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A girlfriend and I caught up on the ship this week for a “cuppa” – she’s American and loves it when I ask her to catch up over a “cuppa”! Her first question for me was “How is your heart?” What a loaded question!

It made me smile.

My heart was full and happy.

We have been back in Madagascar for almost three weeks (feels like months, just because so much happens and days often feel like weeks), patients are filling up the hospital and there is an unmistakable energy in the place. I feel it out on the streets too. People are happy to welcome us back with a hearty Malagasy welcome of “Tonga Soa.”

The girls have settled nicely back into school and are really happy. Which makes me happy and allows me to get on with what I need to do around here.

Today, one of my jobs was to get off the ship and go to the Mercy Ships HOPE centre (Hospital Outpatient Extension Centre) at the local hospital, to take some photos. We called into Alliance Française on the way to organise French and Malagasy lessons. I had two colleagues with me and when we got everything we needed to get done with a half hour to spare before our next appointment, I jokingly suggested coffee. Now popping in for a coffee somewhere is possible but just not like it is back home. I had just the place in mind. A little Malagasy restaurant that keeps odd hours but I heard was good and very “local”.

We found it, managed to order two crepes and soup and one coffee, with a combination of French, Malagasy and English, and then got to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

It was a fun experience and a great morning treat that cost us all of about 80 cents US!

Getting out and about in town, as crazy as it can be sometimes, is great and so worthwhile.  Getting to interact with the locals and have them laugh along with my Malagasy words and phrases generally has us all laughing out loud. With what little I do know of the language, people are always so appreciative that you try to speak to them and almost always repeat exactly what I have just said to them, back to me and then tell me “you ARE Malagasy” or “you speak Malagasy”. I’m quick to tell them that I speak just a little and there is more laughter. It is all great fun!

Heart-happy indeed 🙂



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3 Responses to Blog: Out and About in Toamasina

  1. janakamom says:

    I love reading your blogs and hearing your adventures! The photos help, of course, to visualize what you’re talking about. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Jan 🙂 <

  2. Liz Propst says:

    So special…..thanks for your serving the Malagasy! LOVE

  3. Deanna Emmert says:


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