A journey to South Africa

Around the year mark of my service, I started getting serious about my future and where I wanted to see myself going. It wasn’t that difficult that I decided to pursue a career in law and work specifically with labor unions and employees within the hospitality industry. After all, I majored in hospitality management, worked in the hotel industry for four years prior to joining Peace Corps, and helped establish an operating hostel. So like it or not, my life is hotels; it’s a good thing I love them.

Leading up to October, I cracked down on studying the legendary LSAT. It’s a lot harder than it looks for someone who lives with little to no Internet and no books to study from. I studied for 8 months and decided I was as prepared as I could be for a test in a Third World Country, so I ventured to South Africa for this proctored nightmare.

After the initial shock of how much a flight was to go three hours from Madagascar and back, I decided to add on extra days and enjoy the country. A friend I served with decided to accompany me and we spent 5 days soaking in the sun, and the San Diego like atmosphere of Cape Town.

Johannesburg was our first stop, home of University of Wits, which I learned was pronounced with a ‘v’ sound. I took the test in a huge 400+ table lecture hall with 3 other people. Shout out to the two Botswana Peace Corps Volunteers I met. Hope the sandy desert is treating you well. Although scores will not be posted for another week, it went poorly. I was distracted by the beeping of two different timers (who sets a timer for 30m and then sets another for 5m for 35m sections? My proctor, that’s who) and a silent snore of my proctor during the last two sections. But, optimist thinking. I got that 180…..when I was in the Land of Oz. I strongly remember walking out of the university to meet Monica outside saying “tena mila taoka” (I really need alcohol.)

Our next stop, Cape Town, or more specifically, a small 5 star game reserve 3 hours outside of Cape Town. Many people may wonder why we didn’t experience Krueger Park, the wildlife park so famous for the number of animals you can see in one short game drive. There is location reasons in regards to proximity to Cape Town, but there is also personal ones as well. Prior to joining Peace Corps, my views were not cemented regarding a large variety of topics. However, nearly two years in, I have firm views. Krueger is said to be amazing to experience, where you can suddenly come upon a herd of elephants, but the population of animals to size of land is rapidly growing and there is not enough space for the animals to comfortably live and not be confined. The owner of Inverdoorn, however, considered each animal in the reserve and calculated how much land each animal would need. Inverdoorn also specializes in cheetah conservation, something I find very interesting. Many people associate white rhinos with endangerment because of poaching, but cheetahs are also endangered. There is less than a total of 25000 cheetahs remaining across the world, and passing of bad genes, is making it even harder for them to reproduce.

We spent a total of two days at the game reserve, taking in all the wildlife on a total of four game drives and relaxing by the pool. We didn’t see the Big 5, those sneaky leopards, but we did see the Big 4. During that time, we came across a wide variety of people. One of our game drive guides was so anti-government, he hinted to Peace Corps as a form of brainwashing. The other, a Kenyan native, was not afraid to share his story, even though it was filled with sadness (he watched a rhino die from poaching and a friend be killed by a lion). We met other Americans traveling overseas and I painfully tried to speak French to a couple who knew no English.

When we returned to Cape Town, Monica and I ventured out on a wine tour going by the name ‘Wine Flies’. Five vineyards in six hours. Some of the most fun I have ever had. It started out slow, everyone quiet and shy, but obviously as the alcohol started setting in, we got chatty. I met a set of British friends, who to my amusement, knew more about pop culture than me. A good-looking 24 year old male who knows the names of every One Direction singer and who’s dating/engaged to who and didn’t think it was crazy that I was bringing my dog home….sir, will you marry me? (That’s a joke, but I would have considered it if he asked). I even got a bottle of my favorite wine from the day…for $5.

But by far, the highlight of my trip was the Cape Town Tour. We hired a semi-private car to take us to Cape Point and my favorite stop, Simon’s Town, home of the South African penguin. Behind the Californian cow, penguins are my favorite animals and these ones were so dang cute. We got to see them up close and personal, some just a foot or two away, but remember, as the signs posted all over said, “Penguins bite.”

South Africa was a great experience. And I’m glad I spend a little bit of time there. I probably won’t ever be back, so the extra time was worth it.

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Up close with the cheetahs at the conservation center

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Cape of Good Hope

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Penguins!

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My favorite picture I took the entire trip. Does the view justice.

