Ryan posted this on his facebook – an incredible photo account of some forestry operations in Madagascar. So beautiful! (But a huge problem.)
Category Archives: Madagascar
Alright, it’s true that I’ve been posting shocking news updates with no corresponding commentary. My bad! Leave it to Vicky to call me out. I want to shout out to Vicky, though. She is pretty much my very oldest friend (I mean, we’re the same age, but our friendship is almost as old as we are), and she’s super supportive and loyal. I mean, we went to pre-school together at Mary Poppins Early Learning Academy. We were (almost) next door neighbours. We shared vacations (ski hills, cottages, beaches, and the streets of Paris and London) for years. I am lucky to have her! Here is a photo of us skating on the Bedford Basin in… I’m going to guess Jr. High, based on our outfits. My old house is on the far right, Vicky’s is directly behind us.
Anyway. Vicky is not one for mush, so I’ll cut it off there. But she’s right about my lack of real updates. So, here goes.
There has been a sudden power shift in Madagascar, from the president to the military to Rajoelina. I’m not really sure if that means that things are getting better or worse, but I’ll keep watching. I do know that Rajoelina is only 34 (or maybe 36), and the Malagasy constitution states that the president of the country must be at least 40 years old, and I know that the African Union was saying that they wouldn’t support anything “unconstitutional.” So, we’ll see. http://www.sobika.com is a really good place for minute by minute updates, if you can read French!
BUT, the twist is that the Peace Corps have suspended the Madagascar program, and have pulled out of the country. They’re in South Africa right now, figuring out their next moves. Some will probably go home, and some will be re-posted elsewhere, so where Ryan goes will definitely have an effect on my plans. I have a few possibilities, and I’ll let y’all know when I have more details, but I really am dedicated to making this happen, especially since you all have been so generous and supportive, and you’ve helped me raise the money I need for this project. (Nasty letters and phone calls to South African Airways though, who have withheld $800 of my plane ticket refund. I’m working on that… Actually, more accurately, my mom is working on that. I know she’s nice, but she’s feisty!) And WWF has put so much into it for me already, paying my health insurance and putting up with (and channeling) my relentless enthusiasm. (Thanks Moia!) So, as it stands, I’m trying to find another way to make this happen and stick with the Explore Programme. I’ll let you know how things are progressing… for real this time.
Hello friends and family and folks who are interested in my adventures,
I’ve realized that my last few posts have been links to news releases, which are helpful but impersonal. So, I will let you know what IIIIII have been up to!
I’ve been working like a maniac, mostly. It’s alright, and I’ve been making a fair bit of money, but I’m quite bored of it – when I arrived home in the fall, I was planning to be back in Madagascar in January. Then it was February, and now it’s…? This last month, though, has been particularly stressful. I was definitely ready to be there on Feb 13, as I had planned. It’s not that I’m sick of Halifax (I’m not, really, I love it), or of my family (I definitely love them!). I just need an adventure, and doing pointless work here isn’t doing it for me. Lately, though, every time I feel down and blah, I stand on my head, which gives me a new perspective and energy and rosy cheeks and a little rush. It’s a quick and temporary fix, I know. But I’m pretty much on standby right now, waiting for WWF to tell me that I can safely go back to Vondrozo, and it’s hard for me to think longer-term than standing on my head because I’m really hoping that I’ll only be on standby for a short time – I don’t want to commit to a new job or a traveling adventure. I just really want to go to Madagascar. You know?
There’s lots of good news at the moment, though. Andry (the mayor/opposition leader) and Ravalomanana (president) actually met face to face (with mediators) and talked yesterday. I believe it was the first time they had actually spoken since this whole thing blew up. There have been rumours of a power-sharing type scenario. (I mean, hey, if Mugabe can do it…) And, from what I’ve been reading, especially on sobika.com, it seems like everyone has had enough rioting and looting, and just wants to get back to regular life. (And I read that Andry and Ravalomanana agreed on that as well.) The Peace Corps have pretty much all gone back to their sites (except Ryan and a few volunteers from the south east, who hope to be back at site this week). WWF has posted on the Explore website ( http://panda.org/how_you_can_help/volunteer/volunteer/) that the batch of volunteers who were supposed to begin on Feb 8 are now aiming for the second half of March, so I’m just waiting for the word, and I’ll re-book my flight.
There’s another little tidbit that I’ve been wanting to share. So, as you know, if you’ve been reading this blog, I’ve been raising funds for this adventure. I’m going back to Vondrozo to help start an environment club in the elementary school, which is especially exciting because I’m writing the curriculum myself, based on a lot of my Project WILD training and camp experiences. I’m also really excited to be working with the women’s group, and giving them whatever support they want for their projects. So far, based on my calculations, I’ve received $2 925 in donations from all of you wonderful people. I can’t express how grateful I am, really. I feel so supported, so loved, and so happy to know that you all have faith in me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Misaotra. (And there’s still time to donate!)
Finally, just to remind you of a few of the beautiful reasons why I can’t wait to return to the Red Island, here’s the link to myMadagascar album on facebook. :)
I’ll keep you posted!