- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: October 25 2014 October 25 2014
We awoke to the sound of lemurs outside our bungalow this morning! They were talking and making all sorts of noise. Someone compared their sounds to that of a full balloon when you hold the opening and let the air squeak out. That was the best description I heard. Such a unique sound!
Breakfast was in the hotel restaurant, and then we drove to the lemur park that is near the hotel here in the rainforest. Lemurs are animals that are endemic to Madagascar. They are found naturally in the rainforest but are often shy and challenging to see and spot. This lemur park has been created so that all of us visitors can see and interact with the lemurs. The park is actually on a small little island so that the lemurs cannot get off. The guides take you across a small stream by canoe to the island, and then you are up close and personal with the lemurs. They are quite friendly and are not afraid to jump on you and be your friend. For picture opportunities and better viewing, the guides will give you pieces of banana to feed to them. I will tell you that I am a lemur magnet! They spent a good deal of time on me. The black and white lemurs are quite soft while the brown ones have rougher fur. Such a neat experience to be able to see the lemurs!
The next stop was at a crocodile park. The best part of this adventure is that we were able to stroll through the rainforest and see all of the lush vegetation. We also viewed many crocodiles. I believe there are 43 crocodiles in the park.
Before beginning our journey back to the capital city of Antananarivo, we cleaned up and packed up at the bungalows. Then we began the scenic drive back through the rainforest. The views are just breathtaking! And it was excellent to view the scenery during the daylight hours, since a good part of the drive last night was in the dark. We stopped for lunch at a great little restaurant along the way, where we had delicious plates of food and ice cream for dessert. The ice cream was served in cones that actually were designed for two scoops side by side. I have never seen such a thing!
There was one more stop in the rainforest on the way back. We stopped by a nature area where we were able to view chameleons and geckos. Chameleons are really neat to see! They blend in so well with the trees, and it is super neat to see them change colors while they move across branches. We saw one chameleon eat, and he had the longest tongue that just swooped out to pick up a cricket. Amazing! The geckos were neat too. I did not realize that they also change colors. Very neat to observe.
We made it back to Antananarivo around 7:00 PM and sat in horrific traffic for a very long time. This is a city of like 1.5 million people, and there are no traffic lights or stop signs. There are large roundabouts that are just pure chaos. Sometimes there are police directing traffic, but I am not sure they are super useful. In among the traffic you'll find children begging for money from the vans, people selling items, people pulling carts on foot and lots and lots of traffic. It is insanity. We stopped at La Gastronomie Pizza for dinner. I think it is the major “fast food” place in the capital. It is very clean, nice and has good food. We all had Madagascar pizza. Then we caravanned over to the hotel, only to discover that a flight had been canceled earlier in the day, and, despite Domonia confirming the reservation that morning, the hotel had given away seven of our rooms. Amazingly, we found rooms at another hotel where we could spend our last night here in Madagascar. Mission trips make you flexible!
What a great day to spend in this amazing country! And it is so excellent for Dr. Harison and Domonia to take the time to show us a different part of their country prior to our departure back to the United States.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself”, active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?