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A baby rhino the owner of the game reserve adopted when she and her brother were found crying over their mother, who was killed by poachers.

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Wine Flies Tour

The generosity of strangers

About a month ago, I published my story of my dog, Parasy, and the bumpy road it will be to bring her home to the States. I reached out via the internet to everyone to help bring my dog home. I was overwhelmed by the responses I received. People I barely knew, or not at all, donated. My blog averaged 2000 viewers a day for the period of a week, and is still getting traffic. I have raised just over half of the money needed to bring Parasy home in March. Thank you! To friends, family, family of friends, friends of friends, and donors who wish to remain anonymous, but you know who you all are. It’s amazing, the generosity of strangers.

Parasy’s journey to California occurs in five months. In just under half a year, she will make the journey alone to California and wait the three months for my service to be up to join her as we start our next journey, law school and dog parks. Human and dog respectively.

But, thank you to everyone that supported my crazy plan to bring Parasy home. Those who donated must understand to some degree the attachment I have to my little friend. And she has something she wants to say as well.

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If you still have yet to read my story about my Parasy and want to donate to help bring her home, the link is below. Thanks for reading: Parasy’s story

Manetsa vary. Transplanting rice.

When I first found out I would be serving my Peace Corps Service in Madagascar, I ran to the computer and researched where I would be living. Madagascar is more prominently known for their vanilla. If you are a serious baker or chef, you tend to use Madagascar Vanilla when the recipe calls for it. However, Madagascar is not just about the vanilla. It’s also about the rice.

Rice is farmed all over the country, in every nook and cranny that there is. It’s not just the staple when it comes to feeding the masses, but it’s their income. A large majority of rice farmed in Madagascar is actually exported to other countries, and then rice of less quality is imported to feed the nationals.

So as I did my research regarding Madagascar, not exclusively just watching the Pixar movies, I started making mental lists of what I wanted to accomplish while living here. Planting rice was one of them. At the time, ‘planting’ rice seemed like such the right term to use. But, I have lived in this country for a year and a half already, and I know better. My Agriculture and Environment Peace Corps counterparts would be so disappointed if that idea still existed. ‘Planting’ is not the only action taking place. There are so many steps, and so much I don’t know. Rightfully so, my focus in country has been business development, and not so much rice farming. Still, helping farm rice has always been high up on my to do list.

Just my luck, I was invited to help transplant rice in a neighboring village. As the day grew closer, I got more and more excited. I headed out to the fields, all pumped up to show the Malagasy people, I can do this. And then reality set in. When we got into the rice field, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was handed a bunch of sprouted seedlings (that word not be correct) and told to go to the middle of the row and start.

It took a few hours to start to master walking in knee deep mud, swiping the seedling into place, and let my back go numb from bending over. By lunchtime, I thought I had it down. I kept telling everyone ‘look how fast I’m going. I’m so mahay (expert).’ As if I was being taught a lesson against bragging by the universe, I lost my balance, stumbled forward, and while trying not to fall flat on my face, threw my weight backwards, leading to me falling flat on my butt in the rice field. And the mud was unforgiving. It was like quicksand, and I was quickly surrounded by mud, sinking into the field.

I only did a half day of transplanting in the fields, but I left with a whole new perspective. I have so much respect for the women and children who farm fields and fields of rice to provide for their families. My body ached for four days after that. People laughed in my town as I limped down road trying to stretch out my sore muscles. I have mad respect for farmers, not only in Madagascar, but everywhere. And finally, never, ever, am I meant to farm rice or be in any profession with mud involved for a living.

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Banks, good. Beds, bad.

When it comes to teaching children about business, it’s difficult to teach complicated lessons. The entire lesson needs to be summed up in as few words as possible so the children can remember it. Up until last weekend, the youngest people I had taught business concepts to were ‘freshmen’ in high school. But Antoinette, a volunteer 10 minutes from me, was hosting an event at her site, both teaching American culture and also playing soccer, and she asked volunteers in the area if we wanted to teach something from our sector of expertise. The age group I was assigned was 13 to 14 year old girls and I found it difficult to try to find something that would resonate with everyone as well as interesting enough they would remember it and use in everyday life.

