A Different School Culture



            Madagascar has a different school culture, like many other things, than the U.S.  Having spent the year before coming to Madagascar teaching high school history, not to mention having spent most of my life in an American school, I thought I was prepared for a teachers life in Madagascar.  Looking at the school culture now, two years later, it seems easy and chill but that was far from the case when I first arrived.  For about the first six months it was confusing; infuriating at times.  I learned over my first year the “schedule” when things would happen or not happen and now I have adjusted and just roll with it. 
            The school schedule has to be the one thing that gave me the most trouble in the beginning.  There are many holidays in the Malagasy school calendar but what is not there, at least in my school

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

Serving Alone


            Within the first month of arriving and starting my training here in Madagascar I received the name of the site where I would be living and serving for the next two years;  Vondrozo, a small town in the Sud Est of Madagascar.  I knew very little about the place at the time except for a ruff idea of its location on the map.  Not too far from everything, it seemed, and I had some friends that were going to be living in my banking town just 70 km (42 miles) away; not to shabby. 
The first thing I learned about the site, and what was repeated to me every time the town was brought up, was how bad the road was.  Tena ratsy be ny lalana (Really very bad road)” was every Malagasy person’s response to “I’m going to be in Vondrozo.”  But I mountain biked in the States, I

Out and About



            Those of you that follow me on Facebook have probably noticed that I have been posting pictures of Madagascar with the hashtag #OutandAbout. This has been part of a photo challenge that has a different theme each month with ten different photos prompts aligned with it.  During the ‘Out and About’ challenge I tried to show images from around Madagascar so that viewers could see the differences of this great country.  Madagascar has many different terrains, tribes, dialects, housing, ext but it is still one country, one island, one people. 
            This challenge has had me show many different terrains from all over Madagascar taken

Morondava

            Morondava, located on the west coast of Madagascar, is one of the most popular destinations for tourists.  The town itself is sits on the coast of the Mozambique Channel and is the starting point for many different excursions along the coastal area.  The two main attractions of this area is the Alley of Baobabs and the Tsingy, sandstone rock formations created by erosion.  The Alley of Baobabs, the only excursion that I did, is a short car ride outside of town on a red dirt road.  As you travel down the dirt road between rice paddies and through small stream crossings you are inundated with the beauty of the Malagasy countryside.  The rice paddies and roadside become dotted more and

Ambositra


            Ambositra is a town in the central highlands of Madagascar located on the RN7, the main thoroughfare when going from Tana to anywhere in the south.  Although it is a fairly big Highland town, it is one that many travelers and tourist simply pass through on their way north or south.  This being said it is a welcome stop for those who want to purchase any wooden souvenirs or see one of the historic Rovas (royal palace).  Ambositra is known as the center of the wood carving industry in Madagascar and one will find streets lined with shops selling wooden figurines, ornately carved furniture, games, and such.  With the trade in wood products comes the occasional trade in rosewood,

Ambalavao


            Ambalavao is a small bustling town in the southern highlands of Madagascar set off the main road on the way to Isalo from Fianarantsoa.  Though it may not be a main stop, or even a stop, for most passersby’s it is a great town to see the creation of some of the iconic souvenirs found throughout Madagascar.  The town itself is a typical Highland town with its brick houses and churches but what makes it different is the large cattle market, Antaimoro paper, silk making, and it is the stageing place for the trek up Andringitra, the second tallest mountain in Madagascar. 
            Upon my arrival in Ambalavao I found a hotel just outside of town which turned out to have
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14