Tandroy Movie

This movie is talking about the situation in Androy and introducing you to the Tandroy people.

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1. Introducing the Tandroy to Christ through culturally appropriate modes of communication"

Music: Boba of Tsihombe singing a traditional Tandroy beko using the 18 stringed marovany with his wife on pebble filled cans for percussion. 18 sec.

This scene is similar of many weekly markets throughout Androy, this one is at Andrañanivo, 40km NE of Tsihombe by bike farther by motor vehicle. Note open trucks in distance selling dried manioc in gross, these vendors in the foregroud are retailing the same manioc, In another part of this market goats and cattle are being sold to pay for these imported low nutrition staples.

2.The Tandroy a tribe of 1.3 million, pride themselves on never having been conquered. They herd cattle, sheep and goats and/or scratch a tenuous living raising sorghum or corn, beans, squash, manioc and tobacco. The Tandroy lives for eternity, spending his whole life amassing the price of his funeral, over 500x the cost of his earthly dwelling, leaving nothing for his survivors.

Music, a traditional beko by Bolenga Sambeavy, 34 sec.

A Tandroy grave of carved limestone, no mortar used; 10km north of Tsihombe on the Antanimora road. A tomb this size is often for only one man, though his wife(s) may also share his tomb. The cost may be $10,000 and 3 years of rock hauling to fill the interior. Note the horns of cattle butchered to feed the rock haulers, mourners, etc. The cattle and goats are extra.

3.The Tandroy are culturally sensitive, and respond well to being addressed in their tongue and according to their customs. Meetings are conducted in a circle while sitting or squatting on the ground, thus no one is in front, ahead, or above. Women generally sit behind or to the west. Poetry and Tandroy melodies are favorite entertainment.

Music: Sakamasy women's trio: Mangororoke the plea for salvation. 30 sec.

These people are convened on the way to work: opening a market road to Anjampaly from the Faux Cap road. I once carried a mayor to an official meeting with high officials in Ambotry. We crouched down 50 ft ahead of the seated group as we approached and then squatted at the perimeter, I was introduced then begged leave. Afterward the Deputé of the region asked who that "vazaha" was who knew Tandroy etiquette so well. The simplest messages of goodwill are transported through body position and mannerisms not to mention language. Eg. when offered habobo (Malagasy yogurt) one must sit prior to eating it, and never eat it with a hat on).

4. FM Radio airs Scripture and Tandroy Spirituals weekly in Tsihombe, other FM stations are also using spiritual poetry and song from our libraries.

Belindo (Dimby) with a segment of 'Haehae' meaning 'long ago' about the command of God to Adam and Eve, 19,3 sec.

An excerpt from our Tandroy Dictionary definitions are in English and/or official Malagasy. The Dictionary has grown to 6900 root Tandroy words (not counting tenses and verb forms) as well as 350 names of plants and their uses ,especially medicinal. You can see in the excerpt above that this is a working dictionary and not ready for publishing.

5. We will continue to translate the the Word of God into Tandroy.

Music: a continuation of the above segment of 'Haehae' in which Adam and Eve have sinned the long song carries through to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, for Sin and Salvation. 14 sec.

Vonjisoa, a young Catechist from the north-central part of Androy, NE of Sihanamaro which is NE of Ambondro W of Ambovombe. He is skilled in music and in his Tandroy language. He also follows along in our work in the Official Malgasy Bible. Vonjy also writes and leads Tandroy music forms to youth in his congregation.

This pix shows us sharing a small laptop running on its own battery in the morning before the house power goes on. Later with power, we would either so share a larger computer or will each work on a separate one. At other times there may be 5 or 6 assistants.

6. We in Evangelism conduct regular on-going training for evangelists and lay church workers, providing them Scripture and Song in Tandroy. Itinerant evangelists carry the Gospel to the Tandroy in their own language.

Zela composed and leading Ambondro in singing 'Ambarao areo Koahe', a rousing call to evangelize through the fields and forests. 22 sec.

There are both career (salaried) evangelists and tentmakers, those who make a living in other ways. In Tsihombe/Beloha we train the latter, the former are trained quarterly by a Pastor in charge of the Evangelism effort of the church.

In Angoegoe, at the funeral of the mother of one of the career evangelists, Manantsolo Petera, we sat in a small house (12x12ft) around the walls. We Christians who had biked down from the North though two of us had originated 50km south in Tsihombe, from 60km north came Arimana the once itinerant evangelist for all of Androy (now a roaming catechist for all of the Bekitro district.) with Pastor Monja Martin, retired though still serving district pastor, from Ankilevahare 20km north came Tsimanohitse, career evangelist, and others of that most proximate congregation. Pr. Monja handed me the translated order of service for the funeral we'd completed in Tandroy confessing he could not read the Tandroy. At this point Arimana offers the wisdom of years of traveling throughout greater Androy, "How can we presume to offer the Scripture as a unity to all of the dialects of Androy since... (and he progresses to show by example the differences of vocabulary and expression for each major geographic section of Androy.) After some time of his lengthy speech Tsimanohitse politely asks him to let me read it and to stop me on each word that doesn't fit the current context (there were over 1000 Unchurched from the surrounding area to 25 Christian). I began to read the numerous Scripture readings we did for the service and lookup up at Arimana after each. But he only shook his head at each pause. At the end there was a lengthy silence before he regained his composure and with glassy eyes he looked up and said "How could you do it." I explained that with man it's probably impossible, but also the team the Lord had assembled for me contained a tentmaker who had also worked in much of Androy and acted as the arbiter between the young western and eastern catechists who would fight over vocabulary. Remañanatse, the poet arbiter could almost always find the synonym that both could agree to. I also have a growing dictionary on computer that assists us with the vocabulary. Arimana then requested the liturgy and the normal service for all 23 churches on his Bekitro circuit. I sent these from Ambovombe a week later, and received feedback by others that the Tandroy orders are being used in Bekitro area (only not in the city church.)

