Saturday 8th December 2007
Tulear – Chez Lala – still!
13:53 (UK) / 16:53 (Madagascar)
A week has passed and I am still in Chez Lala. It has gone quite quickly really and I have had done a lot whilst here; meetings with ADES, with the IHSM, with BVCO past site coordinator, writing a new project proposal for the Morondava project, collecting money, spending money, trying to get some form of exercise, walking a lot, dodging lecherous men, arranging for transport, eating lychees, thinking about lychees and life (interchangeable really).
On a lecherous men note, I have decided that Saturdays are the worst as they all get drunk. Today 3 drunk men accosted me in the street, at separate occasions, one in the middle of the market, much to the amusement of the other Malagasy. Then later, walking with Garth, no one says a thing and it feels like I am making it all up.
I am really ready to leave this town. Of all towns that I have not lived in I am starting to feel this is the town I have spent most time in. It sucks you in and leaves you stuck. Logistics here are difficult, slow and unpredictable. It is odd how some things work really well and other things don’t. Physically getting anyway in Madagascar (especially the SW) takes always twice as long as you hope or expect. The roads are bad and transport by anything other than taxi brousse is expensive – really expensive- and are not even more certain to reach their final destination than the public routes. Last time I took the taxi brousse on this route from Tulear to Morombe to get to Andavadoaka it took 20 hours, with 5 breakdowns, but I guess we did have the pleasure of both sunrise and sunset! I wish that the boat route was still operational, but alas the commercial fishing operator Copefrito now collects their fish from villages by truck and not boat – that that’s that one scuppered.
Yesterday BV Staff Garth and Gildas returned to Tulear. This was great on many accounts – 1 – I have finally got someone to speak with in English about – 2- People that I can go for dinner with opposed to avoiding the lone situation, and most importantly -3- I can walk with someone to stop the men and -4- we can now make a plan to get to site. Or so I thought. I have been trying to minimise the cost of this trip as much as possible and so it is therefore best for BV and BVCO to share transport costs and travel together. But the guys have a lot too to do in Tulear and I hadn’t quite realised –a lot of new things to buy for site and land issues to secure for the community owed Ecolodge that is planned. It also turns out that the BVCO new site coordinator has to return to Tulear and will be here this evening. I need to stay to meet with her, and get her to return to site as soon as possible, so we can all start on the new monitoring protocols.
So another 2 nights here!! I am truly becoming the Alan Partridge of the Madagascar world. Having company is a big plus and perhaps a couple more days won’t be too bad, and Garth is staying here too at Chez Lala so I am not a lone hotel groupie! I think I’ll make a T-Shirt when I get back.
I wanted longer than 2 weeks on site to go through everything and get a real feel for the place and community again; but as with all things here you can never plan for everything and I must make the most out of whatever situation I am given. It will be more intense, but no doubt I will get everything done.
On Monday myself and Garth will travel with 6 stoves, some medical kit to site leaving Gildas to arrange the other logistical purchases. On the road again!! Oh yes!