The Haitian proverb ‘Beyond Mountains there are Mountains’ is a fitting description for where we sit today with J2S. My bags are packed and I am ready to take off for Africa to when I get a message from my friend Sasha in Madagascar: ‘Civil Unrest, didn’t think it was possible until today’.
Several conversations later and many hours spent reading about the situation reveals this: Political Tension. The basics are this, the President of Madagascar and the Mayor of the capital city, Antanarivo, are at odds over the shutting down of a radio station. Well the President is not only in power but also in control of many of the local grocery stores and basic necessities. So when the President shuts down a controversial radio station, the Mayor sees this as something other than democracy, he calls for organized protests. The protests had turned violent one day and as you may have seen on CNN or the news, the people have looted and burned the President’s companies/stores and it is reported that 40 people have died with the mass confusion of people. The protests are largely peaceful and the two men are working together towards peace, all signs that Madagascar and the government are evolving and stable.
Also of special note, the city that I plan to work in, Antsiranana, has been at peace and has reported nothing unusal. VERY GOOD NEWS! : )
The situation is getting better as each day passes and expected to improve, however without knowing any of the local languages and as I was expected to meet with people in the cabinet of the president including the minister of health, we as a board made the decision to delay my leaving for Madagascar until Feb 17th. As I was speaking with Sasha, who is in the peace corps and a fellow Boilermaker, she told me that it is clear there is a tremendous amount of good that I can still do in Mg and that if I needed a little inspiration to read a book called ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains.’ The synopsis is that a doctor is in Haiti working to fight Tuberculosis and HIV and each time something clears up, it’s clear there is another problem, or mountain to climb if you will.
What is clear from this vantage point (on top of this mountain) is that there are several mountains that still need to be climbed, especially in third world countries. We ask that you keep a thought, prayer or intention for peace and our mission and the people of Madagascar in your hearts.
In peace, love and service.
-Jay Breitlow and the Journey to Solidarity Team