Elder Hyrum Snell

Elder Hyrum Snell

Monday, January 26, 2015

01/26/15- See The Tender Mercies

Salama daholo! Tena feno fankasitrahana tokoa aho noho anareo ary ny teninareo amiko izay mahatanjaka sy mahafaly ahy. (Hello everyone! I am so very full of thankfulness for all of you and your words to me which strengthen and uplift me.) As always, it's been good to hear from you all. Really, I love hearing from all of you so much. I am very serious when I say that your words strengthen and help me become better. They really do, and that is the absolute truth. I am quite certain that my family, friends, and everyone I know are some of the most incredible people on the face of this planet.

This past week has been pretty good, if a little crazy. Our area has now split (yes, in the middle of a transfer) and a Malagasy Elder who already served for a year and a half in the London South Mission who had visa problems (his name is Elder Nohaingoinaina) now has come back and is Elder Godfrey's new companion, so I am working full-time with Elder Bowler now. But, in all likeliness I am leaving Toamasina this next week for the new transfer, so we will see how this turns out.

But anyway, getting down to the meat of the email, we've got some good questions this week. I'm going to start with the third question, which is more wordly-based, and then get into the more spiritual aspects of the mission. So, the third question is about the political unrest that has been going on over the past few weeks here in Madagascar. This question takes a little bit of a background explanation. About five years ago, there was a military coup, in which a radio DJ-turned mayor of Antananarivo named Andry bought out the military, took over the government, and expelled the previous president (Marc Ravalomanana) from the country. But when no outside countries would recognize Madagascar unless they had an election, they did so and a man named Hery Vaovao (who was actually sponsored by Andry) won the election. But then, quickly after he was elected to office (which took place last year), he turned on Andry and started trying to get Marc Ravalomanana back into Madagascar, who had been living in South Arica for a while. And now, just last month, Marc finally returned to Madagascar. Now, the entire government has "resigned" for one reason or another, and the Air Force General has been named the new head of country. And now people are trying to throw Hery Vaovao into jail, as they say this appointment was unconstitutional. So, whether we like it or not, things might be getting a little crazy here in Madagascar politically speaking. We will just have to see how everything pans out with regards to the political situation.

Also, on a little side note, there have been some cyclones going around Madagascar as of late, so we've had a lot of rain, and a lot of flooding on paths. So, let's just say that more than one of my lessons in the past week have been taught barefoot with my pants rolled up to my knees. It's a pretty interesting and entertaining experience (especially when some of our investigators have never seen legs and feet with white skin before). You could say that I've been laughed at more than once in this past week... Ah well, izay ny fiainana (that's just life).

Now, onto more spiritual things, the second question is about when I felt the Spirit most this week. And I have to say that the times when I feel the Spirit the most is in lessons. I can't pick a certain lesson where I felt the Spirit more than another, but there is no doubt in my mind that the time inside of each lesson when the Spirit is felt the strongest is when a testimony is born. There was a general authority (whose name escapes me) who said that our testimonies are found in the bearing of them, and I honestly can't agree more. Yes, the Spirit is conveyed to the hearts of all those in a room when a testimony is born; however, it is my firm belief that the Spirit is felt most strongly by those who are doing the bearing. I believe this because I have felt it. When I have born my testimony in lessons, I have felt the Spirit so strongly there has been no doubt in my mind that what I was saying at the time was truth, whether it was in English or some language that I am only beginning to comprehend. The language of the Spirit is the same, as it communicates feelings to our hearts and souls, rather than specific words to our ears and minds. It is my promise aminareo tsirairay avy (to each and every one of you) that, if you bear your testimony, whether it is a feeling, a belief, a hope, or a knowledge of something, then the Spirit will confirm the truthfulness of your own words to your heart, and your feeling, belief, hope, or knowledge will grow because of it. I know that to be true.