Something the Malagasy people fear most is banks in Madagascar. And there’s nothing to blame them for that. There’s a lot of corruption all over this country. The higher ranking the official, the more likely that they oare corrupt and receiving money on the side. Which is why people fear the banks so much. They assume if they put all their money in one place outside of their house, an official can steal it without them knowing, and they will never get it back. Many times instead of placing money in the bank, they will place it under their mattresses, and this opens the door for robberies in a household. So my lesson to the 13 and 14 year olds were banks and their advantages. Banks are not the bad people, but they’re trying to help develop the country and provide a place for saving money and earning interest. This is a complicated concept for the Malagasy people. Many don’t even know that by placing money into a bank account, they can earn on that amount and get interest.

My game consisted of giving fake money to each individual person, and I acted as the bank. Each “month”they were given their monthly wages for their profession and they put the money into a bank account where they “earned” interest. I brought along product I was trying to sell. A bouncy ball for 200 ariary and a pencil for 400 ariary. After four months of saving their money in the banks, they had enough money to “buy” both items.

During the entire process, I had the children keep their fake money. At the end before they “purchased” the toys, I asked how much money they had in their hands.

“400 ariary!” they yelled.
“And if you didn’t place your money in the bank, how much money do you have?” I asked.
“400 ariary!” They answered.
“Is that enought to buy the pencil and the bouncy ball?”
“No,” they answered, solemnly shaking their heads.
“But if you had placed the money in the bank, how much money would you have had?” I asked, pointing to the “bank statement” we had added each time they “made” a deposit.
“600 ariary……….600 ariary!” they answered, getting very excited.
“Is that enough?”
“Yes! Yes yes yes!” they cheered.
“So what is the lesson for today?”
“If you want to be rich, place money in a bank.” one of them more vocal girls answered.
“Yes, so the lesson today, banks good. Beds bad.”

I hoped they would remember this lesson and I was overjoyed they did. I ran into two of the girls in my village in market day this past week. They greeted me with saying “Salama Christina. Mitadidy izahay. Tsara ny banky. Ratsy ny fandriana,” before heading off on their way.

Translation…”Hello Christina! We remember. Banks are good, beds are bad.”

Nailed it!

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My group of kids

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Teaching my lesson: put your money in a bank.

Pets in Third World Countries

Having a pet in the United States seems so trivial. You can go to the shelter or an animal store and come home with a dog, cat, guinea pig, fish, mouse, or squawking parrot that same day. Having a pet in a Third World Country is considered abnormal, unless it’s a cow and in that case, it’s not a pet, but a form of income. If Host Country Nationals do have cats or dogs, they’re for a purpose other than for company. Cats are to kill rats in the ceiling; dogs are for protection from potential night robbers and unwanted guests.

I have broken every possible stereotype when I adopted Parasy. She is allowed in the house. She is kept on a leash so she doesn’t venture out and get hit by a car on the highway. She gets quarterly shots to prevent her from becoming pregnant. She gets nutrient shots monthly to make sure she’s healthy. She has a specific food, just for her (dog food). She obeys commands. Sit. Stay. Come here. Quiet. Go to your bed. Where’s Dino (her dinosaur stuffed animal)? All in Malagasy of course. She has been vaccinated for Rabies. She is not allowed near trash pits. She is housetrained and trained to go to the restroom in a specific place so she doesn’t ruin crops. She is allowed to jump onto my lap. I pick her up. She gets bimonthly baths with special shampoo. She can give me kisses.

To my fellow villagers, I am an absolutely crazy person who should be medicated. Even though Parasy is extremely well behaved, people fear her. It’s like the parting of the Red Sea when I walk her down the road. Even on market day when thousands of people have converged on the small market next to my house. Parting of the Red Sea. At the sight of her, it’s a high pitched yell and lunge to the side, even though we are still 10 yards away.
They think a bark is a “you better run, I’m going to kill you” bark. Most of the time, Parasy’s barks are a “Oo. Oo. Oo. People. Play with me. Play with me.” The other times, yes they can be a “you better run, I’m going to kill you” bark. But then maybe you shouldn’t have thrown huge granite rocks at her and hit her in the head, or taken a stick and smacked her with it. How do I know? I pretended to go to work one day, but hid in my house and witnessed the entire thing through a hole in my window. So in that case, Parasy, you can scare them all you want. They deserve it.
I witnessed my landlord’s sons being absolutely cruel to Parasy one day when I was coming home from my class. After yelling at them, I confronted my landlord about it. It told her it was not okay and she needed to tell her children to stop it. She laughed and said it was just a stupid dog and I needed to stop being so emotional about it. I told her if I saw her sons do it again, I would do it right back to them and see how they liked it. I’m still not sure if she thought I was being serious or not. I was.

