I wish I could say something profound after my two weeks in South Africa and Madagascar. Maybe it was the density of our time there – or the mixture of poverty and joy that I am once again finding to be at the center of life. Maybe it’s just the jet lag. But I think these kinds of experiences sometimes need to just stew for a while until they begin to form something recognizable to others. The first step is for it to become recognizable to me, I suppose.
Conversing with a former Prime Minister, “advising” a potential Presidential candidate, driving through a city of 2 million without stop signs and hundreds of people competing for the road, peering at lemurs in a rain forest, and crying with a new friend because it is worth it to let your heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God… all of these experiences are beating in my heart.
Really, I don’t know what to say. But I want to share something with you, so if you don’t mind a work in progress, I’d like to just let my impressions breathe imperfectly onto these pages. It is a beginning of the intersection of my story with the story of Madagascar. Let’s see what happens.I am sitting by a rutted red dirt road Malagasy am radio 3 geese, and a couple of barking dogs are competing babies wrapped around the bent backs of tiny women laying wet clothes to dry on the dirt from the river wash across the valleys, lone people wade through rectangles of rice patties cut into fields of malaria swamps I have watched children and old women barefoot in filth-stench climbing on garbage piles Picking through god knows what I didn’t ask I couldn’t stomach it It is real garbage here Not clothing or old baby carrots or unwanted appliances Still Last night after a glass of wine, I lay down in a thatched roof hut to the rapping of crickets and cicadas, frogs, and the haunting cry of the Indri A chameleon skittered across the room, chattering a welcomed companion even though I stayed up too late for her company It was as if the night was carrying on conversation across a cup of coffee with friends as if God was strolling through the rain forest with me in her arms pointing at banana trees Such sweetness I did not deserve knowing what I know although I received it because I know how to eyes closed palms open tucked under a net like a princess