Our area is rich in many respects: there is an abundance of rice, fruit, coffee and sugarcane. Most people have chickens, while the rich own cattle. Local stores sell basic food items such as beans, peanuts and dried fish. Despite low wages (Eur 0,74 a day) our neighbours have enough … until sickness arrives.
Treatment by a local GP costs anywhere between 5 and 8 days’ wages, whereas treatment in hospital – over 2 hours’ drive away – costs several months’ wages. Our neighbours often know where to find us when the dark days come. Letena came to us this last December. His wife urgently needed a caesarian in hospital, but he did not have any funds. If no help came he would lose his baby and his wife – also mother of his son.
We helped Letena with a gift and a loan. The same day his wife was transported to hospital where a healthy daughter was born. Now, over half a year later, both mother and child are faring well. The child received the name ‘Fandriana soa nomenan’Andriamanitra’, which means ‘The Creator gave a good bed’.
Meanwhile business has picked up for Letena: sofar he has been able to pay back over half of his debt to us. By giving money to pay towards medical expenses we help save lives; by giving credit our neighbours retain their pride and dignity as they show the ability to provide for their families. Giving and lending is also culturally appropriate: borrowing and lending are a normal part of interdependency in relationships.
On behalf of Letena and many other neighbours: a warm thank you to everyone who has helped us to live and give in this place!
The motorbike is a blessing! It saves so much time in travelling. Now, Jurgen is able to visit not one but two or three villages per day. Also the villages that are far away or hard to reach. As long as there is a doable path, Jurgen can travel on it.
The children love to come along as well. They scream and laugh whilst bouncing up and down on the bad road. In the villages they like to listen to the stories and they love the Malagasy hospitality. The Malagasy are amazed that they are able to hold on… That motorbike goes so fast!
Jurgen hopes to travel to Vatohanitra soon. Vatohanitra is the next community from our place. The purpose of this visit is to meet up with a new pastor, Stanis, who came to live their just two months ago. We hope we can work together. If that works out we can leave the care of some villages near Vatohanitra to him and his church. The pastor does not speak the dialect yet so we have to be patient. The first meeting, two months ago, went well. He was very enthusiastic about all the work that has already started.
We (Menja and Jurgen) have been working hard the last 1.5 year! The very first story set in the Tanala language is ready to be used.
Our friends, Doris and Alphossin, gladly received the first set. Both go to several villages on regular base. They try to motivate the young Christians to come with them to learn the ‘trait’. Many of them mostly speak and understand the Tanala dialect. With these stories they to can reach out to their own people and tell them about the wonderful news of the Gospel. In due time, when internet speed allows it, we will upload the stories together with the audio files. This way others can use them as well.