Mountains!

Trip Start Aug 15, 2012
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11
16
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Tsara Camp

Flag of Madagascar  , MG.02,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

From March 7 -13, the YAGM Madagascar crew got together for a wonderful adventure in Andringitra National Park. Andringitra is a beautiful Park in central Madagascar filled with mountains and forests.  It is an incredibly peaceful place, and it made me think of Montana.  It was good for the soul.

We started our journey from Antananarivo at 5AM on the 7th.  Six of us and a dog hopped in Austin and Tanya's 4x4 for the 12 hour drive.  We wound our way South through rice paddies, villages, and mountains, stopping only for roadside corn and mangoes.  When we reached the outskirts of the park, we tossed a football around with some local kids while we waited for Kate to arrive on the bus from Tulear.  We didn’t drive into the park until after dark, and we made the long bumpy drive into Tsara Camp, a little site with tent cabins and a restaurant.  The Tsara Camp staff were wonderful.  Since we arrived after dark, we didn’t know what the dawn had in store for us.  As we stepped from our cabins, stone monoliths shot up from the Earth all around us.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as we stood there turning slow circles, taking in the beauty of the massive mountains.  It was a little taste of the states for those of us from the West.  It’s hard to describe just how truly awesome it was to be in that place.  The seclusion and the natural beauty that surrounded us just fed the soul.

The week was filled with playing sardines and cards, multiple day hikes, tasty food, river-side worship, acampfire s’more roast and sing along, sliding down waterfalls and swimming, and lots of processing with each other.  The eight of us have had such different experiences at our sites, and it was great to tell stories and share with each other.   We also just laughed and laughed, which always happens when our group gets together.

When we left on the 13th, we all felt that it was too soon.  I, for one, contemplated just running away into the mountains, but I missed my Ambovombe family.  A consolation for leaving, however, was what happened on the 14th in Tana.  We were lucky enough to have breakfast with the Bishop of the ELCA, Mark Hansen, during his visit to Madagascar with the Executive Director of ELCA Global Missions,  Rafael  Malpica Padilla.  It was a lot of fun, but it was also a great time to talk about the future of YAGM and Global Missions in Madagascar.  Overall, the week was a wonderful time for rejuvenation and conversation.  We have great volunteers here in Madagascar.
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