Petition to DreamWorks

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!

https://www.change.org/petitions/dreamworks-animation-donate-a-portion-of-profits-from-the-madagascar-movies-to-madagascar

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The only Malagasy you will ever need to know.

The first half of this last week, I conducted a hospitality training in Antsirabe, Madagascar. I focused on social networks, marketing, and expectations of hotels, especially hostels. RAVAKA is an tourist organization that has decided to convert the second story of their home into a hostel. They have asked me to help this happen, and I can’t be more thrilled.

In between sessions, a fellow volunteer and I decided to make a podcast of Malagasy sentences. It started out as a joke, something to pass the time while Cyclone Felleng raged outside. But after an hour of brainstorming, we became very serious about it. Before we knew it, we were recording it and editting so we could share it with others. We went for sayings as outrageous as possible, some things we actually say, others, things we want to say, but may not have to guts to.

So please, sit back, and mazatoa.

And as a preface, one of things we want to say but don’t is that we will eat children. Parents in this country tend to tell their children that vazahas eat children if they misbehave. Sometimes, if the situation is right, we want to play on this myth; we don’t, but it doesn’t hurt to dream. So just think of that when you listen to our podcast. :)