Never and I mean never trust a guy who says he knows a shortcut home through the rice fields when you have only lived in this town for three weeks. Never!
To me, Saint Patty’s Day was a day to come and go without notice. However, I’m in Madagascar now; things are different. I don’t have electricity or running water, I fetch my water from a spring 200 meters away, my stove is a fire, and vary is the main food I eat. So, anything American sounds and is appeasing.
These last few weeks have been stressful in the fact that 29 of us have been thrown into a culture we don’t know and are rapidly trying to learn a langauge where EVERY verb starts with an ‘m’. We’re in language, culture, and technical classes from 8a to 5p M-F and have projects, assignments, and essays due frequently. So Saint Patty’s Day, an American fety was a day to relax and blow off some steam.
Hotel L’Ermitage has become like a second home on weekends. It’s what we volunteers call an escape from the constant language lessons at school or at home. Like any other Stage, our group has become very close and we look forward to the times when we can spend time with each other, all judgements placed aside.
It takes roughly forty five minutes to get back to Mantasoa from the Hotel, and a few of us told our host family we would be back at 6, so we headed out at 5. However, along the way, Lance asked us if we wanted to take the scenic shortcut through the rice fields.
“I take it with my brother all the time,” he said.
So we decided why not? Wrong decision. Lance didn’t know the way, and it turned into a maze of narrow walkways between the rice fields and no idea how to get out. There was jumping from pathway to pathway over the water in between each field, and you may have already guessed it, but yours truly fell right into the muddy rice field. It was karma. I was too busy making fun of Sarah trying to jump across the water to realize I myself was standing on the edge of the path.
We spent 30 minutes in the rice fields. 30 minutes trying to find our way out. It would have taken us 10 minutes to just walk the lalana around the fields. But we wanted an adventure, and an adventure we got.
My host mom was not very pleased that I came home covered from head to toe in mud. I wouldn’t have been either. All I could say was azafady, azafady over and over again as I rinsed off my feet and scrubbed my Chacos, now covered in dry fotaka (mud).
Until my next crazy story….