I have absolutely no idea what just happened. One minute I’m studying in my room and writing in my journal, the next, one of my host sisters is knocking on my door telling me I’m going to Lance’s to study. Lance lives in the house directly behind me, so I tend to see him a lot; we had language class together for two weeks before I got moved to a more advanced group. Normally, after coming home from the technical trainings at the Commune, I’ll spend an hour going over notes from the day in my room and then go downstairs to sit with my host family around the kitchen fire before dinner is ready at 7p. Never in the past three weeks have I left the house. Here, the unsaid rule is once the sun goes down, you stay in your houses. The reasons are numerous. That’s when the mosquitos start coming out, the drunks make their way to our villages’ bar, and possibly the “mpamosavy” (witches)–if the village even ‘has’ any come out to perform their rituals.
So I thought it was a little weird that at 615, when it’s pitch black outside, my family is having me walk to Lance’s house (literally 20 feet) to mianatra, but I just went with it.
Long story short, turns out that Lance and his mom had no idea what was going on when I arrived and I ended up having dinner by candlelight with just Lance (we both don’t have electricity). No mianatra-ing, just dinner. I tried to tell Lance’s mom I was confused by saying ‘menatra aho‘ thinking menatra was the word for confused, which btw is not, and she kept saying tsy menatra ianao, namanas, “don’t be shy/bashful, friends.” Yes menatra was in my dictionary under confused but I didn’t find out until later that it actually means bashful/shy/embarressed. My 17 yr old sister and 20 yr old brother explained to me later in my special Malagasy that I could understand that I was saying I was shy because I liked Lance. **hand to forehead.
And no matter how much I tried to explain that I meant tsy mazava, I don’t understand, I don’t understand what that was all about, all I got was ‘oh okay *wink wink*.’