Day two of painting: who knew there were so many countries!? It took us all day, but we went from blue walls to actual maps! Students at both schools were eager to learn where we were from, and thanks to our new maps, we could finally show them!

Our world map slowly begins to emerge at Ambodiaviavy. | Photo by Maya H.

Our world map slowly begins to emerge at Ambodiaviavy. | Photo by Maya H.

Throughout the day we took short breaks to teach kids how to braid bracelets, play soccer, look for bugs and frogs, practice our French and Malagasy, and get to know the kids at our schools.

The view from Ambodiaviavy village. | Photo by Maya H.

The view from Ambodiaviavy village. | Photo by Maya H.

Day three of painting: we are finally finished! Malagasy schools are mostly taught in French and Malagasy, so we wrote all of the country names in French. It was great seeing the finished maps, and the kids and teachers were clearly excited by the new artwork.

Ana O. labelling her home country of Colombia on one of the school maps. | Photo by Brandon S.

Ana O. labelling her home country of Colombia on one of the school maps. | Photo by Brandon S.

One of our completed maps! | Photo by Brandon S.

One of our completed maps! | Photo by Brandon S.

Completed map at Ambodipaiso. | Photo by Maya H.

Completed map at Ambodipaiso. | Photo by Maya H.

A “Dreux”-ngle gym loaded with laughing Malagasy children. | Photo by Brandon S.

A “Dreux”-ngle gym loaded with laughing Malagasy children. | Photo by Brandon S.

Goodbyes at Ambodipaiso. | Photo by Maya H.

Goodbyes at Ambodipaiso. | Photo by Maya H.

Following Malagasy tradition, we went to the village king (mpanzaka) to receive a blessing from the ancestors for our work. The village then gathered to put on a music and dance ceremony to thank us for our work. People crowded the narrow streets to participate, with most of the audience consisted of small children eager to get a glimpse of the tall vazaha (foreigners) making fools of themselves in the dance circle.

Jessi M. learning some Malagasy dance moves at the village ceremony. | Photo by Brandon S.

Jessi M. learning some Malagasy dance moves at the village ceremony. | Photo by Brandon S.

After the ceremony we sampled some hot sugarcane coffee and cassava. Everyone in the village was so friendly and welcoming that it was hard to say goodbye, but the sun was setting and we had to get back to prepare for a night spent camping in the forest!

The village prepared some local Malagasy cuisine for us to try! | Photo by Brandon S.

The village prepared some local Malagasy cuisine for us to try! | Photo by Brandon S.

Kieran P. takes a parting shot of the village. | Photo by Brandon S.

Kieran P. takes a parting shot of the village. | Photo by Brandon S.