Saturday, September 10, 2005

Children of Madagascar

Well it seems as though installing our internet is going to take longer than expected, so I'm stealing the neighbor's for the time being (sh...).

Here are some pictures of children in Madagascar. As soon as they see a camera, they rush over to get their picture taken. They love too peer at the digital camera to see the picture afterwards.
I have so many pictures of Malagasy children. Half the population in Madagascar is 17 years or younger, and when you travel through the country, you can tell! There are children everywhere, and children having children... So many suffer from malnutrition (notably, a lack of iodine in the plateaux), which is incredible considering that litteraly anything will grow in Madagascar's fertile soil. They mothers don't know any better; all they eat is manioc and rice, accompanied with a bit of zebu from time to time.

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This was a picture taken right out of Antanarivo, the capital. You can see women washing their bright-coloured clothing in streams and rivers everyday, but sunday in particular (correct me if I'm wrong here)

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We had the honour of being invited to visit a traditional Malagasy house. There were so many children in there that they were in the process of building a second one to fit everyone in the family.

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This village survived by selling cisale crafts to toursits (they also cultivated rice and manioc, of course). Cisale is the tread the you find in palm tree leaves. They weaved it into solid ropes for zebu, baskets... I met two girls there: one was 14 and nursing her firstborn, the other was 17 and pregant with her second.

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Children are expected to take care of their siblings (one of the girls had two of them strapped on her back at the same time!). I would see children that could not be older than five tottering around with newborns. The girl on the left (Chelena) is 12 years old, the one of the right (Marie) is 11. Children always look alot younger than expected; it's a vestige of malnutrition.

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These girls came from Fianarantsoa; they had a pretty pat deal. They'd approach tourists, ask for a picture, then give out their addresses (pre-written on pieces of french paper!) and ask that the picture be sent to them. It's all a scam of course: they establish a correspondance and proceed to ask for money (or so I was told). Still, they also had post cards to sell us-- I prefer resourcefulness over begging any day!

PS: Thank you Steve and family for posting on my guestmap! It's so terribly barren at the moment :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the fine photos! I'll admit that my only knowledge of Madagascar consists of having seen some National Geographic pics (incredible landscape scenes!) and that pure Madagascar vanilla extract sells for $19 for an 8-oz bottle at our local grocery store.

Is poverty as apparent in the cities as in the villages? Also, other than vanilla - what products are produced for export?

Thanks in advance.

1:26 p.m.  
Blogger 007 in Africa said...

Nice! Makes me feel like I seriously need to post some pictures. Who's that old white guy in the 5th picture and what is he doing (is it dad and is he doing the boogie?) :)

10:51 a.m.  
Blogger Beaver said...

Hehehe :) This post was interesting to me on more then one reason : I'll be going to Tana in January ;) I'm coming back to MTL for the holidays, so make sure to give me a package for mum and dad ! :)

2:28 p.m.  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh Excellent! Thanks Beaver; I'll be seeing them for Xmas though, so hopefully I won't have forgotten to give them anything...
Doro, yes that's Dad, shame on you for not recognizing him :P He's showing the kids some pictures, and they all burst out laughing.
Man, I have so many posts to write that I just can't bring myself to do it.

4:57 p.m.  
Blogger Gigi said...

My friend brought over a postcard for Kate, from you, just the other day. That was very cool. She hasn't seen it yet but I know she's going to love it.

8:04 p.m.  

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