We are staying in our daughter’s two room house without running water or a flush toilet and sporadic electricity. It is so much fun! When we get up, we draw water from the pump and heat it for tea. Caite decides we need to make “American Pancakes”, since we brought the coveted maple syrup in our suitcase. She runs down the street at a little before 6:00 am and buys a duck egg to use in the batter from a little stand, that she affectionately calls her “7 Eleven”. The pancakes are great and we offer them to our driver, who has camped out in the minivan outside Caite’s front yard. He is very polite, does not have a clue as to what he is eating and would secretly prefer to be eating “mofokary” (rice cakes), the Malagasy version of abelskivers, the round pancakes we make at home.
Without meaning to, we have become an embarrassment to Caite. On our first day, Caite made rice and beans for us to eat and we did not finish the rice. The Malagasy love their rice and eat it at every meal. It was the talk of the neighborhood that Caitlin’s parents could not even eat a “kapouka” (pronounced kapwocka) of rice. A kapouka is that well known universal measure (an empty can of condensed milk). The young Malagasy doctor, who lives next door, politely refrained from telling us directly that her two year old daughter can eat more rice than we can. We are working on it.
It is dusk and we are sitting outside, enjoying the very comfortable winter evening (in the 70’s) when shouts of joy and glee erupt from the children next door. The electricity just came on…the lights are bright, music starts playing and the excited voices of children drift our way. Caite looks forward to the electricity coming on in the evenings so she can read without candle light, (since the sun sets here at 5:45 PM). Oh the simple joys.