MadagascarApril 8 in Madagascar ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C
An amazing day in so many ways, so much to process, a sensory overload really ,delight and despair, to be honest…
Our Port of Fort Dauphin ,is run by Rio Tinto, so mining for a titanium product ,makes this an area of relative prosperity ,for some, housing provided, good jobs and good wages. Also money into the infrastructure of the area, with help for displaced children and more.
Our first trip was to a reserve to see the Lemurs. A very bumpy ride, school bus, and the roads ,apart from near the Port, are bad, just dirt and bridges of question…A ride through the real Madagascar, little villages, of thatched huts ,very small, some have some wood and the occasional one with some tin .Primitive to the extreme, bathing in the creeks, washing the children and the clothes, no electricity in the main, no water, just carried from nearby. Cooking outside on open fires ,many, many children, running alongside the bus, happy in greeting, but later with outstretched hands.. Not appearing undernourished , Hospital birth encouraged ,gets a Birth Certificate, then vaccinations and schooling, so some things are progressing ,except some still live in the forest and are missing out.
Cows are valuable, and every Family needs these, they are for food/milk, wedding gifts ,and sacrifice at times…I think not every Family has them, Brahman type, and plenty to eat for them, lush jungle growth. Stunning landscape, high mountains and huge rocks .Granite mountains ,some of these are dynamited ,early morning, and quarried in a primitive fashion , we could see the men working in the distance ,sold for building , in the towns ,everything is transported by a rubber tyre cart, pushed by several..In short ,they have nothing. However smiling and know nothing else of course .Hard to accept that you actually cannot change a thing, giving donations here and there, changes a day perhaps.
The Nature Reserve was very good, many gardens cultivated with vegetables, and flowers, kept well, a crocodile, not sure why, Tortoise, healthy and endemic, many different hibiscus ,used for tea and other things. Huge trees ,and the Lemurs, first sighting elusive ,and we thought humm, not going to see them, but we did, and many of them ,so close, Brown ones, plain ,but some quite large ,then the white ones with tiny dark faces, they are the bounding ones, and can leap great distances, and the ring tailed, so very cute, huge long tails with 28 rings of black and white ,the tails are for balance .Some are fruit eaters some insects, but in Families of about 8/9, never interbreed ,and leave to go to a different troop to mate ,clever and very endearing… They do not eat the Lemurs, that would be evil,like eating the ancestors.
Walked to a lovely shaded clearing ,to a dance group and some handcrafts being sold, with drinks and baking…Their embroidery ,perfect, the “guild” produce this ,told to me by a beautiful girl , in impeccable English , the work lovely, but very expensive. A nice walk back through a Bamboo Avenue, to the throngs waiting to sell tiny treasures , being kept at a distance by a Policeman with a little whip like stick ,he didn’t use it.!
What a morning ,so much to see and we did really love seeing the real Madagascar. Their Capitol is 3 days drive away ,and sometimes longer in bad weather, non stop ,change of drivers…
In the afternoon we took the tour of the town nearby, great guide, but not anything very pretty, huge markets of Food, Chickens and Ducks, [Their chickens are a very tall variety], clothing of all kinds ,and everything else imaginable…No refrigeration ,so daily shopping.. Oysters ,and Lobster pots for sale.
Lobsters are a big export ,apparently with a French Company .[They were French until 1947.] Britain involved, independence, but while that seems good, it is often not so. However the French took slaves in great numbers ,the buildings are still there, a memorial of terrible times. That had to stop .! A troubled world ,and on it goes…
Their fishing boats are primitive, dug outs and outriggers. Some lovely beaches, but lots are dangerous ,an exposed coast.
There is a new PM ,with good intentions ,tourism a great hope..but a very long way to go. Felt so pleased there was the great collection of clothing and things given ,from the ship.
It was hot, but not unbearable, an unforgettable experience. At some stage of last night I wondered ,did they have blankets, certainly no beds, and huts so tiny ,to fit them all…! Much food for thought.!
Sailing to Maputo ,to disembark the Safari guests in 2 days time.
Bye from us, in the Mozambique Channel..Read more