1st Recorded Strava Ride

            Today I decided to go on another bike ride down the northern road out of Vondrozo to the waterfalls/rapids.  This has become my favorite road to ride and is one that I have done a few times now.  It’s a beautiful ride with amazing scenery of rolling hills, forest, and rice fields.  It also has a few precarious ‘wooden bridge’ river crossings and ends (well I stop) at a set of rapids on the river.  The whole trip is on a red dirt ‘road,’ that in most places is washed out and rocky, but great for mountain biking.  Since my phone broke in Mantasoa I have not been able to record any of my rides till now.  I finally got a new smartphone (thank you Elena) and with it my Strava app.  So today, for

Received My School Schedule

            I think a bit of information about the Lycee (high school) is need here before going into my schedule.  There are only three grades in the Lycee: Seconde, Premiere, and Terminale.  These grades are then separated into sections or classes.  There are fewer sections as you go up in grades due to the drop out rate. Now that the ground work is set, I had my first teacher meeting this morning at my new school in Vondrozo.  The Proviseur, sitting in the front of the classroom, lead the meeting and the 15 teachers and I sitting in the student’s desk facing him.  He started by going around the room and introducing everyone, as two of the teachers and I were new to the school.  After this he gave a


            This evening, on the way home, Marolahy learned that someone in the Antefasy tribe in Vondrozo had died and that there was a ‘wake’ being held in the Antefasy house.  I convinced him to take me about the time we were passing the trail to the house, so we made our way up to the house.  Entering, we made our quick introductions and then left to make preparations for our time at the ‘wake.’  During these events the people in the house do not sleep the entire night.  To accomplish this they spend the whole night sitting around talking and drinking.  So leaving the house we made our way to the bar where I bought a liter of ‘alcohol’ as a gift to the family.  We then went to Marolahy’s

The Long Walk Home

            Yesterday evening a Malagasy nature group out of the Highlands came to Vondrozo.  They were kids and young adults, ages 15 – 25, from Fianar and Ansirabe, that were participating in a summer camp that lead them here to see the Corridor and then down to Toliara region.  When they arrived at the Lycee, we cleared out a few of the classrooms for them to sleep in and left them to prepare the rest of their ‘camp.’  This morning I was awakened by camp chants and as I made my way outside I saw that they were all in a circle chanting, listening to speeches from the camp heads about the day, and receiving backpacks as gifts.  After all of their camp stuff was done and they had

Barefoot Basketball

            The Lycee has a basketball court on its grounds and so today Greg, four neighborhood Malagasy, and I went out to shoot around.  Nothing wrong with that, but where I made my fatal mistake was throwing of my flip flops off when we decided to play a real game.  The concrete is extremely rough and it was not very long before I unknowingly acquired blisters on my feet, namely my big toes.  This too was fine till one was cut open on a rock and left the bottom of my left big toe literally skinned.  I had to return home clean and bandage my wound and am now laid up waiting for it to heal. 

First Bike Ride in the Sudest

            I decided today that I wanted to go on a bike ride and try to get back into cycling shape.  The Sudest is known for cycling and most of the volunteers in this region are cyclist.  So after I finished eating lunch, I got my bike and headed up to Greg’s house to meet him for the ride.  I could not have picked a hotter pat of the day.  I do not know how hot it was, but it had to be in the mid 90’s and on a clear day that tropical sun really beats down on you.  But we went anyways.  We decided to head down the southern road, a road that I had walked partly down two days ago while exploring and one that Greg had yet to explore.  The ride was beautiful.  Vondrozo is a beautiful place and, I think it can

Circumcision Fety

             Circumcision is a huge event here in Madagascar and is the reason for one of the big parties that the people here throw.  Circumcision in Madagascar is not done when the boy is a baby like in the States though.  It is done when the boys are older (I am still acquiring into the details of the ceremony, but I believe that it is done anywhere between 5 and 10 years of age) and are knowledgeable enough to be scared and try to run away.  The party that I attended was hosted by Mr. Marolahy, at his house, and was for his sister’s son.  The circumcision and party started at 5 am this morning and consisted of a few ceremonial acts.  The most striking was that the grandfather of the boy eats the foreskin on a banana.  It is also customary, in all important circumstances, to bring some
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