The Game

Over and over, a ball, which was a black plastic bag tied into a lopsided circle with twine, bounced slowly over the dust toward me. Stopping it with the toe of my flipflop, I kicked it back. At the other end was one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen. Hardly waist high, with sparkling dark brown eyes, he must have been around three or four years old. Our little game wasn’t something he took lightly. Before kicking the ball, he crouched down with a look of determination, stomped his feet, and flexed his arms before taking off at a run toward the ball. An exaggerated kick sent the ball bumping randomly over the dust and sent me running to catch it. A grin split his face as I cheered for him and was usually followed up by him running up for a high five. When I kicked the ball back to him, he wasn’t satisfied to stop it with his foot. Instead he ran towards the ball and stopped it with a football style tackle that kicked up the dust around us. I am not a huge fan of playing ball, but I’d play ball with him all day if I could. Walking home that evening, I couldn’t help but thank God for sending me to this island, to these children.


Dancing; French; Chickens

A few days before the conference started, my friends and I went to the city where the National CEF Conference was being held. Those three days were filled with more stories then I can tell, but I thought I would try to give you an idea of what happened on our 'mini vacation.' And while there are no dancing French chickens in this story, there is some dancing, some French, and a chicken or two.

We stayed at Pastor D's wife's dad's house. This is a picture taken off the second story deck. We were woken up each morning by roosters and geese, and the smell of rice cooking on charcoal fires. It doesn't get much better. :) I got to draw my first bucket of water from the well that a few of the girls are using in this picture, much to everyone's delight. The worst part is they didn't think I would be able to do it...... Outside of cooking three meals a day, which can take a good part of the day, we were free to entertain ourselves and wander around.


 One of the upper rooms turned into our dance floor during the mornings and evenings. With Malagasy dance music blaring from the other room, we put together a dance. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I had been choreographed into the dance, that we were going to perform this at the talent show at the end of conference, so I ended up dancing with them in front of....everyone.... Kinda made me thankful for the many years of dance lessons I took while growing up...

 Here I must pause with the pictures and relay a lunch time story. One morning I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my presentation for the conference. The teens were busy working on lunch, but I had tuned everything out and was working. I happen to glance over just in time to see one of the boys holding a chicken under his arm with a knife, and the other hand was full of feathers that he had just pulled from the chicken's neck. I did the O_O thing and was like, "Stop! Stop! Don't you dare do that right here!!" After some teasing and offering to let me do it, they stepped in the hallway to kill it and then brought it back in, laying in a tub, still jerking around. I can't believe I was able to eat the poor thing after that...  After lunch we would walk across the rice patties to this strip of trees and lay under the trees laughing, talking and watching everyone try to swing on a low tree branch like the local boys did.

 There was alot of sitting around talking. It was the perfect opportunity for me to work on following conversation between alot of people. I can usually handle a conversation with one or two people, but following a group convo is harder, so I enjoyed practicing.

We met some adorable children while out on a walk one day. As we finished talking to them, a lady comes around the corner, sees me and gets all excited and starts saying hello to me in French and is excitedly shaking everyones' hands. She kept chattering away in French and usually when someone starts talking to me in French, I explain I don't speak French. But I wasn't sure I could get a word in edgewise, and plus she was so excited, so I just did the smile and nod thing. Thankfully after shaking everyones hand and chattering away she went hurring off down the road and the teens and I stared at each other in shoke then started laughing. Thank goodness no reply was needed. :)

We also spent alot of time wandering around the town. There are little 'stores' which just have a window cut into the side of the house, then you go up to the window and place your order which can be anything from tea, coffee or milk which comes in a little tin cup that you drink on the spot and give back, to breads or yogurt, all of which you eat standing infront of the window or store front and return the untensils afterwards.

We had so much fun during our 'mini vacation' that we were a little sad to head over to the conference, and were already starting to talk about next year.