I had the directors' group first thing and their secretary always speak in pigeon English ("I am very happy for to say Welcome in here") to me and he came into Brutto's room as we were about to start for Brutto to sign something. Brutto asked me if I could allow his secretary to join the class, "He has asked me several times". I, of course, was more than happy to have him join us though strangely he said not a word in the class.
I thought the lesson had gone fairly but Brutto had asked me at the end of yesterday's lesson how he could improve his listening. I fought and won the battle not to say anything rude and said I would show him one way "tomorrow" i.e. today. So we ended the lesson playing bingo which I had first to explain to them. We played. Brutto won. I gave him a bar of chocolate to hoots of laughter. He, generously, gave it to Majanta who accepted happily. (In our self description yesterday she described herself as "short and big"). As I was leaving Brutto said, "Thank you David, that was brilliant" and it clearly wasn't just because of the chocolate.
The first 1-2-1 of the day was NoroHainga who couldn't wait to get talking. She said "I want to go."
"I want to go Andasibe. Hanta told me."
On Thursday Hanta in her 1-2-1 had asked me about my trip to Ambohimanga and I told her I had loved it and wanted to go away more often at weekends. We talked about it for a while and she said I should go to Andasibe which is about 3 hours from Tana and the best place in Madagascar to see lemurs. I said it would be good if I could go with someone who knew the way and could speak English and that means spending a lot of money. She offered to come with me (she's about 24) so I said that would not be appropriate as I am her teacher but if 3 or 4 others wanted to go we could perhaps organise a trip.
NoroHainga asked if we could talk about it as a group during part of the lesson this afternoon. Long story short - Rajo will convince the minister to give me and the cabinet a day off on Thursday 11th November so 12 of us can drive in the Ministry minivan to and from Andasibe for an English speaking trip. Result. I get to go where I wanted at minimal cost and with people I like and who can explain everything to me.
Rajo ended the session by explaining that next Monday is 1st November, All Souls Day (the Day of the Dead), so the Ministry will be closed; a day off.
Pal was running one of his sessions in the room I usually teach in so we said hello briefly in the morning then he found me waiting for my class and asked if I wanted to go with him to hear Mansou. She, apparently, is a classical singer living and singing in Paris but born in Madagascar who has come back to give a performance on 5th November. Of course I said yes and we set off about 4.30. What Pal had neglected to tell me was that he is accompanying her on piano and this was their first rehearsal together for the concert. I watched them work really hard as they got through 2 songs by 7 p.m. I think I told you before that Pal spent a year playing piano at the Geneva Conservatoire and he really is exceptional. A hugely pleasurable way to spend two hours. We hurried out as I hadn't eaten and I began to walk off as Mansou climbed into the car that was waiting for her. It was about a two mile walk but I thought that I probably knew the way. "Get in" said Pal, so I got a lift to my place in a pretty much brand new huge Toyota 4x4. In the back seat a chap started talking with me and when he discovered what I was doing he asked: "So you are working with a ministry?"
"Two ministries actually." (Cringe.)
"How would you like to work with the Government?"
Pal explained. "He is a member of the government."
"I would love to but I'm a bit short of time at the moment. I have only Wednesday afternoon and Friday afternoon." (Double cringe)
"OK I'll let you know."
End of a rather curious conversation as we had arrived outside my hotel. Don't know where it will lead if anywhere but all in all a good day.