Experiencing Malagasy Independence Day was great. I felt like I was back hom except their celebrations start the night before. They have a tradition where the younger children march through the streets singing what I assumed was the national anthem along with other national songs, while carrying laterns or wearing necklaces and masks that lit up. Although 20 years old, I walked with my host father and sister and little cousin down the streets of a town 20 minutes from Ivandry where I am staying. It was not as exciting as going to the karaoke/dance club where others had gone, but it was an experience that brought me closer to my host sister and made me feel at home. Besides, the family and I had already had our night of karaoke back at the home of my host uncle. They welcomed me in and I didnt feel like a guest. I laughed, I joked and I most importantly enjoyed myself the night before Independence Day and the day of when I was invited back to the home of my uncle to meet his wife’s side of the family. Im learning so much about their culture but at the same time I had the privelege of sharing part of mine as I answered the many questions they asked me as they tried practicing their English. Although they kept pointing out that the difference between here and America is the wealth, that day it didnt seem like there was any difference at all. I was in a nicely manicured lawn surrounded by a big 8 ft tall white gate enclosed with many cousins, big and small, who were riding bikes and skating and having a great time. The lobster, duck and fish we had for lunch didnt scream poor. What they didnt realize was that even in such a poor country, they were well off and in fact doing better than I am in America. So in all, I made new memories with my sister Liantsoa but I also experienced another side of the Malagasy life apart from my simple daily morning breakfast of bread and jam and dinners where meat is always given in small quantities. All life is not simple and not all are poor in a poor nation. Just like not all are rich in a rich nation, which I still dont think they get.
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