This is the beginning of a new day. When tomorrow comes, it will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind… let it be something good.

I have been volunteering at Aina Madagascar teaching English to the children from the  small village of Beravina, a good distance from Antananarivo. I am so amazed with the vision of this organization.  When I began planning my venture around the world, my top priority was to find organizations that were supporting a good cause that I would be able to volunteer at during my stay in each country….and that is how my story with this AMAZING organization began. I started searching the web and up popped Aina’s FaceBook page and website. I liked what I saw and the effort they had put into everything had me intrigued to learn more, and when I wrote to them they were very responsive and excited for me to come and visit, which in turn made me very excited to come and volunteer with them.

Zebu meat, rice, tomato, lasary, avacado and ro mazava. The first of many amazing meals in Beravina prepared by the Aina team. (sakafo tsara means delicious meals in Malagasy) 

It was so surreal the first day that I arrived at the school. To be able to have gone from looking at their photo albums to actually standing in the classrooms, interacting with all of the children that are so eager to learn, teaching them english, playing games with them at recess, tasting all of the DELICIOUS Malagasy food that was prepared by the Aina Madagascar team (they should open a restaurant by the way) sharing stories and experiences and life lessons, the list goes on & on. They team welcomed me with open arms and had many interesting and funny questions about the States. For example, was everyday life more like Forrest Gump or American Pie?, did we really send Neil Armstrong to the moon?, what is the minimum wage in Charlotte, population, etc? They had never had an American come and visit before, which is shocking and sad to me. I have been told this in every country that I have volunteered at so far.

I have picked up many tips and tricks along the way about culture, history, mannerisms, food and language.  Each time I travel to a new country the locals that I meet are usually under the impression that Americans are uniformed about the World that lies beyond the US borders…Unfortunately, I am beginning to think might hold a little truth. Just before I left on my trip, I had many friends and family asking me why I would travel alone?, Wasn’t I scared? What am I going to do when I get kidnapped?…(note, that wasn’t an if I get kidnapped, it was a when) The US media has brainwashed a large percentage of people to think that any place that lies beyond the US borders is dangerous.  I would like to help change that preconceived notion and help educate and inspire everyone about the World around us. Hopefully my videos and stories throughout my blog are showing those of you that are hesitant about travel that  there are still many good-hearted people out there, and soooo many amazing places to see. I want to give you the  chance to look at life in a whole new perspective… possibly inspire you to travel to a new place, because even though there a lot of dangers in this big world, staying at home, living in a bubble will not protect you. Someone could break into your home, kidnap you, steal your purse, etc. etc in your own home town. Don’t deprive yourself from experiencing life. As Mark Frost once said, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming …. WOW what a ride!”
The team had an amazing farewell BBQ for me. Playing traditional Malagasy music, teaching me some new dance moves, and stuffing me with more delicious traditional dishes.

It has been so incredible to work with Aina Madagascar and see how everything is moving forward for them and their plan for the future….I wish them all the best and definitely plan to be back.  If you’re looking for an unforgettable intercultural exchange experience then this wonderful school run by wonderful people is definitely the place to be. It is such a friendly and welcoming environment and the children just make your heart overflow with joy. So if you’d like a little adventure and maybe a different outlook on life I highly suggest that you call Aina Madagascar and get involved with this project.

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