:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tiako i Madagasikara (Becky)

Hazolahy tours southern Madagascar

Akory Aby! Inona voavoa?

As requested, here are a few photos from Madagascar... It's so beautiful, someday I must return. I lived in Ankaramena, a small village in the far southeastern part of the island from 2000-2002. While my time there was certainly full of ups and downs, challenges and setbacks, and moments where I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into, my selective memory has filtered all that out. My recollections center around the wonderful families in Ankaramena who looked out for me, taught me their langauge, customs, and beliefs, and made me feel at home halfway around the world. I remember the mangoes, the ocean, the kids and the striking beauty of the landscapes and the people. I was introduced to an entirely new perspective on virtually everything, a different set of rules, a refreshing set of priorities. Ahhh, the Malagasy Republic. Mahafinatra. Take a look.

My little shadows. These kids knew what I was I doing and where I was doing it all times. That took some getting used to...

Heading home after a
long day of shark fishing...

Off to market. I did not master carrying anything on my head, just in case you were wondering.

Preparing the rice fields... They set up an intricate irrigation system to flood the paddies which always amazed me (as we lacked running water and electricity). Then they chase the zebu around to break up the mud clumps and it's ready for planting.

My neighbors and friends... who are as amazing as the view

A day in the life...

And I'll end with some malagasy music... here is one of my favorite songs.

Veloma, COFFEE-mates!


Steph said...

Wow... did you take all these pics? They're incredible. I'm still just in awe that you spent two years of your life there. What an amazing, life-changing experience that had to be!!! What kind of work were you doing, or were you studying there? Oh, the questions I have for you right now! :)
I actually really liked the music and googled some more, which I enjoyed while doing some chores this morning. Of course, I have no idea what the songs were about beyond enjoying the feel and mood they set.
Thanks for the peek into that time in your life. I hope to see/learn more in the future!
Veloma, Becky COFFEE! :)

blj said...

Thanks, Steph! Yes, I took all the pictures and they were all taken in my village except for the shark fishing pic which was obviously taken at the beach, which was about 25 miles away. I lived 25 miles from the beach!!! And oh yeah, I forgot to tell you why I was there... Peace Corps, community health educator. Good times :)

I have soooo many more pictures, these are only a handful that I have digital. I'm planning on getting them all scanned in and doing something really cool with them. But I've been planning that for a while now... It'll happen one day soon, I'm sure...

amy said...

These pictures were/are truly magnificent. And, man, Becky! You totally got the mommy experience without ever having to be a mommy (mommies have shadows too--usually, not quite this many, and I bet these shadows never followed you into the bathroom and to sit on the floor staring at you intently as you peed....at least I hope that didn't happen to you, in Madagascar. Horrors! if so, and if you need a supportive shoulder to deal with the remaining effects of this, I'm here for you).

The youtube song reminded me of my standing invitation to visit South Africa one day. Charles and I are supposed to take a trip somewhere incredible next year for our 5th anniversary...maybe I can talk him into Madagascar!

What a tremendously cool 2 years to spend, learning about a whole different way of life and looking at the world, food, language, culture. I live vicariously through people like yourself, until Miss M is old enough for me to drag her to places like this.

Awesomeness, Ms. B, and thanks for sharing!

Wendy said...

Becky, I was wondering the same things as Steph - if you really took those incredible photos and why you were there. Thanks for the clarification and WOW, those pictures really do look like they're straight from a magazine.

I love knowing this piece of your history, it so deepens who you are, to me. I really can't even imagine having such a profound and counter cultural experience. That has to really rock a person's core.

Have you been able to keep in touch with your Madagascar friends and do you plan on ever going back?
THANKS for sharing - you should definitely do something with your photos! Maybe incorporate them into a memoir??

patresa said...

woo! becky, i'm so glad you posted madagascar pics and stuff! i want to hear more more more. MORE! give it!

i want to know how it changed you. what you took from it. what it was like. the small things. the big things. all of it. and i want to see more pictures.

hop to, lady! i have demands!

blj said...

Amy: Bathroom!? What bathroom?? My shadows never followed me into my pit latrine, but when we went swimming/did laundry at the river they used to pull at my swim suit so they could see the whitest parts of me, namely my butt and breasts. "Footsy be, Footsy, be!" they'd scream and laugh. Translation: Unbelievably, shockingly, tranluscently white! (ok, so not a literal translation) The rest of my body had a pretty nice tan, but they were shocked and intrigued by what lay beyond the tan lines!

And if you need a translator/tour guide when you and C go to Madagascar, you know how to get ahold of me.

Wendy: I have had a hard time keeping in touch with people from my village. No phones, no mailboxes, no computers. I have sent letters to people in the nearest town, with the hopes that they can pass it on to someone who is going towards my village, but you're just never sure if anything actually makes its destination. And yes, absolutely must go back someday...

Patresa: OK, OK, I'm on it. Thanks for the encouragement!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Wow, amazing pictures. I'm with P too, I want to know so much more. I agree too that you need a Becky Memoir. Your art through pictures is just freakin' amazing.... and beautifully grand and eloquent.... and so touching to the soul.

And seriously, Peace Corps! Holy moly, the admiration just keeps building. I always wanted to do that, and just never did. You are one selfless chick. Nice work on being you.

Rock on, and keep that camera with you, even in the public bathroom. Who knows what you could make of any moment!

Katie said...

Becky, I am so sorry I took so long to comment, the days dripped away from me! I am SO excited you posted some of your pictures from Madagascar!! What a soul-changing place that must have been, I can't but imagine all the new experiences you had and for TWO YEARS! So lucky. A friend of mine went to Guyana in the Peace Corps and met her husband there; they make it back once a year or so. I love listening to her stories of the people and the culture. I know from googling both countries just now that they aren't anywhere near each other and in fact Madagascar is an island, which I also didn't know until I googled it approximately 40 seconds ago, but it's still exciting to hear about such far-away travels.

And that song.... I don't know what to say about it except I just loved it. The rythems, the women's tones and song... just beautiful. I just bought the cd called Favourites from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the group that sang support for Paul Simon on his Graceland cd. Their singing is so calming and peaceful. It just feels authentic.

Anyway, thank you, thank you for sharing your pictures and that time in your life with us. I hope to see more!!