I just found out that I can speak French…basically. Being in a country with strong french influences there is a lot of french that gets thrown around. I’m quite surprised how much of that ‘mandatory’ grade 5 french atcually stuck. (BTW, I’ve never felt more ‘uncanadian’ as when out of country people assume that I speak french just because I’m from Canada. I have to ‘shamefully’ inform them that, ‘Yes, I’m Canadian, but no…I don’t speak French.” (FF: According to wiki, only 22.3% of Canadians speak french “second to English 58.4%”. My question is…what does the other 19.3% speak??). However, my French didn’t pull through when buying a fresh baked bun labeled, “Escargot”. Now, I realize that this means ‘snail’. However, what I didn’t know was whether or not the bun was just shaped like a snail or snail was in the bun…luckily it was just the shape.
Anyways, that snail shaped bun and some water was my only breakfast before embarking to the site on an 8 hour, 150 km journey. Think about that for a second. In Alberta, travelling 150 km should take 1.5 hrs. So in order for this ‘adventure’ to take 8 hours either means we were flinstoning our butts there or this ‘trail of a road’ was darn near impassable. Luckily our vehicle had an engine, so Flinstoning was out of the question…but unluckily we were sitting sideways. This position is less than ideal for someone who gets car sick. Let’s just say…it was a long 8 hours.
Why are the roads so bad? Well, Madagascar is a very poor country and therefore does not have the money for things like roads…especially because many people in Madagascar don’t even have a vehicle and therefore, don’t need roads. Additionally, the village that we are going to, Andavadaoka, is in a very remote location. I will only have 7 hours of electricity and cold, salt water showers. All of our water is filtered on site, and the availability of fresh fruit and veggies is very low. I will be staying in this village in a hotel called Coco Beach the works with the Blue Ventures organization. Don’t be mistaken, the term ‘hotel’ is used very loosely. Not having certain luxuries doesn’t seem so important however, considering how beautiful and untouched this place is.
My less than ideal beginning of the day (involving 7.5 hours of nausea) turned into one of the most breathtaking moments of my life. The view of where I will be staying for 6 weeks…(words can not describe)…
We met the rest of the staff today and spent the remainder of the day unpacking. Time which no one utilized. Instead we just sat on the deck of our hut and watched the sea. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so fascinating.