Anyway, onto the third and final question of the day, which is about the times I have felt or seen the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father in my life here on the mission. In response to that, I honestly have no idea where to even begin. I have seen so many multitudes of little tender mercies here in my mission interspersed throughout my life. Different situations--such as finding a person we haven't taught in a while, or having another person be at home when we happen to stop by, or simply being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings fully in the Malagasy language--are tender mercies in and of themselves, sent from on high. That is, if I take the time to look at them that way. Because honestly, we go through our days sometimes, worrying about different things and this and that and all the different things that manahirana (cause to be busy/full/scattered) our lives. But, if we take the time to slow down and take in the small things, focus on the zavatra tafatranga (things that happen without influence of someone or being caused to happen, but happen naturally), then we will see that there are, in fact, hundreds of little tender mercies from the Lord each day. "Seek, and ye shall find". That applies to more than just answers to prayers. If we seek for the tender mercies of the Lord, then we will find that he blesses us abundantly with little tender mercies and blessings that just make things--if not easier--nicer and smoother. Of course life is still hard, as it wouldn't be life if it wasn't. But, the tender mercies of the Lord are always there for us, helping us, showing us that God loves each of us more than we can comprehend, if we but choose to look for them.

So, in closing, this is my challenge to all of you: firstly, please bear your testimony to someone in need of the Spirit and strengthen your own foundation in the bearing of it; and secondly, look for the tender mercies of the Lord that I know are in your lives.

Thank you all for being such an enormous blessing in my life, and for encouraging me beyond what you all can even know.

Am-pitiavana, araka ny mahazatra (with love, as usual)
Elder Hyrum Snell

A fresh mango I pretty much ate off the tree. Quite delicious.

This is an investigator's kid named Frankie (there's already been a picture of him before, but he's adorable, so it's okay).

This is cute Elder Andrianaivo while on a split with me a couple days ago.

The beginning of the sunrise on the Indian Ocean, just behind the port.

 Elder Andrianaivo with the sunrise behind.  (He was the only one willing to get up early enough to go with me).

This is one of my personal favorites that I took of just the sunrise and the waves crashing onto the beach.

A selfie, which always has to be included.

A very bogosy be (very handsome) picture of Elder Andrianaivo looking off into the distance. And so, naturally, I had to follow suit and take a few of my own, which are the two following pictures.

FYI please ignore my hair in the dramatic shots I took. :) It was very windy, so my hair looks like a mess.

Another classic, beautiful sunrise shot from the distance.

Monday, January 19, 2015

01/19/15- And This I Know...

Manakory aminareo avy amin'ny tanin'ny orina be! (Hello to all of you from the land of much rain) That is the real story of this last week. Rain, rain, and more rain! Actually, last night as I was riding my bike home, we came across a spot in the road that apparently is lower than the rest, and had completely flooded due to rain. Yes, I had my rain jacket on, but a rain jacket doesn't do much when the road is flooded up to my knees... So, needless to say, I came home pretty wet last night. And to top it all off, the power was out. Again. So, I slept last night smelly, wet, and sweaty (as it was about ninety-five degrees in our house until the power came back on). But who am I to complain. I don't live in a wood hut. I have shoes, socks, nice pants, and a nice rain jacket that actually works. Just with those few things that we may take for granted, I have more possessions than 99% of the entire population of Madagascar. Just think on that for a second...

Anyway, as for my amazing mother's questions: only one, and that is to talk about some of our teaching appointments. So, I'll walk us all through what a normal teaching appointment consists of. First, we come up to the door, knock, and yell "Odio!" (pronounced oh dee oh) as that is a cultural thing they do here (like a verbal knock on the door almost). Then, when (or rather, IF) they let us in, we usually talk for a while just about little things here and there, making small talk to help break the ice. Then we say an opening prayer, and start in with the lesson, usually beginning with a review of what we learned last time to make sure they remember the key points, as the previous lesson usually sets the foundation for the current one. So, if they don't remember the previous lesson, we change our current lesson to a complete review of the previous one. But, we then go through our lesson, trying the best we can to bring the Spirit into the lesson, and then, end with our testimonies and a prayer. In Preach My Gospel, missionaries are counseled to end with a kneeling prayer, led by the head of household. We try to always have the head of household lead the closing prayer, but we almost never kneel. Why? There is usually not enough room on the floor in the entire house for us to kneel... It is quite humbling, teaching in houses that are smaller than my old bedroom, which (according to my OLD opinion) was quite small to begin with. But anyway, that is our usual pattern of teaching someone. Almost all our lessons follow that sequence of events, with some variance with regards to the lesson topics, people, and situations.

