Walk Down Memory Lane

             As I walk down the streets of Farafangana I am reminded of my first time arriving in this town.  I sometimes see the dark empty streets of the Farafangana as they were when I was first came through here during my installation.  So much has changed during these last two years. 
            When I first arrived two years ago it was my first time in the Sud Est.  I had just sworn in as a new Peace Corps Volunteer and spent the last two days traveling with three other volunteers in a Peace Corps car from Antananarivo to Farafangana, our banking town and what would act as the staging point for our installations.  As we had made our way down we stopped at all of the volunteers
sites along the way to say hi, but no one seemed to be home.  It turned out that they had all biked to Farafangana to welcome us there.  After settling into our hotel, a small wooden bungalow, we made our way to dinner at another “Vazaha (foreigner)” hotel with the volunteers that had come to greet us.  Afterwards, we walked to the beach for a bonfire.
It is this walk, unimportant in occurrence, that I remember the most.  It is what has stuck in my mind and what flashes back from time to time as make the same walk these days.  It had gotten dark by the time we started our walk through town. We, the new volunteers, had no clue where we were going; were being lead blind through this new town.  The streets were dark and deserted; not a person in sight.  We made our way down the dark streets, by a row of wooden stalls made of sticks, down more darker streets, till we heard the roar of the ocean.  The lack of activity is what I remember most; the separation from the familiar. 
Much has changed since my first walk down those streets.  The streets are no longer deserted like they once were.  They are teeming with people going to new bars and karaoke bars that have opened up in town or just walking around to pass the time.  Those once dark and lonely wooden stalls are now lit by kerosene lamps and house people selling street food.  The town has a more bustling night life than it had before.  I still do not know where we had the bonfire on the beach, but I pay a visit to the beach every time I pass through.  It too, like many things, has also made changes with time.  
Main road in Farafangana

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