Over a month from the arrival

Zero waste

 

In Itaosy, we are living with a part of our waste. There is no real waste collection system and especially no treatment centre so we cannot decently buy and waste without thinking of the lifecycle of waste. We saw waste everywhere on the ground, especially plastics and we cannot add up to this. So we are trying to reduce our waste to minimum.Of course, we were already trying to do it before but in here, this is another level when you’re going out from home and face your own waste.

There are landfills around but we visited them and it is pushing even more to be careful about it. It is just desolation. All kind of waste is burnt, sometimes in order to find something valuable in it.

Downtown, this is another story. At least, in semi-rural areas, you can compost and give some waste to pig owners. But downtown, everything is mixed up. A Chroniques de Madagascar’s short story is explaining quite well the situation with the trade and subsistence around waste. An environmental and social issue…

 

My new urban life

 

I’m now sharing an accommodation with a French couple next to Anosy Lake. I’m really luck as they are adorable and we share many things like swimming, playing guitar and other ecological considerations. They are helping me out to be so far from my partner.

I have a big room with view on a giant terrace. It is opened on a beautiful view of the town’s hills. It is nice to see further. I must say that it is a luxury downtown.

My first night was good except that I’ve heard traffic starting around 4am. I can now walk to go to work. I’m taking 45 minutes and it is not bothering me. On the contrary, I love walking as it is helping me out to think and clear my mind. These ideas are opposite but it is making sense. First, I’m clearing my mind when I’m walking. It is a kind of meditation. Then, I let my mind wandering and ideas are starting to come around.

My excitement will probably be less intense during monsoon…

I tried two itineraries. The first one is following my second taxi-be trip, going through two obscure and heavily polluted tunnels. The second one is going through narrow, dirty and steep stairs, squeezed between houses. While I was taking the stairs for the first time, I met two policemen who told me not to go through them as I could meet thugs. I thought they would ask me something else but finally, nothing else. This second itinerary is not even shorter so no morning sport (but the first itinerary is already a bit of sport and I’m feeling I have less breath those days) and back to pollution.

 

Urban toughness

 

Living again in a big city is reactivating my Parisian reflexes: closed face, rigid walkingand tough attitude. I’m saying Parisian but it is not so specific to Paris as I reconciled with the town from my last stop over there.

But it is over there that I’ve built my armour.

So it made me think about my experience and expectations in here. Of course, I knew coming to Antananarivo that it would be far from my engagements built along all my travel experiences. Being closer to nature, respect nature and mankind, be part of a fair trade, make my humble contribution to development, all of this sounds a bit far for the moment. For safety reasons, I have to be again the one I was before.

 

Please, let me teach

 

My Teaching French as a Foreign Language studies are not the priority for now and it is making me a bit sad. I really would like to get some experience in teaching.

I believe in education as a way to get a better future. It could be French as it could be anything else useful. I can understand that French could be difficult to teach in a former colony, myself coming from two former colonies. I can consider the need to take some distance with History. However, I think it is such a beautiful language and I deeply respect those who were able to use it in keeping their own touch. Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon are those ones. I especially like Frantz Fanon for his book ‘Peau noire, masques blancs’ (Black skin, white masks). A radio chief editor led me this book and I felt my mind enriched and evolved from its reading.

 

Readings

 

I’m currently reading Jack Kerouac’s short stories ‘Good Blonde and others’ and David Foenkinos’s ‘Les souvenirs’. I really loved David Foenkinos’ ‘Je vais mieux’. I’m now living closer from the Alliance française and I will be able to borrow more books frequently.

I just ate Grangé’s ‘Les Rivières pourpres’. I picked it at the Alliance during a kind of borrowing game there…

Fortunately, I have my Kindle in Itaosy as Kerouac stayed downtown and I’ve finished ‘Les souvenirs’ (they were tasty!). Here is one of this schizophrenic way of living: logistics.

 

Pollution, pollution and…pollution!

 

The Centre de Presse Malagasy are upstairs of a disinfestation company. One day, during lunchtime, a very strange smell and _probably_ substances filled the air. I didn’t know if I should keep my breath or not.

