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Saturday, March 28, 2015

At Our House, In Our Garden

The rain has stopped, and now we are actually watering our gardens! Can you believe it. It's amazing how quickly things are drying out. This is, of course, great news for those suffering from the flooding Tana has experienced this rainy season.

 I am so thankful for this beautiful outdoor space we've been blessed to enjoy. It has become a center for family gatherings, lunching, entertaining, quiet times, a haven after braving chaotic traffic, and just taking in the beauty around us.

Hunter. A beloved member of our family. He deserved a picture.

 Intense concentration with the tongue sticking out even!

 Batch of bread ready to go.

The latest project: a chain-link fence with 2 gates on either side of the house. This is so Hunter won't have to be tied up so much.

Loving the greenery, and Faith taking photos. 

The kids have been playing with walkie-talkies in the yard the past few days.

You are welcome to come and visit anytime!  ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Our Trip To Mercy Ships

For anyone who may not know, Mercy Ships has been docked in Tamatave for the past 6+ months. This is a really exciting opportunity for MAF Madagascar, as we work in partnership with Mercy Ships. Because of the size of our country, and the desperate need in all of the regions, transporting personnel for screening in villages and cities, and then of course getting the patients back to the ship is a huge logistical hurdle! Please read more about Africa Mercy and their mission, if you have never heard of the ship before.

They are currently organizing their next year of field service to continue in Madagascar through 2016.

We had a unique opportunity to fly in the Caravan to the coast. It was such a great day for the two of us. It's especially exciting for us to get out and see the countryside, and meet other ministries MAF works in conjunction with--typically Rob is hard at work in the hangar making sure the plane can go where it's needed, and I'm at home helping/schooling the kids.

Here we are getting ready to land in Tamatave. A fairly large port city. They have the largest port in the country. This is where most of the container ships come in and unload. Our truck was brought here from Germany, as well as our personal items when we initially moved to Madagascar.

Our transport from the airstrip to the ship.

Our first stop was the Hope Center. This is a large building, with 200 beds. Because of the large number of patients traveling great distances to receive treatments (by bus, some are traveling days), Mercy Ships is using this building for longer post-op care for those who require it. They are fed and housed until they are ready to make the long journey back to their village.

Behind the Hope Center this is where the patients are fed, and the laundry is done in the far left hand corner.


The reception area of the ship. We took special note of the hanging on the wall. Their clear mission of being an extension of Jesus' hands.

This is the library on board for the crew members' use.  I miss libraries.

Looking down on the cafe. There is a computer lab for the members up above. This was described to us as their "living room." Approximately 400 crew live on board the ship which isn't much bigger than a BC ferries. So they definitely don't have their own cabins and living space. All of the space (besides their bed) is shared.

The Bridge.

Families live aboard the ship. There are about 45 kids who live and school on board. This was a little play area we came across on an outer deck of the ship. A little too reminiscent of BC Ferries... don't know if I could live on one, honestly.  :)

The hospital is on Deck 3. Sorry, no photos of that. The rooms were full of patients, and it felt awkward thinking about taking pictures.

The highlight of the trip for Rob, for sure. We were taken into the engine room at the bottom.

The only way out is up.... I think we were about 3 meters under the water level by this point in the tour.. just a tad unnerving. :)

Our plane ride home.

A small village in the middle of nowhere (quite literally). A stark reminder of how isolated hundreds of thousands of people are, and how needed MAF is in Madagascar.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Flood Around Us

We are enjoying another great visit from Rob's mom this month. We have stayed pretty close to home, however, due to a devastating rainy season during the month of January and February. The rains are predicted to run right through to the end of March. Because the roads have been worse-than-normal with huge potholes, threatening us to use our 4x4, the traffic has been horrendous as well. We have limited our trips to town, only because it takes that much more energy to maneuver through the potholes and slow traffic line ups.

Maria has been accompanying me on our normal shopping trips and few outings we are doing. She was able to capture these photos of the flooding along a main dyke here in the city. Many people live along this dyke which borders the rice fields.

Over 30,000 displaced persons around our city, and at least 14 reported flood-related deaths. The people should be preparing to plant their next rice crop right now, however because of the flooding, they cannot. Rice is their main source of food, and most local people rely on farming here. We suspect the next 6 months are going to be even harder for the people here in the highlands of Madagascar.

Tents all along what's left of the high ground next to rice fields.

 The Red Cross tents

 Flooded homes in the middle of rice fields

 Recently constructed tent city that we drove by.

 Children playing near what's left of their homes, or nearby their parents working

 One of many community water stations. Most people haul water back to their homes each day, because they don't have plumbing at home.

 Dodging potholes, near the entrance to our church.

 Never-ending maintenance on extremely old vehicles

 Babies carrying babies

A familiar sight--streets packed with people, scooters, buses etc...