Tag: Madagascar

Feb 26 2009

‘That was a giant and powerful cyclone for us’

Morondava Subproject Coordinator Roger Ralohotsy sent CFCA his eyewitness description of the cyclone that hit Morondava in mid-January.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, the rain began to pour but it did not last for long time. It drizzled all day. The next day, the heavy rain began to hit this region. The weatherman reported that there is a type of ìIntertropical Convergence Zoneî at the Mozambique Channel. It lasted all day and night. The next day on Jan. 19, the rains gained force, and the roads and the low areas flooded. The buses and the cars in town could not use the main street completely because it was covered by the water. It was hard to walk around: market and sidewalks did not exist anymore because of the water level.

In the middle of the morning, the radio warned the population in this region of Morondava that the bad weather had become a tropical cyclone. At first, the size of that cyclone was about 400 kilometers wide and the wind speed was nearly 150 ñ 200 kilometers per hour. The size of its eye was 30 km wide. That was a giant and powerful cyclone for us.

On the morning of Jan. 20, the cyclone began to move northeast, directly toward Morondava. The wind began to blow and became more and more intense. The radio kept passing on warnings and the different precautions to be taken when the cyclone hit the town. The wind and the rain continued all day.

Later that night, around 11 p.m. everyone could feel the force of the wind. The rain sounded like it was over. Maybe because of the power of the wind, the rain could not hit the ground or the peopleís roofs. At 2 a.m., we could feel from the inside of the house that the wind wiped out everything. The coconut trees cracked, the tin roofs were flying like sheets of paper. All the leaves on the trees were grinded by the wind.

The next morning at 5 a.m. we prepared to go out but there was no way because the wind was so powerful. All the branches which pointed to the opposite direction of the wind were either cut down or twisted. The wind died down at 9 a.m. on Jan. 21.

We started to visit the neighborhood, and there was chaos in general. It is hard to say or give you an exact number, but around 80 percent of the houses had their roofs blown off. The coconut trees fell down. They are actually strong trees but could not resist the force of the wind. Thankfully, they did not fall on peopleís houses. Also, when we discussed with families and friends, we found that no one was hurt.

Damage to the houses and the other infrastructures was serious. I would say about three days after the cyclone, running water returned. As for the electricity, that was different story since there were thousands of meters of wire to be fixed. Many poles fell down or were cut in half. These all had to be replaced.

CFCA is working with the Antsirabe project team and will be providing funding to assist the sponsored families with housing repairs and other critical needs.

Read about CFCA’s Disaster Assistance Fund that helps meet emergency and long-term needs of sponsored members affected by natural disasters.

Dec 31 2008

Ringing in the New Year in the CFCA community

By the CFCA Prayer Team

As we give thanks for the old year and look with anticipation to the new one, let us walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world throughout the day. We have listed below the time it will be here in the United States when the New Year arrives at each of our projects. We encourage you to say a quick prayer for each of the projects as your day progresses.

CountryPacificMountainCentralEastern
Philippines8:00 a.m.9:00 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.
India and Sri Lanka10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.1:30 p.m.
Tanzania, Uganda,
Madagascar, Kenya
1:00 p.m.2:00 p.m.3:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.
Nigeria3:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.
Liberia4:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.
Brazil6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.
Chile7:00 p.m.8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.
Bolivia, Dominican Republic8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.
Venezuela8:30 p.m.9:30 p.m.10:30 p.m.11:30 p.m.
Colombia, Ecuador,
Haiti, Jamaica, Peru
9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.12:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)
Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, Nicaragua
10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.12:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)
1:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)


Please pray:

Gracious God, I pray for my sisters and brothers in ______. May the New Year bring them hope, joy and peace.

And from all of us at CFCA, we pray the New Year also brings you hope, joy and peace!

Receive CFCA’s weekly Prayer Partners e-mail.

Dec 24 2008

Christmas in Madagascar

The following entry was contributed by the Antsirabe, Madagascar, project. Unbound serves more than 700 children, youth and the aging in Madagascar.

madagascar_christmas

Once, a little child in the countryside was asked, “What is Christmas all about?” The answer was, “Christmas is when we receive little rice cakes in church.”

The child remembered something important about Christmas: the gift of a couple of rice cakes in church. And this happens only on Christmas.

Christmastime is very much a time when families get together, visit each other or go to church together. Food will usually be better than the everyday meal. If they can afford it, parents will buy and prepare chicken or pork as a special meal.

Whoever can will dress in a smart, perhaps even new outfit. Since December is one of the hottest months of the year, women and girls will wear very pretty summer dresses in church.

As in most countries, people like to give each other Christmas gifts. Within families, parents like to give new clothes to their children. Poorer families, however, may not be able to afford buying gifts, so they make do without. Christmas is a time of doing good for others as well.

For many people in Madagascar, Christmas is celebrated over a long period of time, spreading out over several months. It will usually start in the month of December with typical Christmas songs being sung in most churches.

Choirs and youth groups will meet on certain afternoons for practicing Christmas songs, so they will be able to perform well on Christmas Day or at another time. There are translated Western Christmas songs, but also many songs Malagasy people have written.

Many people write their own poems which will be presented at Christmas, on a special afternoon or on an additional Sunday for their specific group. Thus it is possible that each group in a church will celebrate Christmas on a given Sunday, presenting songs, sketches or Bible verses they learned by heart.

You can easily have Christmas celebrations all the way from December through to March. One church could easily have 20 Christmas celebration services, and everyone is welcome to come and enjoy.

Another custom is the walking around the Christmas tree. If possible, a pine tree will be erected in the front area of the church so that all the people can see it. Colorful ribbons or other decorations, small electric lights and cut-out pictures will give the tree a beautiful appearance.

On Christmas Day, each church group (women, men, choir, young people, Sunday school or children) will come to the front, singing and walking around the tree. Never mind that it takes a very long time. All the other people in church enjoy the songs, the live presentations of the others.

For those who need to stretch their legs or to buy some snacks outside, it is common practice to do so. Therefore, a Christmas service can last the whole morning, up to four or five hours.

Then in the afternoon, more singing and group presentations will continue. It is a local church event where everybody tries to attend or even take part.

Sep 24 2008

Notes from the Field #3 – Madagascar

Cephas Miningou, financial auditor for the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging’s Africa region, talks about a family who lost their home in a fire and the meaning of the CFCA “Community of Compassion.”

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