First and foremost we are well and our house is strong. We have some leaks but that is minor when compared to what surrounds us. God is awesome despite any inconvenience we may face. We do not want our situation to bear weight on our desire to stay on task as His witness at the end of the earth. Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for the Tanala of the rainforest in their desperate need for the gospel.
On Thursday, March 1 Tim helped the power company clear this tree off the power line. It took his chainsaw and Lotties truck and winch to finish the work.
This is the pass that is now clear of that tree. It was about two feet in diameter and took several hours to clear.
This is one example of many in our town demonstrating the work that must be done to restore power to our town. The power lines are still laying in the road today and no work is being done in town to fix the power poles or lines.
Here is another example of the power situation in Ifanadiana. The lines lay in the road and people set up their market wares for sale on top of the power lines.
We woke up Saturday, March 3 to discover that the heavy rains caused landslides throughout the entire region. This rather small landslide block us from reaching the town. This landslide is about 100 meters from our house and blocks the only mud road for us to get to town. Tim and five others spent Saturday afternoon clearing the mud.
They cleared the mud with an odd technique, damming the mud and making it into soup. Then they used a plank of wood to cause multiple mini-landslides to clear the soup off the roadway. The road is now passable to town; however, this spot and two others have the potential to block our access to the town with another heavy rain.
In other areas near the rivers people have lost their homes due to flooding. This home for ten people was washed out during Friday night’s rains. In other locations the house was completely washed away with no evidence remaining suggesting a home existed before. This is a clear example of Tanala-style home. It is built raised off the ground about one foot and built out of wood, mud, and palm leaves.
It is very difficult to see the power lines in this photo. The line is on the right of the palm trees descending into the mud and river. This section of line carries the power from Kelilalina to Ifanadiana. The line stretches over four hundred meters of river and is lost in the flood waters. We do not anticipate power to be restored for at least three weeks due to the terrain, roads, and continued rains.
We can drive past this washout today. This washout is between Kelilalina and Ifanadiana, about 1.5 Km outside of IFD. The river is still washing out the bedrock and sand underneath. This section will continue to washout if it is not maintained soon. The maintenance on this section cannot begin until the next washout is repaired.
The military will not allow us to drive past this washout. It is much bigger than the first and the river continues to washout the rock and sand below. This section cannot be maintained until the break in the road near Kelilalina is repaired. With so many breaks and washouts between Kelilalina and Ifanadiana and with multiple breaks in the power line lost in the river and then breaks in town we do not anticipate any power for at least three weeks but will not be surprised if it is longer.
We are well and have received Mirana, our friend and language teacher, into our home because she has lost hers. The flood entered the bottom of her house and damaged the foundation. Once Tim cleared the landslide near our house he helped Mirana evacuate her house. She is safe with us at our house now and will stay as long as needed.
The power situation looks grim. Given the lack of infrastructure in this country, the corruption within Jirama, the country’s only power company (Monopoly anyone?), and the countless broken sections between Ifanadiana and Kelilalina (only a 15Km stretch of road) we do not expect power to come back anytime soon. The cell tower works today, but Tim predicts the cell company will not keep feeding the generator diesel at their expense. If the cell tower is no longer lucrative, the cell company will likely pull the plug on the tower. If the tower goes down, Tim is a licensed Amateur Radio Operator here in Madagascar. His call is 5R8Z. He can access an reserve email account for a situation like this using his radio. It does not provide internet, only a text-based email communication system.
We already are trying to move out of “survival” mode into “ministry” mode again. There are countless around us who are displaced due to loss of homes and rice fields. One family slept in the SOFASPAN garage last night because they have no home. We are hearing reports from surrounding villages of death and loss due to the flooding. Today we worshiped at our house with Vololona, (big) Anjara, Mirana, and Gasy’s family. After worship we bought rice for distribution to the homeless.
The river washed through her house Friday night. She escaped with the clothes on her back. After the waters receded, she learned that most of her possessions were washed away and her banana trees and rice fields are barren. We gave her rice today, but it is not enough to sustain her. She is only one example of likely hundreds who have lost everything in the floods. Mirana shared the gospel with her and has been invited to come back. Mamabe was shocked to learn that even though Mirana just lost her house she is out giving to others.
The rice we gave today was only help on small scale. We could not put a dent in the need around us if we tried. The infrastructure within the country cannot care for its own people and has had plenty of help from the west to remain in this horrible state of dependence on foreign aid. The clearest example of this dependency is US Aid funds used to build R45, the road here in the rainforest. As we help others around us, we not only want to meet a physical and spiritual need, but also help them become self-sufficient in their lives.
- First, praise Him because He is worthy of our praise!
- that we stay healthy as access to “real” medical care is more limited than usual.
- that our family have unity to reach out to others around us
- that He use us as hands to help those in physical need and He use us as witnesses to those in spiritual need.
thanks for your prayers and we will update as the cell tower stays online.