Above: the volunteer house in Tulear, where I helped out a local NGO called “Bel Avenir” (Bright Future) focusing on educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, community development, and environmental awareness.
Tulear is reputably the driest (and poorest) region of Madagascar, but sudden and strong rainstorms are not uncommon. This one dumped heavy rain for some 10-12 hours straight. I got wet.
The dusty streets became Venetian style canals, with the rickshaws rather than gondolas.
Travelling north with two other Americans living with me on Reunion, our driver stopped to buy literally BUCKETS of mangos, which gave the car a sometimes overwhelmingly fruity aroma for the remainder of the four day trip.
Street scene in the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo – or Tana, which is less of a mouthful.
The view from our bungalow on the north coast of Grande Comore in the Comoros. We were the only guests for nearly our entire stay. Interestingly, this region of the island hasn’t had power or running water since 2001.
I really dislike taking pictures of people, but I got this one clandestinely at the Mitsamioulli market to show the sandalwood mask many women in Madagascar and the Comoros wear to protect their skin from the sun. The guy in the plaid is the famous Zorro.
“Mayotte is Comorian and will remain so forever.” Mayotte is the fourth Comorian island but has belonged to France since the other three became independent along with the rest of the French colonies in Africa. The UN has repeated called on France to return the island to the Union of the Comoros, but the Mahorais (citizens of Mayotte) refuse to give up their French passports and so the island is becoming further integrated into the French Republic. In March, it will be given full “departement” status, putting it on the same administrative level as Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and New Caledonia. We were supposed to travel to Mayotte… but… got stranded on Grande Comore. Whatever.
“En Afrique quand un vieillard meurt, c’est une bibliotheque qui brule.”
“In Africa when an old man dies, it is a whole library that burns.”
And for the grande finale, here’s a link to a video of chasing Indri Indri lemurs through the jungle.