Day 14: Baobab


No diving again today. The weather’s great but visibility would be awful. So, this morning we did presentations on Benthic organisms that were assigned to us. This served as a learning tool for all the volunteers. There was a watermelon and q-tip creation that represented a callimorph, some interpretive dance and life sized sea sponges and Sea urchins (that last two are what I presented on). Right now there seems like soooo many different benthic organisms to know… hopefully it pays off learning them all!

In the afternoon, we got a lesson on how to put together a pirogue. A pirogue is what the vezo call their sail boats. DSC_3432

These boats are very complex, single sail boats with lots of knots and ropes all over. The balance bar is on the starboard side and when the wind is too strong someone needs to counterbalance the force of the winds. (Watch me ride the balance bar!)

From the inside of a pirogue!

From the inside of a pirogue!

In the afternoon we took a zebu cart to the baobabs. Baobabs are the strangest looking trees I’ve ever seen. They are upwards of 700-800 years old and their main evolutionary ‘trick’ is to retain water. Some trees were much healthier looking than others, and some were so big you could probably carve it out and live in it! Don’t be fooled by the whimsical design on this tree… It’s a fungus.

DSC_3364 DSC_3386 DSC_3343These  Zebu carts are about as comfortable as they look like they’d be. Very bumpy, slow and a chance you will get ‘sprayed’ with zebu poop, however, they are much nicer than walking in snake infested grasses. Luckily there are no poisonous snakes in Madagascar.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight. Driving through the village on the zebu cart there are no lights except for the cooking fires outside of each families home. Typically the women do all the cooking yet the families rarely eat together. It’s more of a ‘come and go’ situation. Whenever the kids are hungry they eat what’s available.


The other day when learning how to make boko  boko we walked through someones home to get to this other cook area. Anyways, there was a person on the floor with their whole body wrapped up in a blanket except for their feet, hanging limply out the end. This positioning replicated that of a dead person so naturally that was my first assumption. Appalled, I wasn’t sure what to think. By the time we left the house the body was gone. I mentioned to another volunteer what I had seen and they assured me the ‘body’ was just sleeping. Unsure, I was still a little stirred up by what I had seen. To my surprise I saw 3-4 more ‘body’s’ actually sleeping on the walk back to our huts. Whoops!


One thought on “Day 14: Baobab

  1. very interesting, names, did not know, what you mean by them. Old trees, I thought same thing, can make huts by carving them. Very simple life and I am sure people are very happy. I think, a lot less stress than us in the west. different customs and rituals.

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