Daily Annoyances in Madagascar:
1: inevitably eating rocks
2: waking up to find that the rats already ate your breakfast
3: learning that most webstores don’t ship to Madagascar
4: screaming pigs at 4 am
5: unexpected rain when you’re 5km from your house, with no rain jacket
6: neighbors that steal your mangoes
7: serious lack of lillet
8: wondering if the street food you’re eating will give you worms, but still eating it nonetheless
9: finding a dead mouse in your last bucket of water
10: Shania Twain, 24/7
11: shoe thieves
12: snails in your shower
Things are moving fairy quickly at site these days. First, I’m trying to finish my CDS, community diagnostic survey, as quickly as I can so I can start sending in applications for funding requests. This means talking to the “important people” in my village (i.e. director of the public school, hospital administrator, mayor, etc.). As for my women’s group, we’ve been selling a lot of vegetables, saving up for our chicken cooperative. Yes, I am going to be a mpiopy akoko, chicken farmer. I recently went to Sambava with 3 women from my women’s group for a meeting at the CSA, centre du services agricole, about starting a cooperative. We were able to visit a Cooperative Akoho Vazaha in Sambava, which is a cooperative that raises “foreign” chickens. They are much larger than Malagasy chickens and produce more eggs, not to mention they cost twice as much. Also, they are a pain in the ass to take care of, as we have to bring their food in from Diego. The major pro for Akoho Vazaha is that they don’t need outdoor space, and can live in a chicken coop alone, which means a smaller chance of thieves. Fortunately, my dad sent a book on chicken farming, as I have no experience with chickens. Thanks dad. I guess chicken farming runs in the family now (my dad trained to be a chicken farmer in India with Peace Corps at UC Davis in the 60’s before the program was suspended due to the Cashmere wars in Northern India; the program has never been re-opened).
Additionally, we’ll be building a public petanque court when I get back from Tana in October. I never expected my women’s group to be at productive as they are, but I owe a large part of that to my women’s group president, who is more than “on top if it.” Maybe even more than I am.
Antananarivo! I’ll be leaving on September 22 for a couple of weeks. 5 days in the dreaded Mantasoa, where the Peace Corps training center is, and the rest in Tana. What will I do in Tana, you ask? Well, that’s easy: drink as much espresso as humanly possible. I haven’t had access to a western-style coffee shop in over 6 months, and I plan to take full advantage of the American-run Cookie Shop in Analakely. They recently opened another branch across the street from the American Embassy, for obvious reasons. I also want to visit a few Malagasy museums, maybe do some shopping, and definitely spend at least 5 hours in Jumbo, the only American-style grocery store on this entire island (I’ve been dreaming of goat cheese, whole wheat bread, and apples, all of which I have never seen in SAVA).
Oh yes, and I have a rat again. The little son-of-a-bitch keeps making a ton of noise at night, and it’s driving me insane. Last night, it even knocked my hiking backpack off of a peg on my wall, then proceeded to eat all of my bananas. Not to worry, I have already set two traps in hopes of killing it tonight.
I apologize for my lack of blog posts, but I promise to post a few while I’m in Tana, and I’ll probably have more time to write when I get back as well.
Spain: 97 days
COS (close of service): 598 days
6-month anniversary in Madagascar: (-7) days
With this, I leave you with this week’s playlist, which isn’t completely accurate because I’ve been listening mostly to Jay Dee’s Donuts Album and lots of This American Life, but I still made a playlist:
- Insomniac Olympics – Blockhead
- Italic Eyeball – Caustic Window
- Remedy – Little Boots
- Movin – Roc C
- Saliva – Viktor Vaughn (RJD2 instrumental)
- Children of the Revolution – T.Rex
- At The End – iio
- Raising The Titanic – Gavin Bryers
- Eye to Eye – Letherette
- The Low Murderer Is Out At Night – Low Motion Disco
- Talamak – Toro Y Moi
- Moon – Little People
- Dirge – Death in Vegas
- Eutow – Autechre