Dramamine, hostels, vazaha food, and long car rides have been the focus of this past week. It seems it has just slipped by. My fellow stagemates spent the last seven days on the road visiting different current volunteers sites and having technical lessons in a wide range of categories. This week, aka Tech Trip, was a way for us to see parts of Madagascar outside of Mantasoa, practice our language with the Malagasy who have not been prepped by PC to talk realllyyyyyyy slow, and experience the culture of larger towns where vazahas really aren’t commonly seen. If I try to explain it in words, it will become a very unneeded, lengthy post, so I will show you with pictures. Mazotoa!
Our major cities of travel were Antsiribe, Ambositra, Fandriana, and Ampefy with smaller stops in between. Estimated, I think we spent a day alone over the past seven days in a car navigating through the country and what infrastructure that exists.
Even a month into my volunteer commitment, Madagascar amazes me everyday. The beauty of this country is absolutely astounding, a what I would think is an obvious choice for tourists who want an exotic adventure and picturesque landscapes. However, this country is one of the poorest countries in the world, where a person lives on only $2 a day.
Corruption is ever-present and food security is a huge issue for many Malagasy. The poverty I have seen since in country makes me even more passionate about trying to just increase one family’s living standards by time I COS in 2014. My goal is to try and create some eco-tourism so people begin to realize the amazing potential this country has. Hopefully my pictures this past week do it some justice.
Our site visits included a federation of silk weavers, a family of wood carvers, fruit driers, fish farmers, and rock sculptures. These people are so mazoto and are really taking the advice of the volunteers have to heart.
Nights consisted of sitting around a table playing poker (with bananagrams as the chips; we’re too broke to actually use Ariary as wagers) and it was one of these nights that Scrap Metal Stanley came into existence. He is now our Stage’s official mascot and will be passed from volunteer to volunteer to travel across the country. (blog site coming soon…)
We celebrated the first of our many April birthdays in Ambositra, Emily, and made the best of a Malagasy night (most are in bed by 9pm).
There were some crazy beautiful landscapes that turned into photoshoots.
And there was our “bonding activity.” It was the last day of Tech Trip and we were visiting a fish farm. We took a boat across the lake to the farm, but at the end, an hour and a half behind schedule, the President of the co-op
said he would show us a ‘shortcut’ to the cars which were moved while we were learning about fishing. PS
It was not a shortcut but rather a scary rock jumping/’bridge’ crossing that we all cheered when we were done. And this is my second experience of a ‘shortcut’ gone wrong, a sign maybe?
And then there was just some stupid goofing around. :)