Before I arrived in Alakamisy, I’m not sure the villagers knew a lot about Americans. There were two volunteers before, but they exchanged culture regarding humans, and not to our second type of children, animals. There are days when I just sit in my favorite small café and just talk about the differences between Madagascar and America. I think I’ve done a fair job in teaching our culture in regards to pets. Certain villagers have been very receptive to the idea and now have pets themselves. If Parasy escapes (in part this is my fault, I thought it would be cute to show her how to open the gate, but in reality, not so cute when she opens it when I’m not there), villagers bring her back home, and put her on my porch with the chain leash I leave there because they know unless she’s with me, she’s not allowed to go anywhere. I even got a few of my favorite children that live near me to pet her. Yes, I may have bribed them with candy at first, but now they see she’s not so scary. After all, if you show animals love, they will love you unconditionally right back.

Not quite sure it’s competition if you share.

Something I find unique about Madagascar that differs from the States is business techniques. Businesses in the States just look out for themselves. Where ever they can get the customers and the business, they’ll take it. And that’s not their fault. We were raised with the concept of The American Dream. That we have the equality, democracy, and material prosperity to fulfill our dreams. That we can provide for our families by starting our own business ventures or pursue any career that we want to. And with so many businesses opening up every day, businesses fight to keep their doors open. Some start promotions, buy one get one free. Other offer frequent shopper perks. If you buy seven coffees from us, your eighth one is free. Restaurants offer Happy Hours and discounts if you eat at a certain time. So if a mom and pop business is being threatened to close because their revenues aren’t covering their expenses and they need to steal some of your customers to stay alive, they’ll do whatever it takes.

But here in Madagascar, things work slightly differently. I cannot generalize and say this is how all businesses operate in Madagascar, but I can give my views on businesses in and around my village. There is this unstated conception of sharing. I have witnessed one business loan money to another business just to get through the week. I have seen a carpenter tell me they can’t build something right now because they are busy for the next few days, but refer me to their competitor across town when they could have just told me I would have to wait a little bit. I seen meetings between the “cafe” like establishments deciding what meals each person is going to make that day so two or more of them are not competing against each other for customers who are searching for a specific meal. They also share rice. If one establishment happens to run out, they will send their employee to fetch rice from another with no questions asked. My painting organization has offered to take full responsibility for building a boutique, yet is opening the boutique to anyone that wants to sell their product. So is that really competition?

There is a sense of comradery between people in my village. Everyone helps out everyone else, regardless of family relations or not. Whether that is watching your child, running to the market for you if you’re sick, or helping you flag down a taxi brousse, you know you have the support of your peers. I feel the States can learn a lesson or two from the people of Madagascar. Rather than just thinking about themselves, they should include others as well. After all, for such a powerful country, we have our fair share of citizens struggling to get by. We have businesses shutting their doors having lost their life savings trying to start a business and nothing left to live off of. Give back a little. You never know when you’re going to be in a tough spot and could use a little help.

I let this dog into my heart…

When I first joined the Peace Corps and arrived in Madagascar, I promised myself I would not adopt a pet. I knew how attached I would become to it and how distraught I would be to say goodbye. But three days into my life in my village, I found a small 3 month old puppy scrounging through a trash pit in town trying to survive by eating plastic bags and bits of rotten food. Every bone in her body was accentuated by her thin figure. She looked like she hadn’t had a good meal since she had been born. It broke my heart. How could I leave this dog to die when I could care for it? So I took her in, bathed her, got rid of the fleas that were infesting her fur coat, and fed her. A week later when she became so sick that I had to feed her water through a small spoon, I stayed up with her for three days and nursed her back to health.

I never realized how important Parasy was to me in those first few months of my service until later on. I thought about ETing (or ending my service prematurely) the first few days I was at site. Adjusting to village life was more of a culture shock then I could have ever imagined and I mentally kept telling myself I wouldn’t make it. But when I adopted Parasy, my thoughts changed. It was no longer just about me anymore. I had another responsibility now. If I was to leave, I would have to say goodbye to Parasy and release her back into the wild where she was sure to die. So I stayed. And so did she.

