From Ellie: Back in Andavadoaka…after 4 years!

Wednesday 12th December 2007
Andavadoaka -  Blue Ventures Research site
 06:47 (UK) / 09:47 (Madagascar)

Finally I have arrived and I feel awful.  I think I must have picked up

something up in Tulear and for the first time in all the travels I have done
I have a traveller’s belly; nausea, fever with hot and cold, exhaustion and
becoming friendly with the toilet – that type of thing.  So last night I gave
in and succumbed to the antibiotics – then commenced an all night battle in
my stomach, which was fun.  I can’t wait to feel better and to enjoy eating
again.  I think I will need at least a day of rest, which is really
difficult for me to do.

So anyways, Garth and I arrived in Andavadoaka by 4×4 late Monday night,
after 8 hours of bone jarring driving along the sandy, rocky, steep coastal
‘road’ that runs from Tulear to Morombe.  My neck was not best pleased by
the experience, but I really quite enjoyed it; good company, a new
experience, and we were getting out of Tulear finally.  Towards the end we
passed a supermarket in the middle of nowhere – and it sold red wine!  I
commented on it then asked which village we were in – “Andavadoaka” was the
answer.  How very weird, there was never anything more than an epi-bar
selling tomato puree and coke 4 years ago!  So here I am back in the place
BV started all those years ago.  It seems like I have walked into different
place with a fully operating organisation unrecognisable from before. 

My first day on camp was really good and I took a break from BVCO to find
out more about the research programme and went manta towing, (that’s a
marine survey technique that requires one individual to be dragged behind a
slowly moving boat noting the change in the benthos).  To be honest it was a
last minute decision and I was not adequately prepared for the 4 hours of
mid day sun on the motorised pirogue.  It was great fun, and I enjoyed it –
it was the only 4 hours that I felt well yesterday, but I am now completely
burnt from head to foot.  I think the only time I have been this burnt was
went I was 3 years old and I was with my parents in New Zealand.  We spent a
day on hot water beach and as it was cloudy I was not sunscreened up it.  It
is the same now- hurts to put anything on.  Despite having a great day
yesterday, I am feeling a bit sorry for myself now – burnt with a bacterial
war going on in my stomach.

I am staying in one of the staff huts like that I stayed in before- but this
time I have the room to myself.  It is great having my own hut, but the
floor seems to be steeply sloping so one side of the bed is very much lower
than the other- but it is a bed so I am happy.  I have a shower area for
bucket wash and a sink.  The water is only on twice a day, but I am getting
used to planning the bucket fills now.  

There were also 3 cockroaches that lived in my shower area when I arrived.
I am a vegan; I do care about animal welfare and the rights of other living
creatures but I am afraid to admit my initial instinct was to try to wash
them down the plug hole.  I succeeded with washing two of them down, and
immediately felt awful.  The other one lived with me for a day and then my
unkindness to nature came back to hit me.  A spider span a web above my
shower area and quickly caught my new cockroach friend.  I thought nothing
particularly of it other than this was a nature process, until the dead body
of the cockroach with scavenging ants fell into my only bucket of clean
water to wash in.  

So I learnt a couple of important lessons yesterday;  don’t go out on a
motorised pirogue without a hat and adequate covering, and never kill
cockroaches – their family will only die in your water supply.



Offset now with bvco – www.bvco.org.uk
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