BV has recently introduced the opportunity of ‘village stays’ for our volunteers. A report from Lucy Ferguson highlights the joys of life in a vezo community:
The home stay was hilarious! They picked me up after breakfast last Saturday and I set off on the pirogue with what later became known as my three body guards. They were three burly Malagasy boys who went pretty much everywhere with me for the following 48 hours.
The wind was strong on the way there and they sat me out on the outrigger of the pirogue for ballast – an hour later after my arms has turned white from holding on for grim death we arrived at my new home – Nosy Mitata (Nosy meaning island). There to greet me were the family, about 15 of them (which was a large proportion of the island when you consider in has a population of about 60), with grandparents, parents, and a gaggle of children and babies. Little did I realise how much entertainment I was going to provide for the following couple of days.
After fishing we went back and I was sat in the hut with food. After about 30 minutes of waiting for the rest of the family to join me I realised that I was to be eating alone and tucked in. The meal times proceeded to be fairly strange – at dinner i was ushered into the hut once again but this time with Nahoda (the head of the household) and we ate alone together. I was very happy when the next day I actually graduated to eating with the entire family! The evening was passed with dancing and togagash (a lethal, and I think maybe illegal Malagasy home brew) and a considerable amount of laughing at my expense (I thought that it may have scarred me for life but a couple of epi-bar trips and my dancing confidence seems to have resumed to normal).