April 10, 2012
We are back to normal after tech trip, language class in the morning and technical training in the afternoon. But we had the afternoon off yesterday to experience Easter (Paka) Monday in Mantasoa. On Sunday, people go to church, but on Monday, they picnic with their families and friends. Lake Mantasoa is a significant tourist destination for Malagasy people in the area. There were a ton of booths set up with people selling food and drinks and a ton of people walking around and playing in the lake. This eventually ended up being a ton of drunk people, which elicited our return back to the training center so we wouldn’t have to deal with them. Before that I went to visit my homestay family for the first time, which was fun.
I am also now the official owner of almost 500 gigs of movies and TV. Tara, a current environment volunteer came to help train the environment people, and she has 2 one terabyte hard drives filled to the brim with movies. I now have 230 movies and a whole bunch of TV shows. If anything happens to that hard drive I am seriously gonna cry haha. I may even be more excited to have it at home after this, since I haven’t watched pretty much anything yet.
Finally, training just got really interesting because we are now doing “mock immersion.” 7 am to 8 pm we are not allowed to speak any English to each other or the trainers unless we are in tech session or working on a project in a classroom. Shenanigans. Although going to be really helpful because it is forcing us to practice. There is a rewards system as well as penalties. We all carry red cards to give people who we catch speaking English. They then have to pay a fine. If you carry on 5 one-minute conversations with a language trainer then you get a green card. Collect 5 green cards and you get a free drink from the bar. The prizes get better and better, including free laundry and Internet connection. Should get interesting…
Hope you are all well! Still anxiously anticipating moving to Miarinarivo, even though the training center is really fun. We have a ton of April birthdays, so we have been celebrating those with bonfires, cakes, and dance parties. On Friday we have the semi-annual volleyball against the gendarmes (police), so that should be fun.
Talk to you soon!
Addendum to the language training: I didn’t get any red cards today and I caught my teacher Rigo speaking English and gave him one. Winner! <3