Every morning, we sweep the floor at work before starting as dust is coming through everywhere…

Every day I’m working now, I’m going through two tunnels-guts (see previous post) and every morning, I can see dark spots when I’m sneezing.

I had a kind of bronchitis this week. I was scared that it would be a decent bronchitis as it would have kept me in bed for weeks. I don’t know if it is because of the weather or pollution. Time will tell me.

 

Toponymic fear

 

I was recently looking at a Tana map and I discovered _with fear_ a place called ‘death corridor’.

 

Digital memory

 

I always have a USB stick in my bag. On this stick, I’ve found a document which brought me back in Australia.

For our permanent visa application, we both had to write our own version of how we met, François and I for the immigration services as we were not married: the ‘love story’. It was exposing our private life but we did it for get the visa.

I read again François’s story and I felt like opening a tin box full of memories, like in the movie ‘Amelie from Montmartre’. But it did not brought only good memories, like in the movie. I remembered how we were threw out like old socks from the country, that I was cut out from my Australian family and friends, that my brand new professional opportunities were destroyed, that our private life had been exposed and that we gave I-don’t-know how many documents to immigration services…

Anyway, it always brought back good times we had over there, our simple life, rides by the sea, if I was not working. That’s life.

 

Reunionnese people seen by Malagasy people

 

I had the chance to follow a conference about economy at the Centre de Presse Malagasy this week. The lecturer was introducing 50’s authors about African countries economy.

He mentioned topics which were concerning both islands, Reunion and Madagascar. But as other Malagasy people, he was putting a distance between the two islands. Of course, Reunion is French and Madagascar independent but Reunion is an overseas French territory. It was a colony and colonial schemes built the current island. Moreover, we blame Reunionnese indolence because of assistance is a bit similar (just a little bit) from Malagasy behavior with donors. Talents escaping, difficulties for local graduated to find a job on their own country and diasposa, all these points are common to both islands. When people mention ‘allocations braguette’ (horrible allusion to public allowances only based on how many children you’ve got but people think it is only happening in Reunion and it is completely false), it is making me mad as it is not what I am and all that I’ve escaped. Good and bad is everywhere.

People think Reunionnese people are disdainful towards Malagasy people and unfortunately, I’ve seen it. But can you say every Reunionnese is acting this way? And unfortunately, I’ve seen it the other way, Malagasy being disdainful towards Reunionnese people. And it is a shame as both islands have the same roots, as Reunionnese people are Malagasy (first people in Reunion were from Madagascar) and we are all cousins in the Indian Ocean.

 

Development?

 

I was listening to ‘Echos d’ici, échos d’ailleurs’, a RFI radio program, about economics. An author was talking about African economics and mention ‘peopling country’ instead of ‘emergent country’. This man introduced himself as a ‘demo-economist’, referring to demographics.

He was a bit tough as guest, had some ideas that I was not sharing at all but he had very interesting concepts about development, about what it is today, about what it should be and consequences on economics and daily life.

I agreed with him about mobility as development key factor, the contrary of what is currently happening. I also shared his thoughts about thinking global, rather than being country-focused.

I reminded the audience that ‘rich’ occidental countries were built on slavery and ‘corvée’ and we are now asking emergent countries to develop in line with strict and specific (with occidental criteria) human and environmental policies.

 

Moringue next to rice fields

 

Moringue is a kind of martial art, a bit similar to capoeira. You usually find it in the Indian Ocean, especially in Madagascar and Reunion Island.

This weekend, as François was on the ground for work on the further part of Itaosy, we were a moringue training session with the village’s youngsters. It was great.

It is not easy for farmers ‘sons, themselves working on fields, to get entertainment and learning outside from daily tasks. It was beautiful to see, boys and girls, doing these ancient moves, inviting to fight, their white teeth on these candid laughs of companionship.

It made me think of kalaripayattu training session with my friend Raveendran in Reunion Island. This ancient Indian martial art is difficult but François and I (especially I) kept on doing it. Flexibility and muscles came back.

 

If I have time, I would like to do a bit of moringue in here…

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