Right now I am serving in Ivandry, an area in Tana City next to Antananarivo. Our area is super far. We experienced a crazy car ride because there aren’t any lanes here. It’s insane to drive or ride here because cars come super close, super fast! While walking down the street you'll see cars, people, mopeds, trash, we see a lot of things. I have only seen one gas station. Also, we pass soccer games often...soccer is a huge thing here. There is a really nice shopping center here and it’s so weird to walk from a first world country to a near 4 th world country.
As far as the food...it's actually pretty good in some places!!! I have eaten some awesome foods like rice with some kind of meat stuff you pour on top and it is really good and luckily haven’t gotten sick... but we will see! I haven't had any french food yet. And, no running water is safe here. We drink a lot of soda and water when we can get it bottled or filtered. The soda here is good! We always get these big glass bottles of it! We usually go out for breakfast and I’ll buy a croissant. But the exchange of money is crazy here. It is 3000 of their dollars to $1 of ours. So you can take out of ATM $200,000 calculated their way which sounds like so much.
Well on p-day we went shopping to pick up a bible and get our books bound! When they are done I'll send some pics of what that is! But pretty much shopping, trying to email, and making brownies. The power here gets cut off in some areas a lot throughout the day so we have to try and get around that but it is such an adventure walking to people's houses! And next p-day I think we're going to the zoo...planning to see some lemurs!
So our past couple of days we go study in the mornings then we go out to teach in Ivandry. We take these modified vans with people packed in to get to our area. The people here in this area are so kind and want to help with Malagasy. They all say oh you will get it soon. Very kind people and members. Then we walk around and meet up with our appointments and it is such an adventure walking to people’s houses!
People have little houses here in places you wouldn’t imagine! When we are done we have to save around an hour and a half to walk back because the vans stop running at around 7pm. It rained for the first time last night and it was crazy! We were eating at a memer's(members) house and the thunder started shaking the house for like 10 seconds!!! They acted like everything was normal. It was crazy because we had to walk home after that!!! It is awesome here though and the members are great.
We don’t get bikes and I think we have the furthest area…it’s a really long walk but it’s fun! Shoes are getting wrecked. But it's awesome! And after a full day I sleep like a rock. Haha. Right now it’s just raining with thunder like I’ve never heard before in my life. It is truly something else. It was really fun though, making new paths because our main one was under a huge puddle! The humidity isn’t bad and the sun can feel very hot some days, but when it rains, it gets cooler. It rained for the first time last night! An insane storm and I was going crazy because of the lightning and thunder and the family we were eating with was totally normal!!! Members are awesome.
During the weeks, we have dinner appointments sometimes but they can cancel on us. The other day we went to our appointment and they said they had no food so after our message we left and just ate when we got back home.
Anyway, it is interesting when we walk around and everyone always says ‘faza!’ which means foreigner! It drives some missionaries here crazy!!! They try to mock us by speaking French which we respond with Malagasy! They just tease a little but aren't mean but, you do have to be careful. Luckily I haven’t found it to be annoying yet but we will see.
Well I love it here in Madagascar so far. We live in apartments and have people above and below us and our apartment is pretty clean. Our beds are in the living room and we have a fridge and hot showers. The ward is great too. The bugs aren’t bad but the mosquitoes are everywhere. We email in these things called cybers which are businesses with five or so computers in them. In the cybers, everything is made out of wood except for the computer.
The language is getting better and better every day. Some members that I have met here are so nice and have such strong testimonies, they are seriously awesome and a few even speak English! We teach English on Wednesday nights. Some lady here can speak 5 languages.
Alright well I've got to get back to the work! Love you guys! I'll get way more pics of the things you guys want to see! I love Madagascar and love being in the service of Heavenly Father. I know that he loves us all more than we can comprehend!
Love Elder Bowen
Showing Ivandry the city Elder Bowen is in!
Elder Bowen and Elder Schroeder from Texas
Little girl who already told Elder Bowen she loves him!
How we travel
Going to a members home
Going to another member's home
Poncho picture….been shopping!
My new friend
Pull out the camera and the kids all line up!
Local soccer game
Picture of the city...Ivandry