Feb 25 2013

A CFCA staffer’s trip to exotic Madagascar

Regina Mburu

Regina Mburu, our communications liaison for Africa, recently returned from a trip to Madagascar to cover the stories of sponsored friends and their families. Regina is from Kenya.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit our CFCA project in Madagascar. I was all packed up and excited at the thought of visiting this beautiful island country.

After a smooth flight, we landed in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. CFCA staff members were already at the airport waiting for me, and in this land miles away from my motherland, I felt at home.

Our drive to Antsirabe, which is three hours from the capital city, was a bit scary. The road was very curvy with many turns and bends. However, the beautiful landscape and tracks of rice paddies made my fear fade away.

CFCA sponsored children in Madagascar

Sponsored schoolchildren in Madagascar come out to meet Regina Mburu, our communications liaison for Africa!

The languages spoken in Madagascar are Malagasy and French. It was really difficult for me to converse with people I met.

At one time I had quite an experience with the staff in the hotel where I was residing. The menu was written in French and I had no idea what to order. The simplest thing I thought of was “chips” (french fries) and fresh juice, so I placed my order.

After a few minutes they brought me potato crisps and freshly brewed beer!

I tried to explain that’s not what I ordered, but when my brows got sweaty trying to find the right words, I decided to just take the crisps. That was my dinner for that day.

Walking on the streets, I was met with many stares and whispers. Malagasy people are light-skinned and short; I looked out of place because I am dark-skinned and tall!

Some would talk to me and I would just smile. Later I would think to myself, what if they insulted me and I smiled back at them!

The most common means of transport in Antsirabe is called a “pousse pousse,” which is a type of cart. You take a seat on it, and someone pulls you.

A pousse pousse in Madagascar

Regina Mburu rides on a pousse pousse in Madagascar.

This was very strange for me because I felt like I was punishing the person pulling me, especially if it happened to be an old man.

At one time, an elderly man wanted me to ride on his pousse pousse, and I hesitated.

He told the staff accompanying me, “Why doesn’t she want me to carry her? If all of you ignore me because I am an old man, what will I eat at the end of the day?”

I was so touched that from that day on, I preferred riding on the elderly men’s carts.

It is a beautiful experience living among people of a different culture.

One thing I learned during my stay at this beautiful island is that patience is a virtue. A virtue that one should accord to everyone: finding beauty in our differences and embracing it.

Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located 240 miles southeast of the African continent.

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6 thoughts on “A CFCA staffer’s trip to exotic Madagascar”

  1. Fantastic blog, Regina. You made me travel, laugh and cry a bit! What a wonderful experience you lived. Thank you for reminding us that there is more out there than just our small space/country. The beauty of your story gives me hope. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you, Regina! One of our sponsored friends lives in Madagascar and while we will never get to visit her, your description gave us a little “arm chair trip” to her beautiful country.

      1. Thank you Henry! my experiences at Madagascar will forever remain with me.
        Chris, am glad you got to experience Madagascar “through my eyes”. God bless you!

  2. Granddaughter, I am so happy you had this experience. Even though we are all different, we are still the same. It was great to read this and even greater to have known you.

    God bless.

    Kathy

    1. Hello Grandmother Kathy! so good to hear from you..hoping you are doing well. I am honored to have met you and now I can boast of having a grandmother who comes from a different country and has a different culture but we remain bonded in Love :-) God bless, forever in my heart.

      1. Thank you, dear Granddaughter Regina. You are always in my prayers. May God bless you in all that you do. I am so happy to have such a wonderful granddaughter.:-)

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