We’re relaxing at Manga Guesthouse in Antananarivo, having returned from a visit to a Lemur Park, and having said affectionate farewells to our driver, Jocelyn. Yesterday and today feel like the decompression part of our trip. Our work in Toliara, our engagement with the people there, consciousness of the intense material poverty, and the question marks over whether Air Madagascar would run our internal flight (roughly) as scheduled, are falling behind us. First-world concerns – seat changes (to a row of two with a window) on Air France, contacting our regular taxi service for O’Hare to Northfield – are occupying more of our attention.
We are conscious of a welter of feelings as we prepare to leave Madagascar. We care about the Malagasy people we have got to know. In several cases, we have now seen them in various settings – at home, in Sue’s workshops or the diocesan office and at churches. They have become individuals with circumstances and histories, and we want to know what happens next. So we are sad to leave them, and hope to see them again. We worked hard during our trip (and in Sue’s case for many months beforehand). Sue taught 12-17 ladies, mornings and afternoons for 7 days. My work on the accounts was more time-consuming than I expected, requiring full-length office days. We accomplished everything we had planned, and head homewards with a sense of having achieved something valuable. And lastly – in the interests of full disclosure -- we are feeling pleased with ourselves for having been able to organize large parts of our travels in Madagascar for ourselves, independently of the shepherding by Todd and Patsy that was much needed last year.