Okay my typing may suck a little because this is an awful old computer with a bad connection in an internet cafe. Also, the keyboard is different here and the keys are all in the wrong spots.
I love it here!
I'm going to have to break it up into days because so much has happened that I would like to share.
I got here and was warmly welcomed by President and Sister Foote. They're awesome! It's kind of weird, they're a combination of traits from you <my parents> and Sophie's parents. Its okay I love all 4 people so they're great.
haha the power just went out. thank goodness google saves drafts. I swear I just saw a woman trading bananas to use the cpu. Welcome to Madagascar Elder.
Anyways, my leaders are great, the mission home/mission office/one of the chapels is very cool. A very nice building for Mad. It's a few storeys high so it has a great view. I also got to meet the APs Elder Covvy and Glazier. They're great too. I stayed at their apartment with Elder Soper until I left for my area. I'm assigned to <and currently serving in> Fianarantsoa! But more on that later. I got to go out with my new companion Elder Obioma to one of his old areas in Antanarivo before we left. Tana is amazing. I think the best way to describe it is Rio in Brazil but poorer. It's a sprawling city where people build shacks wherever they can find room and with whatever materials they can find. It is very poor and very dirty. It's really heartbreaking to see kids sometimes. The people are very happy though. Honestly some of the most witty people I know are Malagasies. We visited one woman who lives in a shack in a neighbourhood of shacks set in a pit of mud. She's always wanted to be baptized but her husband beats her if she tries. Oh she also has deformed feet and walks on crutches. The people are amazing. We visited another family who live in an 8' x 5' "house" which is basically a closet of a bigger house that you can enter into from the outside. We went inside and the little girl who is adorable by the way opens this big bottle of nail polish remover and almost killed us all with the fumes. Haha it was funny after the fact.
On Friday we were driven to Fianarantsoa by one of the mission's drivers. Ugh. I don't want to talk about it. 11 hours of the windiest, worst potholed streets you can imagine. And our driver wasn't slowing down for anything. Beautiful scenery of Rice Paddies and country though. This place is unreal.
Fianarantsoa is amazing. It is the second biggest city in Mad. It's a lot like Tana but set in the mountains, cleaner and more spread out. I love it here. We honestly live like kings compared to the Malagasies. We have toilets and running water (still can't drink it but it's nice to be able to wash things). I didn't get any pictures of our apartment but I'll send some next time. There are 4 missionaries in Fianarantsoa (one for the north and one for the south branches). I stand out here. The other companionship is two Malagasies and my companion is African-American. I hear "vazahe" (vah-zah which is basically a rude term for white person) about a hundred times a day. A lot of these people can count the number of caucasians they've seen on their fingers so I'm definitely a weird sight. Malagasies don't really like white people because they're strongly connected to French colonial times, which the Malagasies understandably didn't appreciate. They think it's really hilarious to go up to me and say "bonjour" really sarcastically and I just kind of smile and say salama o. It's kind of demeaning and annoying honestly, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Makes me glad I have a 6'3" black companion haha. It's not a particularly safe place for white people, but as long as we follow mission rules and stay with our companions we're safe. The mission takes good care of us.
The work is very cool here. It is a very teaching oriented mission. I teach about the gospel, I teach English (every saturday and it's my favourite thing so far, they asked us what boycott and imperious meant and we're like where are you learning these words!?) and I teach people to read. We just generally try to improve the quality of people's lives and I love it. We can't bring people out of poverty, but we can do things that are even better.
We got swarmed by a bunch of kids working in the area we're focusing on and it was amazing. okay the italics are an accident and i don't know how to turn them off and i don't have much time. I wish I could send the video of them dancing and singing for us.
Not going to lie, this mission feels like it's going to be extremely difficult. We walk a million km a day, two days we've been soaked by cyclones and had to walk home in the pitch black, but I can also already tell that this is the sort of stuff that makes one into a man. I love these people and I love living among them. I can't wait til I can relate to them more, joke around in Malagasy and convey how much I want to be their friend.
I'm sorry, that's all the time I have. I'll send more information next week. I love you all and miss you.
|Elder Schnoor in Antananarivo, Madagascar|
|The streets of Antananarivo.|
|Adorable Malagasy children. (Fianaranstoa)|
|Elder Schnoor is actually standing, |
the children love to build stilts to play. (Fianaranstoa)
|Elder Schnoor found a chameleon, he's pretty stoked! (Fianaranstoa)|
|Elder Schnoor and his new companion Elder Obioma (who he loves) after Elder Schnoors first cyclone. A little wet!!|
The faces say it all, Elder Schnoor isn't sure what hit him and Elder Obioma thinks its pretty funny! Love it!