Lycee Had A Special Visitor

            Today my Lycee (high school) had a special guest visitor, the Director of Education for my region.  There had been a big party planned outside in the school courtyard but do to heavy rain we were forced to move the whole thing into one of the classrooms.  So after the room had been prepped everyone piled in and the room soon was filed with teachers, soon to be teachers, and officials of all levels.  Not wanting to be jammed in with so many people my sitemate and me hung around outside until we were asked to come in and sit in the front row; a row completely empty except for us. This we knew would inevitably happen since it happens at every event we attend or happen to

Market Day

Here are a few pictures of my market in Vondrozo on market day.

Weathering the Storm

            This past week I experienced my first big storm in Madagascar as tropical storm Chedza passed across the island. A storm formed in the Mozambique Channel and crossed the island, exiting in the SudEst.  The storm caused fourteen deaths, displaced tens of thousands, and caused countless damage in Madagascar.  Many parts of the SudEst, mainly the coastal areas, were flooded up to the roofs of the houses.  I myself, living in Vondrozo, did not have to worry about flooding as much since my area is very hilly and most of the water simply flows down.  This flow of water does cause one major problem, which was the cause of most of the deaths, and that is mudslides.  There was only one major mudslide in Vondrozo and although it did not injure anyone it blocked the road into town.  The

Tratry ny Taona!

Tratry ny taona (Happy New Years)! This week I brought in my first New Years in Madagascar.  I spent a few days with some of my friends in Loharano, a resort 30 miles north of Manakara.  It is located on the shore of a lagoon on one side, with the ocean only a minute walk on the opposite side.  The water level in the lagoon, we were told was not normal, was very low; it only came up to our knees when we were in it, which was great.  We were able to take advantage of the water level being so low by playing a few games of ultimate Frisbee in the water.  The ocean, on the other hand, was a different story.  It has to be the strongest ocean I have ever been in.  The water level

A Tropical Christmas

            I have been asked to write what I did for Christmas in Madagascar, but since I did not do much this post will be short.  Having spent the week previous to Christmas in Tana on a business trip, I spent the day before Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Eve itself in a hellish attempt to try and make it back to Vondrozo for Christmas.  There were no brusses going from Tana to the Sud Est, which is unusual, so I caught what would be the last brusse out to Fianar.  Arriving in Fianar the following morning, Christmas Eve, I found out that there were no more spots on the brusses going to Farafangana, but was able to find one seat going to Manakara.  So calling ahead to Manakara, where

The Proclamation!

            Today the Lycee had our first proclamation of the year.  The proclamation is where the students receive their report cards for the previous trimester.  Here in Madagascar this is done a bit different than what you would experience in the States.  For starters the proclamation happened on a slightly rainy Saturday morning in the open court yard in the middle of the Lycee compound.  All students must attend the proclamation to receive their report card otherwise they have to pay a fee at a later date.  The students and teachers are not the only ones to attend the proclamations either.  This

The Hardest ride in Madagascar!!!

            I have, since finding out that I was going to be living in Vondrozo, wanted to bike the 44 miles from Vondrozo (where I live) to Farafangana (my banking town).  Today, wanting to save money and get in some miles on my bike, I finally decided to do it.  Having packed my saddlebags the night before I had planned on leaving at 5 am, but upon waking up and finding that it was raining outside I had to wait and debate if I really wanted to make the trip by bike at all.  I knew the road would be a mess after a rain like that and it would make an already hard ride even harder.  I knew that the worst part of the ride was the first part, with its steep and rocky climbs and downhills and its
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