But, as for stories this week, you all have already heard my encounter with flooding in the streets. That was quite fun, and my pants and shoes are still soaking wet. But, tsy maninona (no problem). At least I have some. But also, on a lighter note, I learned something new this week, other than spiritual insights and new Malagasy words. I learned how to put chickens to sleep. Yep. I can put almost any chicken to sleep in about one minute now. Some pictures will be sent, so you all can see that--as funny and comical as this sounds--I am completely serious. It's a new talent that I have developed, and maybe will be able to demonstrate it on my grandma's chickens when I get home. But anyway, that's all that is really knew with me that has happened over this past week.

This next week may be a little bit crazy, as they are making some emergency transfers, as a Malagasy Elder who was serving in London just had his visa expire, so (this is the plan) he will come here, they will split the Mangarivotra and Andranomadio areas again, and Elder Bowler and I will become a normal companionship in Andranomadio, while Elder Godfrey and the new Malagasy Elder will work in Mangarivotra. So, needless to say, this week will be fairly hectic. Wish me luck. :P

Now on a more spiritual note. This last week I have been thinking a lot about what my life would be like if I didn't know what I know, about the church and the things to come and whatnot. And honestly, the biggest thing that comes to my mind about that life that I would have is that I would be scared out of my mind. Not knowing what was going to happen to me, to my family, to my friends, to everyone I know and love... That would scare me beyond words. I can't imagine what it is like, thinking that this life is all we've got and then everything just ends when we die; your relationships, your knowledge, your family, your own personality that you've developed, and even yourself: all of that, gone in one fell swoop. And then after that, in your mind, all those things that make you who you are, cease to exist. This life can't be all for nothing; going through everything that we do in this life, suffering trials and hardships, feeling the greatest joys and happiness possible, and then having it just be over. This may be my opinion, but I have had many experiences that back my opinions up. The little miracles that occur in my life; the little feelings of hope, peace, and comfort; the things that I am able to do that would not be possible without help from some other source. All these things combine to create the resolution, knowledge, and testimony that I now have. A testimony holds up in a court of law; why shouldn't it hold up with regards to religion? But, those things that I have experienced and felt have created the person I am today, and shaped my knowledge of what is the truth, and is as follows:

I know that God lives. I know that He is our Father in Heaven, and He loves us more than we can comprehend. If we ask of Him in faith, willing to act on what we receive, He will give to us what we are in need of. I know for a fact that we will live again after we die, and we will see our family, friends, and everyone that we care about again. If someone has died that you know, I promise that you will see them again. I also know that this life is a time of testing for us, and that if we try our best, and do what we can here in this life, then we will obtain our full potential, which we learn from the following words; "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17) If we suffer with Christ. So, if we TRY, if we do our best, then we will be glorified TOGETHER with God and Christ. And that is the most comforting promise of all; we aren't just the creations of some all-powerful being who wants us to worship him. We have a Father who loves us, and created us to be able to receive joy. "For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." That's God's goal for us. Eternal life, eternal happiness, even eternal joy with those we love most. This is my testimony to all of you, that I know these things are true. I KNOW they are true, and it is not just a feeling. It is a culmination of experiences, impressions, and inspirations that have combined to create this knowledge in me. I echo the words of Elder Jefferey R. Holland: "What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe." Or, in the words of President Uchtdorf; "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." This is my testimony and my challenge to all of you this week. I know these things for myself, and because of that, I know all of you can know for yourselves as well. That is my invitation to you all; find out for yourself. I promise you all that if you look for an answer, you will find it.

Until next week and with love,
Elder Hyrum Snell

A picture of me walking down a path with water up to my knees-ish, which is actually one of the shallowest areas of that particular path we were on.

 The chicken that I put to sleep and placed in the crook of a tree.

The chicken that Elder Bowler put to sleep.
A beautiful butterfly.

Fabio, a member who helps us.

A picture of Fabio and me.