7. Trained rural church workers carry the Gospel into the villages.

Dety singing 'The (silly) customs of us Church-goers.' 19.5 sec

CW: Fahake, Dety's mom, Sunday School children of Motombosy, Dety the singer composer in their small home. None of the three are formally trained but are trained in our periodic sessions for church workers in Tsihombe/Beloha. They are all involved in Bible teaching to children and adults. We summon pastors and experienced men and women to train at the quarterly training session that alternate between Beloha and Tsihombe districts. The participants walk, some about 100km.

The SPIRIT through Andrialahy, a Bible School student, on his internship started 2 churches near Beloha using his copy of JOHN in Tandroy, the people said, "We've been visited by church people doing 'holy warfare' many times and for years uncountable, but we've never understood what they read from their book. This is the first time we've ever heard the Word of God in our language...Please give it to us. (That was his only copy but they will have the whole NT soon.)

8. Tandroy Spiritual Music is a powerful Evangelistic tool and also animates funeral wakes where hundreds gather to listen.

Belindo singing 'Pare Pare' calling for preparedness in these last days, 35.25 sec

Dimby's Belindo Choir (Irak'i Lañitsey) is belting out the Gospel at the wake for his older brother who was believed poisoned. This choir is the foremost Tandroy Gospel choir in the south and sets the standard for the scores of other church based choirs. Dimby has composed, and trained his choirs in hundreds of Spirituals and about 80 Tandroy spirituals.

It has been relatively recently that the choirs have been encouraged to reach out the lost. Dimby, to put bread on the table for his large family (many adopted) has been mining for precious stones in a mining camp about 30km from his home. On several occasions he has brought his choral group there and sung his animated Tandroy Spirituals attracting the crowds away from the bars and video shops to hear the Gospel in song.

9. FM radio has recently awakened the Tandroy to the world beyond and they crave to know how to read and write both for inter-communication and to preserve their culture. In 2005 we mobilized literacy training for 25,000 people throughout western Androy. Literacy training will continue as the Lord provides the means as 45,000 are currently requesting it of us.

Music: traditional Beko: 'Manao Salama', unknown singer/composer 33.85 sec

Tsiroase finds the Word: Tsihombe/Maroakalo/Sahanogne/Ambarobe: I let the cattle out that morning and began herding the cattle, coming near to the village where Maharetse had lived-now Maharetse, the sole Christian in the village had died and those remaining wanted to burn his Bible, but consulting with a relative in the Beloha area about this he warned them that their village would be damned if they burned that holy book, and be overgrown with Tsingive (a worthless tree)-indicating it would be a ghost town. So instead they ripped the Bible into segments and scattered them afield. I found this part of the book under a tree while herding that morning, its pages fluttering in the wind and was opened to the book of Luke. I picked it up and started reading from Luke 19 [(The story of Zacheus)-Tsiraose begins to read the text, faltering and apparently not understanding all of the vocabulary but sufficient to get the drift] and I knew it to be true and the Word of God and far above the stories of demons, etc.

I said to myself, I'm going to take this book, for it contains something of value. So I brought it home and slept on it, it being under my head as a pillow. But my head began to pound as if pounded by a hammer (ndra nikankagne). So I removed it from under my head and the pounding stopped. Testing, I used it as a pillow again and immediately the heavy pounding in my head began. After that I read the book wherever I went, and hung on to it. It turned my life around, I'm a Christian now.

Q: Who taught you to read? A man by the name of Dazay from the village of Tsiagnafo, Sahanogne, not a teacher just a man who knew books and taught me by scratching letters onto sisal leaves wity a thorn. I studied the book and then went to my aunt's in Bevazoa who is a Catholic and they lead me to the Lord. Recently I returned to Sahanogne and found two Christians in my village of Ambarobe (who had been unbelievers before) so the three of us began worshiping in Nikoly (the Lutheran church 4 hr walk east) and then we guided an old woman here to the Lord and others followed. Soon we figured we had enough people for a congregation so we've completed this Church building.

Tsiraose (translated by SL) Story 2: When the Literacy program got underway in Marovato only 16 people showed up for the first class but many were sitting outside the perimeter. Once the class got underway however, that the outsiders heard that it was being done in pure Tandroy and that apparently even the text book was in Tandroy they all moved in swelling the class to over 100 pupils the first day. We supplied 4 more teachers to split that group into five classes which also each swelled. This happened all over Androy, our number kept growing from an initial 17,000 pupils to 24,900 in several weeks of opening.

