One night after Paul got back from Madagascar, I spent the evening reading through the letters he had brought me from some of our Malagasy friends. I thought I would share some excerpts.
From the family on the corner of our street: “We were thrilled to have Paul arrive in Ambalavao. There has been tropical depressions throughout Madagascar, including Ambalavao. As a result, infrastructures have been damaged, fields flooded. Our grand-mother died on February 16th. We are having bad luck during this period.”
From their neighbors: “We sent you a letter last time asking you for money. We have run out of money. You have not sent a reply. How are your father and mother?”
From a high school girl down the street: “It’s very hot here. The cyclone is finally gone, but it killed a lot of people. It was so so sad. I think of you often when I see the picture of us braiding your hair like the Malagasy. Next time I will send you a picture of me, but I am in a hurry now because I have to go study. I am preparing for the Bac (final exam) in July 2008. Can you pray for me for that? Don’t forget us, Alison. PS: Can you send us a “carte postale,” ex. photo of the city USA if that’s ok.”
From my closest friend Loule: “How is your studying going? You and Paul need to study hard so you can do a good job with your degrees. I’m praying for your health, your strength, your mind. I’ve been really happy because your work here in Ambalavao has been going so well. You two are really good people, who really want to help the Malagasy. Some people come here and leave, but you keep coming back. You have such a good goal. There aren’t any bad Malagasy working with you. They all have good goals too and want to do good things with the money…..I think of you often when I drink out of the coffee mug you gave me. Paul said you would come in September. When you come, you can stay with me, we can eat together all the time, we can go buy used clothes in the market, we can even go to Fianar together to the market. The month of September needs to come really quickly, I’m really ready. Loule (DON’T FORGET ME)”