Isalo National Park



            Isalo National Park is located just outside the town of Ranohira, which is in the south central highlands.  The area, now known as the center of the sapphire trade, is sacred to Bara tribe who use the caves and areas inside the park as burial sites.  The park is known best known for its enormous sandstone formations and canyons, tranquil pools, endemic plants, and lemurs.
            Upon arriving in Ranohira I made the short trek to my hotel in sight of the cliffs of the national park.  The following day we hired a car to take us into the park and with a guide made the day trek through the park.  First walking through the sandstone cliffs where we saw some of the burial sites of the Bara tribe.  The tradition of the tribe is to first put their dead in a cave, which is walled up with stones, for five years.  After this time they exhume the body and move it to their

School Week

            Every year, three days in the middle of February are given to celebrate the students here in Madagascar.  Each of these days has planned activities for the students to participate in to honor them, allow them to give back to the community, and to show of their skills in sports.  Although some of these events differ from year to year, many stay the same. For example the parade, assembly, and sport tournaments.

Market Day

Here is a video of market day in my town, Vondrozo, in Madagascar.



Assembly

Every Monday before school starts my school has an assembly where the students line up in military fashion, sing the nation anthem, and then listen to a speech from the Proviseur to find out what is new for that week. For a video of the Assembly click here.




Teachers

Office/Teachers Lounge

Last years school schedule


My New Normal


            In coming to Madagascar I had to learn a completely new language which was nothing like any language I had ever heard before.  During the first three months of training we had language training everyday to ensure that we would be able to converse with people once we arrived at our sites.  There are some words that did not have direct translation into English, relate a more direct meaning than the English translation, or are just easier to use than the English words.  In these cases many Volunteers will just use these Malagasy words when speaking English to each other.  It has become our new normal of speaking.  It is so much a new normal that I find myself quite often using

Tour de Sud


            For those of you that have been following my blog you know that I recently completed a bike ride along the south eastern coast of Madagascar, from Vangindrano to Fort Dauphin.  This of course, for me, was the most epic part of my travels during the holiday season, but it was far from the end of them.  The rest of my travels during the holiday took me all the way around the southern tip of the island in a big circle ending back at home (see picture below).  During this trip I was able to see the southern most point of Madagascar, visit the sites of a few other volunteers, see the spiny forest,
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