01/15/15- Madagascar's President Names New Prime Minister

Madagascar's President Names New Prime Minister
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — Jan 15, 2015, 8:53 AM ET
By MARTIN VOGL Associated Press

Madagascar's president has named a new prime minister after months of widespread discontent at the performance of his government.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina named Air Force Gen. Jean Ravelonarivo as the new head of government in a statement late Wednesday.

Ravelonarivo replaces Roger Kolo who resigned Monday along with the entire government.

Observers are concerned about the political stability of Madagascar. Risk consultancy firm, Control Risks, recently placed Madagascar on a list of countries with a high threat of political instability in 2015.

"The president had to do something to give some new impetus to the government," said Juvence Ramasy, a politics professor at the University of Toamasina. "The public is frustrated over issues such as ongoing power cuts and insecurity, especially in the south of the country."

Electricity blackouts are common and two people died following protests over power cuts in Toamasina, Madagascar's main port, in December. Other cities in Madagascar, including the capital Antananarivo, have gone for hours a day without power too.

While Rajaonarimampianina has been viewed as lacking decisiveness, part of the problem up until now has been a lack of funds, said Ramasy, who believes the Madagascan president will now court donors for much needed funds for government programs.

Madagascar returned to democratic rule after elections at the end of 2013. For five years previously the island had been run by a transitional government following a coup d'├ętat in 2009.


Monday, January 12, 2015

01/12/15- Perspective on Poverty

Hello everyone! (Just mixing things up and writing my header in English, keeping it real, ya know) It was good to hear from all of you again on this past week and hear how all of your winter breaks and vacations went, and I am very glad to say that pretty much all of them went well, according to you all.

As for questions this week, the first question from my mom is asking for a list of all the names of my investigators. Problem with that is that it is quite hard to write down all of them because they're constantly shifting out and we have like thirty different people/families that we teach every week, so sometimes it gets hard to remember them all, and I don't have a list of their names right in front of me. So, I will write down a list of our best progressing investigators instead, and they are as follows: Aldo, Jean Pierre (please pray for his work schedule to clear up so he can come to church), Franco, Angel, Piro and co. (they are less-actives who need a lot of help), Edward, and Mamitiana-squared (we have two good investigators, both named Mamitiana, who both work on the Mercy Ship. Yes, it's quite confusing). But anyway, those are our best investigators right now.

As for the second question, about what I have seen with regards to poverty and how my perspective has changed with regards to material things and what is really important. Honestly, I think my response to that will be a bit different than what my mom was really expecting it to be. Because the situation with poverty here is actually quite similar to the situation that I have seen in America. There are two kinds of people that I have come to know here, and it all depends upon what you make of your situation. The first type of person I've seen is the one who takes a negative perspective on their poverty. They focus their entire mind, body, spirit, and energy on the fact that they are poor, and do all they can to get out of it. I'm not saying that trying to improve ones standard of living is bad, but it is the fact that that is the ONLY thing they focus on. For instance, there is a former investigator who (for whatever reason) always comes to church, but when she comes, she does nothing but complain about everything and try to guilt trip the missionaries into giving her money, calling them rude names and saying that they hate single, poor women (like her) and we should give her money to make up for it. It's very frustrating to see that, and to see how cold and hardened some people have become due to their poverty. I have run into some of the greediest people I have ever met here in Madagascar, and it's not due to excessive riches; on the contrary, it's due to their poverty. It is extremely sad to see. But, I have also seen some of the most amazing, kind-hearted, selfless, and rich ara-panahy (spiritually) people I have ever had the opportunity of meeting. Rather than wallow in self-pity, they have instead chosen to focus on what is most important to them, namely; praying (going to church) and their family. And these people are honestly the most amazing people I have ever met. And this brings us to the heart of the matter about material and worldly things: it all depends on you. You can harden your heart and devote all of your time, efforts, and resources to obtaining the things of this world, and then lose all you have once you die... OR you can choose to open up to the Spirit and instead chase after those things that bring most happiness in this life, as well as in the life to come. So that is my personal challenge to all of you this week: make your choice. What are you going to devote your time to? Ny zavatra ara-batana, izay hamarana amin'ny fahafatesana, na ny zavatra ara-panahy, izay mitohy mitondra fahasambarana mandrakizay? (The physical things, which end at death, or the spiritual things, which continue to bring happiness for eternity) The choice is yours. :)