10. The Tandroy NT will soon be published, and a group of men and women are already practicing to be taped reading the NT through.

Part of song by Belindo : Holoholo: 'Proclaim, and Gather them in' 16 sec

The inset is the first page of Mathew illustrating layout and format of finished NT. I have challenged the Bible School students in Mahavelo Ambovombe to practice reading the book of Luke already in their library and also available from Pr. Retsiraiky. I'd like to record the reading of the NT from not just one voice but from men and women reading parts that is speaking for the various characters. We hope to have the NT printed this year, and I'll meet with the publishing house on my way through Antananarivo to the South.

11. These NT recordings will be widely distributed by tape or sound chips to village groups.

Music: part of 'Volilio' calling his peers to get off their seats and get out into the paths and byways to proclaim Jesus. 18.6 sec

One program out there will supply free solar powered 'radios' that don't tune to a station but play a chip pre-recorded with the NT in the local language. I have been in communication with them and have indicated that we are seeking the voices to record for that. This program calls for a monthly follow-up of listening groups. We would also add New Testaments for new readers to follow along.

The pix is in a church building in Motombosy, They borrow desks from the local public school for Sunday worship. Traditional Malagasy meetings are outside in a circle, in a shade if any is near. Buildings are a Western phenomenon.

Story: When invited to villages to speak, I'd bring my minidisk player and a bunch of cds to play music through some battery powered pc speakers: this would draw people from the by ways to come and listen in, and then I'd read Scripture in Tandroy to have people react, respond to, correct, etc. In Anaramanitsy, down on the east bank of the Manambovo near the mouth, the congregation of Catholics and Lutherans invited me to come into speak, I opted for the shade outside, Then introduced the time with some traditional Beko music having spiritual lyrics from my friend Beloay west of Tsihombe and the travelers of that main footpath leading north to Tsihombe or south to Talaky Bas (the tomato capital of the south) turned in to hear and we developed a large crowd listening to spiritual Tandroy music and Scripture. When we concluded I asked those who'd invited me how many they thought of those who were traveling by would have come into the church building, they agreed: 'none.'

An outside meeting can also be moved: In Behasy, an unchurched village, as soon as they heard the Beko music coming from the speakers they asked that we move up the witchdoctor's house. He was inside totally crippled up by evil spirits. This is common of all those who are occult workers. But after 3 hours of Scripture studies, (language for me) interspersed with over 100 Tandroy Spirituals, the old ombiasa (witchdoctor) who in the meantime had squirmed over to his door to participate, addressed me/us saying he'd heard the Word of God and was prepared to invite that Word to his village and would provide any land as needed for it's establishment. He'd seen 'churches' but none had ever come to him. Behasy has some Christians now but needs more work.

12. Church choirs, who all once sang western melodies in northern language are now producing music of Tandroy melodies and lyrics. The pix is not of a Christian group but portrays the type of dance this song by Belindo is made to accompany;

'Salaleo' is an invitation to dance in praise of the Salvation Christ has offered. 34.2 sec

The church youth convene at various synod wide festivals in Androy in which there are always dozens of choral groups taking turns singing into the night. In Beloha 2002 we set rules for all choral groups singing in our Evangelism Festival every July: that songs be composed directed to the unchurched, and that these songs be in local language and in appropriate music styles.

13. The two greatest challenges to the distribution of Tandroy Scriptures are the cost of publishing the books, and the complacency of Christians who have forgotten their mother tongue.

The Sakamasy Female Trio has composed and is singing a sabo of praise for the salvation that Christ has wrought the songs imagery is of a crowd in unison raising their spears or staves dancing in praise. 28.5 sec

I might have added that a large portion of Androy still cannot read or write. We have trained 25,000 and that is certainly more than the Bibles we can print, but there are more people in more areas that are still earnestly seeking (45,000 requests now in our files).

Story: While designing the literacy project in 2005 I visited the couple who had lead a similar program before in Amborompotsy, a commune center in Ampanihy (a commune in Ampanihy made up of Tandroy) and I asked the two if they'd be interested in leading up another literacy program in their commune. She replied, 'No way!' it takes too much work to keep them in class there just isn't the interest, and after 9 months of 4 hour days the brightest students still can't write to their kin. Said one woman student after 9 months: 'I still can't write to my son in Safire country, 'O anake,mba añitrifo bodafotsy raho fa manintsiñe.' This because the official Malagasy in which they were taught doesn't have the phonogram: 'ñ' I asked the question a different way: 'If we were to train in the Tandroy language would you be interested.' The answer changed immediately to 'Count us the first In, we'd love to do it in Tandroy.' And so they did.

14. Christians holding up the Tandroy in Prayer to the Mercy Seat of Almighty God is the most powerful way to team with us. The Lord will direct how else to help.

Music: A larger segment of Belindo's 'Volilio' which calls His servants to take account, not of themselves but of all their brothers and sisters out there who are yet in the hold of 'the 9th' (the whole realm of Evil.) 67 sec