It’s pretty crazy out here and in a way has changed how I feel about things.. I was really excited to go somewhere uncomfortable, and I guess Madagascar is that place. We returned from a small village up river from Maroatsetra (home base) this morning and I’ve never seen so many kids excited about the smallest things. The house we were staying at had a makeshift grocery store in the front so one of the research assistants and I bought all the candy in the store and started throwing it out to the kids as a gift. I told Dolph to tell all the kids to get their friends and come back because we had a gift for all of them and when they come back to tell the kids that we have a gift for them. WE have a gift because God loves us. He loves me and I want to show that love to you. Then I asked Dolph to ask the kids if I could pray for them that they would grow strong and feel God’s love. They all agreed and all ate candy running around dancing and flipping. It’s about 300 Ariary for each peace of candy, something none of these kids can afford, but is the equivalent of about 25 cents. So it’s a small sum to feed a village, hah! I’ve never seen so many kids freak out over vanilla thins and sugared nuts! After that, Dolph, the field assistant I was with went out to the forest to collect plant samples and about 15 kids followed us into the forest and wanted to help collect the samples.
It was awesome – these kids were minions ready for any command, hah. Not to romanticize things too much, but it reminded me of Lord of the Flies, except the kids weren’t quarreling over each other. They we’re so happy to be around us. It was like a nuclear reactor was about to go off in their chests!.. hah.. Ok, basically I’m saying I didn’t expect kids to be so entertaining or for something as simple as giving kids a crummy version of candy. They loved us – at least for the day and were our loyal little helpers. : )