So, that's all for questions. There's not really any stories for this week, except for a couple of events that happened. Elder Bowler, being the Zone Leader, went on splits with all of the other missionary companionships here in Toamasina, so Elder Godfrey and I worked together by ourselves for most of the week. And that honestly went surprisingly well, as both of us are still not fluent at the language. But we were able to do well enough considering our situation. Also, we had our first baptismal service on this last Saturday. But, sadly, it was not one of my previous investigators, so I didn't know her too well. She is the newly wedded wife of a returned missionary, but we will still continue to teach her though. Also, we had interviews with President Adams on this last Saturday. Those went well, and I received some really inspirational and encouraging direction from him. But as for things that happened this week, that is it.

Thank you all again for everything you do, as I really appreciate the encouraging words, the prayers, and the help (speaking of which, I recently received some letters and packages from friends and family, so a SPECIAL thanks to those who sent those out). I love you all!

Until next week,
Elder Hyrum Snell

Cute kids we met on the path to an appointment.

This is picture of my newest souvenir: a crocodile skin wallet! I also bought a matching women's one for the person who sends me the best package! Just kidding, it's actually for you Mom. Love you, and a late happy birthday. :)

This picture is of us playing Uno with a member family. And yes, my smile is supposed to be that cheesy. :)

More kids we ran into...

Playing tennis on our P-day

Some cow tongue and beans I ate the other day. Quite good actually!

I've been reassigned to the newly opened Saudi Arabia mission! Just kidding, it's actually a massive concrete soccer stadium in our area with lots of sand around it.

An ADORABLE little kid in our area.

Elder Godfrey in a lambahoany.

Baptismal Service

This is me and the most adorable little girl in the world. You just look at her and fall in love with her. :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

01/05/15- I Want My Life to Be as Clean as Earth Right After Rain...

Tratra ny taona vaovao daholo! Enga anie hitondra fahasambarana sy fifaliana betsika ho antsika jiaby ity taona vaovao dimy ambin'ny folo sy roa arivo ity. (Happy New Year's everyone! Hopefully this new year of 2015 will bring much happiness and joy for us all.)

It has been a pretty crazy week, with lots of ups and downs, and it was especially hard for me this week when I realized I was missing my mom's birthday this last Friday (and no, it's not just because I missed or will miss the yearly trip to IHOP for the birthday breakfast, though that has been a substantial contributing factor :). But it's okay. Conviction is a very strong support, and so is God, both of which have helped me through both the good times and the bad here on the mission. I have maintained and still maintain the conviction that this is where I am supposed to be. Also, God always helps His servants who are in need, and I have seen examples of that fact time and time again here in the mission field and in my life: God always sends help when I have been in need, whether the help is physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, or even all of the above. He is God, after all, and our Father in Heaven; He has an unlimited capacity to help us when we are truly in need, and it is my testimony to all of you that He will help us when we are truly in need of His heavenly assistance. He will always send the help that we are in need of, if we only but ask for it.

Anyway, now on to the questions: I'll start with the second one first, and then end with the first one (just a heads up, Mom). So first, about our investigators, things are going fairly well. It's hard to catch people during the holidays, but Jean Pierre has been making some significant improvements, as he has been asking his work if he can get Sundays off so he can come to church, which would be absolutely incredible. Aldo has been a little hit and miss lately, so we will see where that goes. As far as our American friend who works on the Mercy Ships, we still keep in touch and hopefully will get together for lunch again sometime soon.

