Money, Money, Money…Monnnnney

            Madagascar may be very expensive to travel to but once you are here the Dollar goes a long way.  On average the Dollar equals 3,000 Ariary.  That might be just an arbitrary number for most people, and it was for me when I first arrived here, but let me break it down for you.  Almost any food stuffs can be bought for under a dollar.  Fruit is something I buy everyday and it is in abundance in this country.  The most expensive fruit for me to buy, a pineapple, cost me 400 Ar or $0.13.  Most fruit cost 100Ar ($0.03) for multiples; for example four oranges, a bunch of lychees, or two mangoes.  A regular meal for dinner cost on average about 900Ar ($0.30) to make and if I feel like
splurging on a steak and fries meal when I am in town it would be 5000Ar ($1.66). The most relatable food item, pizza, cost on average about 13,000Ar ($4.33), but is also a splurge food item for us.
            Though the large majority of the things I spend money on here are food, everything else is relatively cheap as well.  For instance a cheap hotel will run you 10,000Ar – 25,000Ar ($3.33 - $8.33) a night. Travel, arguably the most expensive part of my life here in Madagascar, costs me 32,000Ar ($10.66) to get halfway across the country by brousse.  And one can not leave out the boozes.  A beer, 65cl (22oz) THB, or a small bottle of rhum cost 2,200Ar ($0.73).  Needless to say things are cheap here in Madagascar, but sometimes not cheap enough.  This leads to bargaining to save those few 100Ar, or 1,000Ar; and yes I have argued over a few cents myself. 
            The Dollar may go a long ways here in Madagascar but the Malagasy people, and Peace Corps Volunteers, do not get paid in Dollars, but in Ariary.  The average person here lives off of less than $2 a day.  And though food is cheap it does not leave much money for the promotion of a better life; if there is even enough for food.  
The Malagasy money (missing the 500Ar)...It never looks this clean

My Thanksgiving meal (6000Ar = $2.00). Sausage, green beans, salad/pickled cucumber/dressing, mashed potatoes/gravy, pineapple flambe, tea, and mead.


Blogging Abroad's Boot Camp Blog Challenge: Starting January 2015

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