Madagaskar: The week 21 August 2022


My arrival in Paris was bittersweet. I had to say goodbye to the Schock family in Schorndorf after two of the most memorable weeks of my life. It deserves its own blog post.

I don’t know what it is with me and trains in Europe, but I seem to attract misadventure. I was so happy after I finally figured out the subway trains and got myself and my 20kg back pack and suitcase on the train. At the first stop, the train did not move for quite some time and then we were told that there was a medical emergency. All passengers were then ordered off the train and after another 30 minutes we were asked to leave the station, because the paramedics had arrived and apparently a woman has had a heart attack on the train. Then I started to panic as I had no clue what to do next. Fortunately another lady from the countryside literally took me by the hand and said that all we could do, was walk back to the previous station. Which we did, with the result that I concluded at the end of that exhausting semi-run that I am definitely not made for a backpack. To make a long story short, I managed to find my accommodation and when you read that the foyer and stairs of French apartments look like something from the last century, believe it. I don’t know how I managed it up two flights of uneven, narrrow, wooden stairs and to add to my misery, in darkness. I was incredibly blessed when I was shown my lovely, bright room and literally collapsed on the comfortable bed.

Serious sightseeing starts tomorrow. I have been exploring Montrouge which is a suburb of Paris. I came across a Malagasy wedding at the “mairie” or city hall. I started talking to some of the guests in Malagasy and the astounded look on their faces, was precious. The older man called his granddaughter and told her that she could not even speak Malagasy and there I was, a foreigner who did. I did feel sorry for the poor girl as she could not understand the fuss, as she was born in France.

I attended a local church this morning. It was an Assemblies of God group and I felt very welcome and was also asked to introduce myself. This congregation has a big project in Antananarivo and could not believe that I was actually from Madagascar. The preaching was Bible based and from Matthew 3:1-6 about how God used John the Baptist whose exterieur offered nothing, but who had a voice to proclaim a powerful message.

I love the French culture of buying fresh every day, it reminds me of Nosy Be; the greengrocer, the butcher, the cheese shop (wish we had affordable cheese like that though) and don’t forget the bakery. The French and their love of bread! I passed a particular bakery a couple of times through the day and it had a queue right until closing time. So this morning after church, a woman approached me looking rather frantic. She asked me if I had seen an open bakery. I shook my head feeling sorry for the dear woman who could not find her daily ‘baguette’ and went off mumbling about the disgrace of most bakeries being closed on Sundays.

Queuing for your daily bread

I have five more days before flying back on Friday. I do look forward to return home. Please continue to pray for Driesthis coming week as he will have to work even harder as time before re-opening is short.

Have a great week!