Saturday, March 3, 2012

Well, this cyclone season has been really annoying. First the east coast got nailed by Giovanna, and then Irina came down the north and west coasts. The good thing about living in the highlands is that we never suffer the brunt of the storm, but we do get the weeks of lingering rain no matter where a cyclone has hit. Since the two cyclones hit so close together, we've had several weeks of almost non-stop rain, which means my town is basically just a mud pit. I haven't been able to go running, people are staying inside so the clinic has been pretty dead, and all of the food in the market has been rotting. The last one is probably the biggest problem. I've still been able to find some veg with only a few bad spots that can be cut around, but you can forget about fruit. The bananas are just piles of black mush, and the apples are so bruised and rotted out you can barely tell what they are. But, I've got my little stock pile of rice and can still buy ramen from the stores, so I'm doing alright. A couple friends and I are planning a vacation to the east coast in a couple weeks, so we'll probably check out the damage there when we go. Hopefully no new cyclones crop up during that time though. We'll be hitting Tamatave and Foulpointe, which I haven't been to, and then popping over to St. Marie, which is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. I'm so excited to be going back there. Dreams of the perfect beaches are what's keeping me going at this point. Oh, and lobster of course.

Even though clinic work has been slow, my photography project has been amazing work. We've had a few meetings at this point, and I've been absolutely thrilled with the way the girls have embraced the assignments. They've really seemed to understand the point of the assignments which so far have been “home” and “fun.” They've produced some really great pictures of their families, daily work, and friends. At each meeting we go through all the pics that they took the week prior, and then I tell them which were my favorites and why. Then, they have to select which of their pics was their favorite that week and then write a short paragraph describing the picture and why they think it's good. One example from the first week was from a girl named Safidy whose picture was of her mother sifting rice:
“I like this photo because it is of my mother. She does the house work and helps her children with their studies. She works very hard so that her children may study.”
I'm excited for this week's assignment, which is “community” because it will get them out and about in the town interacting with other people. They won't be able to be shy if they want to get good pictures of people, which is what I always tell them- “You must be brave for art!” Which they always giggle at, but I hope they keep it in mind this week. I've posted some of my favorite photos in an album on facebook if you want to take a look at their work.

That's about all that's going on in this soggy country for now. Till next time.