Survey progress and wedding bells

Wow, what a week! This week was my first full week of survey work. I went to a local print shop (consisting of one working copier), and had 120 copies made of my survey. (It took three hours to print, sort, and staple them) But I’m ready to work now. As of today, I have 57 surveys done, roughly one third of what I need in Tana. I’m getting about 10 done a day depending on how much time I’m able to spend in the area, so I should be done here in a couple weeks at most. Then I’ll take a quick vacation in the south and head to the east coast to continue my survey in Tamatave. I’m excited to see the numbers when I get all my surveys processed. Preliminary analysis indicates that my hypothesis is correct, that is, that ethnic bias is no longer a significant influence in politics. But the sample size is still way too small to take anything for granted.

Saturday, I took the day off to attend the wedding of a girl I baptized shortly after I first arrived in 2003. It was a riot. The government here doesn’t recognize any religious or traditional ceremony as legally binding so most people do three weddings: the traditional one called a vodiondry (butt of a goat) where the groom gives money to the bride’s father and the two exchange standard oratory, the legal ceremony, and a religious one. I had the privilege of attending not only the church service, but the legal ceremony, as well as the catered after-party. The legal ceremony only lasted about 15 minutes once we finally got in. There were so many weddings going on though that ours was an hour later than scheduled. We then went straight to the church for a more or less typical church wedding with vows, music, and speeches. The party was the best part though. I ended up seated with her brothers and some other close relatives, which made me feel like part of the family. It was really quite an honor. Over 200 guests were served a four-course meal on fancy dishes at a venue with an incredible view of the entire southwest side of the capital. There was a huge wedding cake, karaoke, dancing, and, of course, hundreds if not thousands of pictures. I mostly hung out with her brothers, which was fun. The older one is about my age and the younger one only a few years behind. We had a great time and later went out for brochettes and listened to some music before finally going home.

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~ by Abraham on 6 June 2011.

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