Monday, August 31, 2015

Varatraza (The Northern Winds)

Monday, 7/25/15 - ? (Sunday, 8/6/15 possibly)
            Shortly after lunch I returned to my friend’s house to grab my gear, bike, and say goodbye to friends that were soon returning to America.  I was leaving for Diego to work at the university and would not be returning for at least a month.  Diego is a large town in the north of Madagascar and takes a minimum of 24 hours by brousse to arrive there.  A daunting length of time to ride in a brousse but one I had heard was well worth it.  Diego is a location that all volunteers want to visit at some point in their service and I was lucky enough to be going for a full month, with a place to live that was paid for.  I was still unsure if I would be living at the university or in a hotel or exactly what

Playing with Lemurs (Andasibe)

Monday, 7/20/15 – Wednesday, 7/22/15
            Having a few days to spend before my national VAC meeting I decided to go visit Andasibe, a small town to the east of Tana that is the home of the Indri, the largest lemur in Madagascar.  So leaving shortly after lunch on Monday I broussed from Tana to Andasibe and then walked the one kilometer to the hotel I would be staying in.  The town itself, like many small Malagasy towns, does not have much to offer but also does not have that touristy feel like you would expect with so many tourist coming through it.  The town is surrounded by rainforest that is made up of the national forest and a few smaller NGO protectorates.  It was on the edge of the national forest that my hotel was

They Call Me ‘The Mpanjaka’

Friday, 7/3/15 – Sunday, 7/5/15
            This weekend was my third VAC meeting in country, but my very first to fully plan and lead as my regions new VAC leader.  This was also the first VAC for our new Health Volunteers that had just recently installed in their sites.  We also had a special guest in attendance, Brian, the first volunteer in my town, Vondrozo, who had returned to Madagascar to do research for his Ph.D.  It was great to have him there to see that all the Sud Est traditions were still being upheld.  I scheduled this VAC to coincide with the 4th of July so that we could all be together for both occasions.  Overall the weekend was a great success, though everything did not work out the way I had planned. 

Malagasy Independence Vondrozo Style

Friday, 6/26/15
            Although this is the second time that I have been in Madagascar for their independence, this is the first year that I have been able to devote the majority of my schedule to the celebrations; the first Independence Day being spent during my initial training here in country.  This ability to observe and partake in the majority of their celebrations was an amazing, eye opening, and, at times, exhausting experience.  Madagascar received its independence from France on June 26, 1960, and Independence Day every year is celebrated, in many respects, like we celebrate Independence Day in America, with parades, speeches, and fireworks.  What makes it so much more different than in the States is that the