Every second week, our budget allows for us to go on a ‘reporting weekend’ – a chance to get away from camp for a bit, travel, and upload our data with marginally better internet than we can get here.
We missed our first reporting weekend, so Savanna and I were both extremely excited to get to visit another part of Madagascar, especially as our friend Ando, a PhD student here at KAFS, said she would come with us.
We went to Mananjary, a city right on the east coast of Madagascar. We got there by taxi brousse, which is how most Malagasy travel. Picture a seven seater van, only with 20 people crammed inside, and a couple of meters of luggage tied to the roof. Luckily for us, we were given the best seats up the front so that we wouldn’t be sick on the 2 hour windy journey!
We get a lot of attention in Kianjavato, but most people know about the MBP and what we’re doing here. In Mananjary no one knew us so we attracted all sorts. An extremely drunk lady convinced she was speaking English rather than Malagasy, children daring each other to touch the vazaha‘s white legs, boys telling us we’re too white – you name it.
Our hotel was right on the beach, and a questionable dog immediately took to following us wherever we went. Aside from not being able to go in the water (use your imagination), the beach was great – there were herds of Zebu cattle, lots of fishermen, people laying their washing out in the sand to dry, and traditional wooden fishing boats that bring people from all over Madagascar down a river to the sea.
It was fantastic having Ando with us, who took on the role of tour guide / translator, despite never having visited the city before herself.
We had such a great time, can’t wait for our next reporting weekend!