As for the second question and the things I've learned about unconditional love, that is a much longer answer. Unconditional love is definitely something I have had to work on out here in the mission field, because the people aren't all those cute little men and women and kids you just want to hug and squeeze to death. :) That may be what it seems like from my pictures and whatnot, but there are a lot of people who make it really hard for me to love them. I have been sworn at, cursed out, and turned away more times than I'd like to count. It is very hard to love a drunk man who is walking around, following you, cursing at you, and every once in a while trying to hurt you (not too dangerous, as a man who is staggeringly drunk usually can't throw a punch and hit the broad side of a barn, but very annoying). For instance, this past week while doing some street contacting, I went up to a man who was just standing on the side of the road and started talking to him. I quickly learned that he was stoned and drunk out of his mind, so I tried to back track and get away. But before I could do so, he had grabbed my hand and pulled me into the French cultural greeting of kissing on the cheek three times. So needless to say, I pretty much got kissed by a drunk man this last week. I don't think I really need to explain why that makes it kind of hard to love, not only that man in particular, but also all the drunk people staggering around the streets during the holidays. Also, as I have explained previously in some of my emails, I have now learned that common sense is actually a cultural phenomenon. In other words, common sense as we think of it in America does not exist here in Madagascar. People do things that are sometimes only mildly annoying, and other times it takes all I have not to burst. That brings me to the biggest thing I have learned about unconditional love: it takes time. A LOT of time. And hard work. But, I have seen that the more I try to focus on the needs of the people rather than their actions, I have been able to grow to love them more and more. Unconditional love doesn't come from sitting idly and trying to think your way into loving the people. The more you serve, the more your heart grows. And the more your heart grows, the greater your capacity to love unconditionally grows. And that comes step by step, tsikelikely fa tsy mandritra fotoana iraika ihany (little bits at a time but not during one time only).

Sometimes there are special, one-time experiences that come, but I've come to realize that the purpose of those one-time experiences is to mampahafantatra anao (cause you to know/realize) about the step by step growth that you have made. I had one of those experiences just yesterday. After eating dinner at our District President's house, it started to DOWNPOUR rain. Luckily I had my raincoat, so my shirt stayed dry, but my pants were soaked through completely in about two minutes. Also, my bike's chain likes to slip a lot when it gets wet, so needless to say, I was soon way behind my companions. So, riding down a small Malagasy road, wet, tired, alone, and frustrated, I was about at my wits end. But then a song came to mind that my companion Elder Bowler had been singing shortly before, when I was still within hearing distance of my companions: the Baptism Song in the Children's Songbook. So I started to sing as I rode. And as I sung, I had one of those special, one-time experiences. Because "I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain," God has been providing me with experiences that have been purifying and strengthening me. They may be hard, and they may be really annoying during such trials, but that's the great thing about life. My trials, my hardships, all the experiences that make me go absolutely crazy, all help me grow and learn and become more like the person that God wants me to be. I may have been riding down a dinky little street in pouring rain, soaked to the skin, alone and tired, and not even close to home, but I was growing. I was becoming stronger, and learning how to become the person God needs me to be. And that is the case with all our trials. We just need to take the time to listen to the Spirit whispering that truth in our ears, and we will have our eyes opened to what the hardships and trials we face really do for us, for our character. Just as with metal being refined into something more glorious and beautiful, so are we being refined and purified into something more, something beautiful, something Godly. And that is why bad things--hard things--happen to good people. Because, if taken in the correct fashion, and with the help of God, those good people become more. They become great people, that we "may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4: 15) Through that, we can obtain those Christlike attributes that are demonstrated throughout the life of Christ. And that is our goal: being like Christ.

Anyway, those are my thoughts of the past week. No real crazy stories. I miss all of you, and hope that the holiday season treated you all well. Keep up the faith, even through the hard times, and you will see what the refining fire can make of you, because you are in God's hands.

Am-pitiavana (with love),
Elder Hyrum Snell

This is a selfie of me and some kids. They love throwing up peace signs, so I thought I'd join in. I know, I know, I'm white, don't judge me.

This picture is of a Kansas license plate I saw in a hotely. Weeeeiiiiirrrrddd...

Here's a picture of some people on a moto in a Madagascar rainstorm. Very hard, and very crazy.

This is a picture is of a member named Mario sitting down in a spot where we taught him the other day, which I thought was super pretty so I took a picture, and he wanted to get in on the action.

This picture is of Elder Godfrey and Mario, who is VERY short. Like five-foot even, if that.

This is a spider I found in our house one morning, just sitting on the wall. About the size of my hand. Pretty freaky.

This is  a picture of an ADORABLE little puppy we found on the side of the little sand path we were on.

This is an example of a Malagasy chicken, the most beautiful animal on earth (not). :)