If being a Peace Corps Volunteer has taught me anything thus far, it’s to believe in myself and never give up. I have become more confident in myself and started standing up for my beliefs, something I probably would not have done a year ago. But I came to the realization that if I can isolate myself from friends, family, and culture, and throw myself into a foreign lifestyle with one of this world’s most unique languages, I can do pretty much anything.
This brings me to the point of this post. When any volunteer in country tells their loved ones they are going to be serving in Madagascar, the most common response is some snarky reference to the DreamWorks movie series, ‘Madagascar’. “So you’re going to live with talking animals?” “Are there really penguins?” “Don’t forget to say hi to the dancing lemurs.”
The fact of the matter is the country of Madagascar has not seen any money from this movie franchise. DreamWorks has made billions of money off of using the name Madagascar without any reference or giving back to the people of the country that they use the name of. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, with most of the population living off of less than $2 a day. It is so biodiverse and many of the plants, animals, and insects found on this island can literally be found nowhere else in this world. Even though some aid has been provided, it is not enough. The country is in political turmoil and lack of education on environmental conservation/protection is causing rainforests and land to be destroyed.
One of my close friends in country started a petition asking for DreamWorks to give something, anything back to this country. As a fellow volunteer myself, I have thrown all my support behind this petition. So please take some time to read and sign the petition and forward it to friends. You can make a difference!