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December 21, 2013

Faizana: Knowledge

I’ve been struggling with what to write in this post. My “homecoming” post. I think in many ways it can be summed up in that word, faiazana, or loosely translated, knowledge. I didn’t blog enough about the Malagasy language while I was there. So here is a catch up on it. The most complex word for me to understand was aina, the root of which is simpy ayAina is breath, spirit, body, and soul. They are all shades of the same thing in many different ways. And to Malagasy people they lie at the root of being. One word for so many life giving things. It’s beautiful and reasonable at a very deep theological level.

A large part of the reason why I came home early was because I felt I had lost my aina, my breath, my spirit, my soul, my body. I felt them all melting slowly away. I return with much more faizana, knowledge, then I ever thought possible. Ironically, a lot of this was earned at the expense of my aina. Yes, this is as complex as it seems. Because they are in many ways one and the same. In a way they are like Yin and Yang, there is a difficult balance to be struck between the two.

Fast forward to now: I went running this morning, and in the glow of the halogen lights, with inches of new snow dumping into the tops of my socks and the back of my sneakers I felt for the first time in months that I had my breath, my soul. my body back. I felt real and alive. All of this in spite of the knowledge I’ve recently gained. It was a sharp contrast to the soft wisps of dust that would sweep my ankles, the heat of the morning sun, the slap of bugs against my face in the dawn while I was in Madagascar. This biting sharp cold breath filling my lungs, pressing me in half as I stop in pain and agony. A yin to the hurtful yang I’ve been carrying with me. But I finally feel alive. I finally feel like me. And I know, with this biting cold, this bitter lonely breath, that I will be fine. Because I have what matters most. I have my aina back.

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