Parasy has been there for me in times of loneliness and frustration, and times of joy. She doesn’t judge me, but loves me unconditionally. She has protected me against creepy Gendarmes (National Army) when they have shown up at my door and gotten angry that I won’t tell them where someone is. She has scared off children that have tried to come into my house and steal something when I run down to use my pit toilet. I have laughed at how she parts crowds just by walking down the streets. I have seen her fight off chickens attacking an abandoned puppy in the road. I have enjoyed the times where we spend hours playing fetch because each time I say we’re done and try to go into my house to work or study, she darts in front of me, growls, and drops the pipe on my feet daring me to take another step. I have seen her grow from a puppy I could hide in my purse to a dog I can barely lift. She is my life. She is my everything.

When I leave Madagascar at the end of my service, she has to come with me. Not because I want her to, but because I need her to. She has become half of me. As my site mate has said before, “sometimes owners start resembling their dogs, and sometimes their dogs start resembling their owners.” Maybe that’s why I get defensive about my food and growl at people when they try to take it away. I wouldn’t dream of leaving her here while I return to normal life in the States.

Bringing Parasy home is going to be more complicated then I thought. She has to meet not one country’s import regulations but two. She needs extensive blood tests, vaccinations, and medical check ups. She has to fly through two different countries before arriving home. While I have not gotten an official quote from the company yet, minimum $3500, and that does not include the costs of things that need to be completed in country before she leaves. I am a volunteer; I have not received a salary in over a year and I have very minuscule savings.

I’m asking for help.

The link to my gofundme donation page is below. Even if you can’t donate, please share my
story. Every dog deserves the chance at a blessed, spoiled life.

My GoFundMe Page

Thank you for reading my blog, and for supporting my cause. Parasy says thank you too! And give me a bone, but that’s besides then point.

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The only place she wants to sit is between my legs.

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How she sleeps. Not quite sure how that is comfortable.

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Her trophy from protecting the puppy. She’s dang proud of it.

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Me and her. Mother and child.

When is giving too much?

I’ve been here long enough to become very aware of my surroundings. The amount of French organizations that pass through Alakamisy is astounding. They reside for around a month, pack up and return to France, to return the next year. An organization comes every year with a large shipping container of donations. Another organization comes every July to build wells and schools (Alakamisy has one of the highest schools to fokontany (burrows) ratio in the Fianarantsoa area. Yet another organization donates hospital supplies each year (in which case it sits in an office in the village hall because the hospital is fully stocked already with hospital beds, wheelchairs, blankets and the such. Organizations donate computers, computers that due to lack of education and inexperience break and pile up in yet another room in village hall. Books get donated in languages the villagers have never seen before and build up dust in the corner of the Maison des Jeunes.

This raises a question in my mind, when is giving too much? Humanitarian aid is a commonality in Generation Yers. We want to see that our life has meaning; that we tried to make the world a better place. For many, that means giving. Giving supplies, money, donations. Heck, I donated my time. But my time, that’s just the point. Peace Corps is not only just building relationships with other countries; it’s sharing our knowledge and gaining some in return.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I can easily translate this to fit.

“Give a village some computers with no training, and they last at most a month. Teach them how to maintain them, and endless amounts of students can learn and build business skills.”

When I first arrived in Alakamisy, my village had 12 computers, newly donated by one the French organizations. To date, we have 2. 10 computers in one year. That means one computer on average broke around every month. Can you imagine going out and purchasing a new laptop every month?

So rather than just making charitable donations to an organization, maybe invest some time in what is to become of your giving. Will the organization just send the money abroad? Will they purchase supplies and ship it? And if so, will they send someone to accompany the shipment and teach the importance of the supplies? Example, mosquito nets in Africa. Great project. Africa still suffers from an overwhelming rate of Malaria deaths. Mosquito nets are to prevent the mosquito carrying the disease from biting and infecting someone. Will someone be sent with those nets to teach the importance of the nets and what it does? Or will it just be distributed, no explanation given, to families and then turned into a fishing net the next day? (True story, that does happen, mosquito nets made into fishing nets.)

Just a thought…

We’re all family.

Malagasy culture really revolves around the family. Many times there are three, sometimes four, generations of families living under one roof. Cousins are referred to more often as siblings, and adults really do take responsibility for their families and make sure their elders are taken care of, fed, and have the right medicine if they are sick.

