Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween in Madagascar

ValBio has a huge party to raise money for the employees’ association every year. We went to the party this past Saturday and had a blast. We all got dressed up, well, dressier than what we usually wear, and went out to a nice dinner in town. It was fun to get ready and not just wear field clothes. Our group was the first ones at the party and we all started dancing as soon as we got there. The building was an empty warehouse used just for large gatherings like this and they decorated it to look like a rain forest. There were Malagasy flags and palm leaves all along the walls. A DJ blasted Malagasy dance music and even Madagascar’s national anthem. Once everyone outside was admitted in the dance floor was packed with people; it was a crazy and fun and will definitely be one of my most memorable Halloweens.

Before we know it, it’s November! We are all getting excited about going home and have begun to plan our first days and meals in America, but the thought of leaving everyone we’ve met in Ranomafana is also very sad. Since everyone is so friendly here, we have become very close with the employees at ValBio, all the guides and the kitchen staff. All the students are finishing up their research and we’ve been spending our days enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve had this past week.
This week Collette, Hamutahl and I began teaching English classes at the children’s library in town. Any children who would like to can come to the library in the afternoon after school. We have taught vocabulary, past tenses of verbs and had fun learning ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and the ‘hokey pokey’. There are about 8 kids that we teach who are around the age of 12, but after classes we run around with 20 other younger kids. One day we walked though the town to collect plastic litter, wrappers and bottles and the next day we made little toys out of the garbage.

Today we turned ‘duck, duck, goose’ into the opposite game so each kid has to think of new opposites, like sun and moon, tall and short and so on. It is a lot of fun meeting these kids and getting to know them. The only books in English that they have are the storybooks that my mom sent me from her library. The man in charge is so happy that we are able to come and I will definitely be keeping in touch with him when I’m back in America. Another great thing about the library is that my two favorite dogs (which I named Masomanga and Sissy) are always there. These dogs always find us when we are in town and stay with us all day just for the company…so they are in most of my pictures of the town.

Yesterday I visited a beautiful garden that serves as an example garden for the villagers. It was great to hang out there for a few hours and pick the ripe lychee fruit off the trees. Today I am going with Collette to the school where she teaches English for her project. It will be her last day there so we will be giving out school supplies and playing a lot of games with her students. I heard that the Yankees won the World Series, woo hoo!! Congrats Yankees fans! I hope everyone is enjoying November as much as I am!