It’s been almost four weeks since we arrived in Madagascar—a not inconsiderable duration to be disconnected from email and internet access. We’re currently on a weeklong technical field trip, which is why we (finally) can get online. I’m posting this and two other entries detailing Peace Corps life thus far, along with (hopefully) a few pictures.
Our destinations this week include Moramanga (to talk with ANGAP, or the Madagascar National Park service), Andasibe (the most visited park on the island), Tamatave (a major port on the Indian Ocean), and Full Point (a beach town that we’ll be hanging in). Highlights should comprise lemur sightings, night hiking, ocean swimming, visits with current volunteers in the field, and lots of bonding time for the training group.
There’s plenty to read in the two other posts, so I’ll just take a minute to relay one important point. Site announcements were a few weeks ago, so we all found out where we’ll (tentatively) be living for the next two years. I’ve been slated for a post in (…drumroll…) Vondrozo, a small community in southeastern Madagascar. It’s about 70 km inland/due west from Farafangana, a coastal town where I’ll do my banking, etc. The job description sounds pretty ideal; Vondrozo sits at the southern end of the Eastern Rainforest Corridor, and I’ll be working with WWF and the local COBA (forest users group) to bolster conservation efforts and improve forest resource management. It’s one of the most remote Peace Corps sites in the country at the moment. Farafangana (to the east) is about four hours away by taxi-brousse (long-distance van, the most common form of transportation in Madagascar), and the way heading west from Vondrozo is generally impassable for automobiles. The road to Farafangana can be unreliable during the rainy season (the guide book I have calls it a route “for the serious adventurer”), so trips to the bank could involve a day and a half of biking. Should be interesting.
Anyway, enjoy reading/skimming/ignoring the other posts, and I’ll hopefully write again soon with a rundown of our trip this week. Peace and health,