Dear Campus Journal,
Inona no vao vao?*
About two weeks ago, I flew out from Cairo to Antananarivo, Madagascar’s biggest city and capital. It’s the summer season here, but also the rainiest time of the year. The first couple of days were entirely dedicated to orientation, getting familiar with the city and the surroundings of the program center. The capital is crazy; the city consists of tiny “villages” that are all entirely different from each other. The plan for the next three months is to spend it around three parts of the country. Antananarivo, the capital, for about three weeks, Mahajunga (where I currently am, for three weeks), Betafo (a rural area where no French is spoken and we will only communicate in Malagasy, for a week) and then the last month we have the choice of going wherever in the country to conduct research and write a 50 page report on our research topic. For that one month my plan is to work at the Deaf School in Antsirabe and explore Deaf identities in Madagascar.
My homestay house here in Mahajunga is in an area called Amborovy, a rural village on the outskirts of the city. Every morning I have to get up around 5:30 and walk half an hour to the bus stop where I take a “Taxi be” (Malagasy for big taxi) with about 30 other people in a tiny bus. Class in the morning usually consists of two hours of Malagasy and French, followed by a seminar and in the afternoon we usually go on excursions. Some of the things we’ve done so far include visiting rice fields around the country, visits to local schools, hospitals and dohanys (Malagasy prayer sites). We also got a chance to go to the beach, “le petit plage” as they call it in Mahajunga, and spent the day there. We’re heading back to the capital in a week, and on the way back we’ll camp in the National Park of Ankarafantsika – on our way here we briefly stopped by it and I saw dancing lemurs for the first time!