I guess people actually have been reading this (yes!), because I’ve received a few questions about my trip, and I’ll answer them here.
– At the bottom of each entry, on the right, it will say “No comment” or “Two comments” or whatever. If you want to add a comment, just click on those words!
– I’ve been mentioning a lot of place names, and not giving a lot of information about where these places are. It’s hard to find a map of the Vondrozo region on the internet (or in print), because the area is pretty remote and I’m not sure there’s a lot of demand for maps! Part of the reason why we did zoning was to help create a better map of the area. I’m attaching the map from the WWF fact sheet on the project, which isn’t very high resolution but shows the village of Vondrozo (in red) sort of at the bottom. To the North you can see Ambohimanana, Tsaratanana (if you look closely – it’s really small!) and Mahazoarivo, and to the East you can see Vohimary. It’s a bit confusing but it sort of gives the layout of the land. I’m trying to get a copy of the map that we helped to make, though, and I’ll post that when I get it.
– Who are we? I’ve been dropping lots of names, but here’s some clarification, I hope.
Left to right: Sarah (half-hidden), Aurore with her leg sticking out, Charles, Manora, me, Jamila and Silvia
Sarah is from Montreal and studies at McGill; Aurore is from Switzerland and works at WWF International in Geneva; Charles is from Quebec and studies at Laval (currently on exchange in La Reunion!); Manora is from France and studies at Singapore Management University; Jamila is from Austria/Vancouver and studies at Carleton in Ottawa; and Silvia is from Spain and studied at Manchester in the UK, and is now living in Paris (I think). I’ve also mentioned Ryan, who is a Peace Corps volunteer from California. He’s living in Vondrozo until 2010, and he looks kind of like this:
haha... I love this photo.
– We all uploaded our photos onto computers and then each took our favourites from everyone else’s albums, so not all of these photos are mine.
– Security. The WWF organized all of our accomodations and transportation from city to city, and we stayed in very decent hotels everywhere. None of us had anything stolen, and I’m not sure if that means we’re lucky or the Malgache are just generally very respectful people. (I think the truth is somewhere in between.) I didn’t take my laptop with me, because I thought I’d be worried about it the whole time, but I actually wished I had brought it (and Charles did bring his, though he left it at the WWF office during fieldwork because really, the rain was the biggest computer concern). In Tana in particular, we were encouraged to be back in our hotel by sort of 10pm and to take taxis if we wanted to go anywhere after dark, because muggings are not uncommon, especially for tourists. So, with the exception of Tana at night, I never really felt unsafe. Camping in the small villages was really no sweat, because everyone knows everyone and we were under constant observation, so we felt like everyone was looking out for us. Mostly, the people we encountered were just really excited to see us in their communities.
– A fosa looks like this:
It’s sort of the size of a fox, I’d say, and it’s the “biggest and scariest” predator in Madagascar, though they aren’t really known to attack humans. They’re more into lemurs.
– “Mora mora” literally means “slowly slowly”. It’s sort of a big part of the national identity, as far as I can tell. People run on “l’heure malgache”, which usually means they’re running late, but “running” isn’t the right word. When we wanted to have a village meeting before noon, we’d announce that it was scheduled for 8am, which usually meant that it would start around 11, when people showed up.
– We were able to charge our cameras and iPods and stuff in Vondrozo when we were there. The village has a generator that provides electricity from 5pm to 11pm daily, and from noon to 11pm on weekends. (Again, this is “Malgache time”, so the times were pretty flexible, as you can imagine.) Our guesthouse had a lightbulb in every room but no plugs, but the WWF office did have some outlets, so we could plug our things in overnight. I think now that the village has cellular reception, more people will be getting outlets installed in their homes so they can charge their phones.
I’m sure I’ve been spouting out a lot of things that require explanation, so definitely send me your questions!