I always call Alakamisy Ambohimaha “my village.” In actuality, it is not classified as a village but more as a rural town; we do have 32,000 in population. But over 20 square kilometers (the size of my “village”), that’s give or take 1600 people per square kilometer and in my opinion, that’s still “village” material.

I live in Central, Alakamisy Ambohimaha. Given the name, you can infer that Central is the center of Alakamisy; where the small storefronts, town hall, police post, bush taxi station, etc are located. The other ‘burrows’ surround Central. Since everything happens in Central, it can also be inferred that I almost completely work near I live. From my house, I am sprinting distance from everything, the artisan I work with’s house, my daily spot to eat my meals, my office at the town hall, todos.

I knew with a small town typically comes large families. Many of the Malagasy people don’t tend to venture out of their towns when they grow up. This comes from a mixture of lack of access to money as well as their strong ties to their families. Which therefore concludes that there is a lot interconnecting going on.

I just learned this last week that the artisan I work with is related to the tiny family run cafe I frequent every day. My unofficial counterpart and my artisan are second cousins. My water fetcher/clothes washer and my unofficial counterpart are uncle and niece. The employee at town hall I get along so well with is my unofficial counterpart’s brother. My language tutor is my artisan’s second cousin, therefore making my unofficial counterpart and him have a distant, but common family tie. Getting confusing yet?

And to top that off, I was eating my soupy rice and greens breakfast (so scrumdiliumptious) in my favorite eating spot, and the owners find out they are related to one of their patrons, a nun coming from Tana. Sisters. And not “you’re my cousin, but I’m going to call you my sister” way. Actual sisters. Another thing that is common in this country, multiple spouses. The cafe owners’ and the nun’s father are one in the same. All were in their late 30s and had never known they had more siblings out there.

Talk about “we are all family.” Literally. We are.

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This is my favorite person in town. He’s everyone’s “dadabe” (grandfather). I only refer to him as that. He’s the person that comes up to me when I’m eating fried snacks, takes my bag, grabs one, eats it, and then hands it back to me and walks away with this mischievous grin on his face without even saying a word. You just gotta love him. And look at him in his fancy clothes from Madagascar’s Independence Day!

No vacation days left but worth the best vacation ever vacation.

Best vacation ever vacation. Shout out to the Sud-Esters that started that sentence structure here. Best _____ Ever ______. Your legacy lives on. And “Gossip Stage” (last stage that COS’d) or at least Gossip Stage Betsileo Region, yours does too….NAILED IT!

After MSC and before the upcoming supposed elections, some of my Stage and I decided to take a trip down the Tsiribihina River to the city of Morondava, home to the baobobs and Tsingy.

We spent 3 days in canoes, 6 days camping, and 8 days totally enjoying each other’s company (or getting on each others nerves, depending on which way you look at it). It was overall the best trip I have had in country and worth the no vacation days left.

We were split up in three canoes (3, 3, and 4) for the river part of our journey: Cute/Switzerland Canoe, Academic Canoe, and Battleship Canoe. Each earned their name.

Battleship Canoe – 2 slingshots, seemly never ending supply of chick peas as ammo, and binoculars.
Cute Canoe – music playing, reading Harry Potter out loud, sunbathing, and absolute refusal of drinking beer but instead wine and rum and coke. Only ones without a slingshot and always placed in the middle of the other two, when slingshot wars got outrageous.
Academic Canoe – brought along reading materials….academic journals. Whenever they were near another canoe, they were always discussing some article and sharing their opinions. They were very strategic about using their slingshot and limited ammo

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It’s probably not too difficult to determine which canoe I was in….Cute Canoe. Fitting to my personality, right?

It sorta felt like something you would find at sleep away wilderness camp. Camping in tents along the river bed, hiking, eating by candlelight, exploring areas off the beaten path.

We saw little lemurs hopping around and saw/swam/walked though an amazing waterfall.

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The Tsingy, which is by far one of the coolest things I have seen in country (Cirque Rouge in Mahajanga being the next), was something that was out of this world. How does this exist above ground?

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And oh the lovely baobobs. It wouldn’t be a complete trip until you took some ridiculous photos. Like me ‘pushing’ a baobob while my friend ‘pushes’ the other way.

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And at the Love Baobob, Cute Canoe showed our love for each other.

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Best trip ever trip. And I may not have any more vacation days but it was worth the year I have left of service that I will be spending at site. NAILED IT!