even saw lightening inside a tunnel of clouds in the distance.

I've been getting a lot of questions about American politics in the last couple days, which is interesting; maybe news about the primaries has gotten to some people. (Saddam's capture certainly reached Madagascar, but no one has asked me about it.) People want to know my impression of Bush, whose name translates to "looboo looboo," which tickles me to no end.) The best compromise between diplomacy and my current language skills that I can muster is, "Bush likes war. I am in the Peace Corps and I don't like war, so I don't like Bush." People seem to understand, and almost everyone agrees, which is a nice feeling.

Love, Jessica


And now, some legalese:
The opinions expressed and experiences described in this travelogue are those of one individual Peace Corps Volunteer. Nothing written here should be interpreted as official or unofficial Peace Corps literature or as sanctioned by the Peace Corps. I have chosen to write about my experience online in order to update family and friends; I am earning no money whatsoever from this endeavor.
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