Safe arrival of our Mercy Medical Team to Madagascar occurred in the early morning hours. After a safe journey and collecting all the checked bags of supplies, we had a short, restful night at the guesthouse on the compound of the Lutheran Church of Malagasy in Antananarivo. After a homemade breakfast, we loaded up the van and traveled by ground 160 kilometers to the town of Antsirabe. The four hour drive offered beautiful views of the Madagascar landscape of rolling hills, rice paddies, and flowing rivers. The cyclone damage is not noticeable in this part of the country, but the rivers are roaring with the additional water. Farm work is completed by hand with hoe, pick, and ax. Crops of corn, wheat, and rice were prevalent. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also grown. The red dirt is used to make handmade bricks. The countryside, road scenery, and small towns along the route provided a great introduction to Madagascar.
We arrived at the Lutheran Hospital of Antsirabe midday and were greeted with an elegant lunch of zebu, chow mein, rice, and potatoes at the guesthouse. Following lunch we unpacked and sorted all of the donated supplies from the United States. For a team of five, we collected many items that will be useful this week.