It is actually the circumcision period.
I knew it thanks to the fanfares’s sound coming from far away. From the window, I’ve seen a crowd lead by a man carrying a sugar cane and a bottle of rum.
Sometimes, you have pictures printed in retinas, like light in the shadow. You can find many little street shops before the Ikopa’s bridge. You can find big rice and other cereals’ bags, vegetables, eggs but also big meat basins.
This vision was first very crude to my privileged eyes by its abundance: lots and lots of meat basins, big meat bits stacked in basins. They were not covered, sometimes almost on the ground. And this big cleaver falling on this tough nerve.
But, after the visual destabilisation, I thought that it was a very occidental hypocrite because you could see the same things in France, Australia or other rich country. It is just that they are not as accessible as in here. Of course, hygiene is not the same but the point is that you are disturbed by the visual. There are also things to say about the smell of crude but I fear to lose readers if I keep on describing it.
However, some associations in France and other countries are trying to show people how animals are killed and sometimes, it was such a scandal that it is breaking news. People are starting to know.
Meat basins but also offal. In the end, it was kind of bearable for me to see this as I had to cut half a lamb and cook offal for my cookery course in Australia. I’ve never been against offal. I’m just a bit reluctant to kidneys’ smell but that’s it.
I’m going through two tunnels on my morning trip. I walked through one on our arrival. It was feared by other people from the Cooperation because of its poor safety, pollution and misery. I looked like a gut to me.
Tananarive could be like an organic entity: with constrictions and digestions of traffic, spits of various fluids and population’s blood pressure.
We went on La Digue’s craft market, north of the city. It was beautiful but like all touristy places, I don’t like pressure for buying. And it was not too bad: sellers were nice and polite. My worst experience was in Yucatan, Mexico, where people could be almost aggressive for you to buy something.
We only wanted to have a look. My eye was caught by a lovely wooden domino box. Having no TV and a limited access to radio, we would like to get society games. We were used to play Scrabble and we are thinking of asking to make a wooden (or other material) one in here as Malagasy people are really good sculptors. And music instrument makers. And embroidery...
I can speak a little bit Malagasy. Now, I can say ‘I’m stopping here’ in the bus (‘Misy miala’). Unfortunately, I can only guess what is happening around me. This week, a receiver tried to keep the change in the bus. He was laughing, talking a lot but before getting down, I asked him to give me my change. He apologized and gave me back my due.
My colleague from the Centre de Presse Malagasy told me to be careful about receivers keeping the change or pretending not to have enough. She told me I would speak Malagasy by the end of my contract, in April 2017. Honestly, it would be such an achievement if I could do it!
I had the great chance to share a bit with Malagasy students about the country, Malagasy youth and their aspirations. I’ve been stuck by their strength: they want to create and they are volunteering. Volunteering in Madagascar is not an easy choice when some people have many jobs to survive.
Atmosphere at work
I had a very cheerful welcome at the Centre de Presse Malagasy. Board members of the association, all journalists, are taking time to meet me and I’m very touched by it. I know the job, with limited availability and other restrictions.
We have great things to do and even, training people. I’m really excited!
Back to urban
I will have to live downtown. I tried to think about different options: bicycle, scooter, car with driver...But finally, it is too dangerous or not profitable so the only option to live downtown.
Pollution is still there: my handkerchief has black spots. Like Paris. I’m comparing these capital cities but I cannot as people are nicer and smiling more in here.
I did some shopping, hoping to find some clothes. I’ve been told not to bring a lot of clothes as I could find good deals. And it was true: prices are very low but the issue is my height! Especially my legs...Clothes are mainly Chinese so sizes are very small and it is ok for Malagasy people as they are the same size.
I’m not fitting in here.
It is still difficult for me to fit in taxis be with my large hips. I even had some words from a lady in a taxi be. This well-dressed, sulky woman said something in Malagasy, probably not nice considering her expression. It was probably something about my size.
I hope I will fit the country.
It is difficult to fit somewhere, to fit your own country when you’re back from another one, to fit abroad... But sometimes,
it could be easier to fit abroad.