Madagascar 6: Five days in the bush

This is the hardest part of our mission: living far away from the civilization. I am a fledgling missionary, my friends have already been several times on the mission field. I have never been to Africa, India, I am a little bit afraid of the spiders, snakes, for me everything is new.

We packed some special things:thin sponge mattresses for sleeping on the floor, pots, liquid for the water sterilization and the interesting stove. With all of our packages went to the bus station. Was really hot, the bus was already full of passengers. No air inside, but we also needed to get in.Traveling with this very overcrowded bus for more than three hours was a first challenge for us.

We turned off from the main street to the dirt road where the land was ruled by the nature. Banana trees, coconut trees, in some places lodges from wood and leaves, lots of garbage around.
Finally we arrived!

Tried to make cosy our new home, cleaned the house, the spider webs, spiders, set up the mosquito nets. Bringing water from the well, buying charcoal, making fire on the open stove, cooking food.

We needed some sugar, went to the "shop" and bought sugarcane wrapped in the banana leaf.

Cooking on the open fire needs pretty much time. But here the people have enough time. Nobody is in a hurry, nobody is nervous.   We were sitting around the stove in the "kitchen", waiting for the boiled water, the neighbors came, the children came - this was the time of the social life. We could not drink the water from the well (and from the tap in the city), we needed the boiled water, this was really much time.

           After lunch I made the coffee in my special coffee maker which always travels with me.                                      

Here getting dark soon (around 6p.m.), no electricity, we used candles and head torches. I got head ache in the twilight, I rather went to the "bed" pretty early.



..... bathroom.  

In the morning getting light around 5, the chickens, the ducks, the geese and the neighbors started to make noises. The charcoal was pretty wet, I was suffering from making fire. One of our neighbors realized my battle with the fire and brought some live coals from his own stove. He wondered my coffee maker and did not understand my coffee making method.
The agriculture plays extremely important role in the Malagasy economy. 80 % of the population is employed through it. The main export commodities are: coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar.
When we taught in one of the villages the people showed us how do they make coffee.

This village was one hour walking from our village. We crossed the rice field, around banana trees, coconut trees - like in the movie.


In the village we taught about the character of God. Most of the people were illiterate. Most of the people don't know still  the most common story of the Bible. But they declared that they know and believe God. 
This is one of the biggest problem in Madagascar. Almost half of the Malagasy people are Christian, either Protestant or Roman Catholic. But many of them integrate their religious beliefs with traditional ones related to honoring ancestors. Their traditional religion emphasizes the links between the living and the ancestors. Malagasy traditionally believe in a creator god. The dead are intimately involved in the daily life of the living members and play the role of the intermediary between this god and human kind.

Next day Polly taught the women about the interesting women of the Bible. She emphasized that God created man and woman with the same value but with the different role. She illustrated the love of Jesus: picked me up and carried in her arms. "Jesus carries you in the same way."
The women participated in the teaching, the men were involved in the litchi harvest. The trees were red from the mature fruits.

Than started to rain and was raining for two days. The rainy season is from November to April when the temperature gets up around 86 Fahrenheit.

This was our last teaching in the bush. You can see on the picture the puddles in the church building.

During this five days we not just taught the Bible but we built personal relationships with the people. Prayed for them, counseled them, telling stories of the Bible, speaking about the real character of God. The people were really kind, friendly. They have never seen missionaries who wanted to teach them. They met practical work missionaries, but we were different.They did not understand at first our role in the bush. What do these white people want to do in their village? But soon they took a liking for us.

But our ministry finished in the bush and we went back to the civilization.

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