Every week, I send out a letter to my missionaries with all the newsy tidbits of the family. Then I send another very short email with the question of the week. That way they don't get inundated by having to remember all the things I've asked in the middle of the regular letter. My questions for the last few weeks have been about how the people live. I've found out - again - how simply people live when they are poor. Here are descriptions of at-home life in Madagascar:
Usually there's one room (to the house). And it might have a bed, maybe two, some reed mats you can sit on, and maybe a little chair or bench. Then there's usually a table that they keep there stuff on and sacks full of their clothes underneath. Sometimes they store their clothes under the bed.
They usually cook on a charcoal stove outside. Only very rich people (like our branch president) have ovens or gas stoves even. The missionaries usually have gas stoves. But we ran out of gas three weeks ago and Fort Dauphin does not have any at all... So we're still waiting for it to come from Tana. But since most people only have one room houses, there aren't really kitchens. They'll just have a cutting board maybe and then two or three pots and one little charcoal stove that fits one pot. So cooking happens outside, unless it's raining, then you just have a smoky house. Don't worry about us not having gas, I've been eating dry ramen every day.
(For games) there's kinety which is a marble game, then there's kinety be which is bocce ball with metal balls. Then there's soccer with balls made from trash bags tied together, some games with bottle caps, and some toy trucks made from from garbage scraps. Those are the biggest ones.
Wow. I have an awful lot to be thankful for!
You can read more about how the boys are doing in South Africa and Madagascar on their blogs.