Funeral

Funeral today. Pastor, 43, had been sick – diabetes, tumor, but was not expected to die just yet. So I got to participate in a classic Malagasy funeral rather than whatever today. Had an offer for the beach, too. I came over to the church. They used to old church rather than the new one.

The body was laid out, classic fashion, covered with a while cloth. The jaw was tied up to the face with a white cloth. On the right side, the women were sitting on sihis (didn't realize I did not know how to spell that word until just now!), on the left men sat on the bench. Later all the men moved outside. They moved benches outside, and the men sat together and talked, or just sat.

I was called away for breakfast, and then later for lunch with the President and his wife. I thanked them for coming to my house for dinner. On return I met the pastor's mother on the church steps, and put my arm around her. Men come and go as business requires but they sit here with the family. I saw the man preparing the coffin, he was straightening the nails! By evening, they had made most of the coffin. They women prepare rice and greens for everyone under a tree apart from the men. At nite the men were chopping up a steer, I was told that Malagasy fomba is that only men can chop up the cow meat; but I gather that it is all right for the women to cook it. Everyone (men) eat together, 2 or 3 from the same big bowl.

I left for supper and then got ready to go. Still had a couple of students come by and discuss “Logos” in John. I think the real reason to come by was to talk English, and for the opportunity to talk to an American. I am the first American to visit the church in Morondava, as it was a Norwegian mission field.