Monday, November 30, 2009

Madagascar


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Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Approximately 90% of the species in Madagascar are indigenous and many are in danger of extinction due to the island currently hovering around 90% deforestation. The population currently stands at 19 million but is supposed to double in 15-20 years. In order to provide food the villagers rely on slash and burn methods to make more farmland. The organization I will be working with is trying to help them find sustainable methods for both food and farming. The average Malagasy person lives on less than $250USD a year. The main industry is agriculture with Madagascar being the largest exporter of vanilla in the world. As a stop along many trade routes, Madagascar has had rich cultural influences from all over the world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Plane Tickets and Medical Supplies

Good news, I purchased my plane tickets to Madagascar today and even better news, the fare went down from $2740 to $1750 in the three days since I last checked on it! I can't believe my luck!

I still have to call Air Madagascar to get a flight from the capital city of Antananarivo to Tolagnaro but that can wait for another day as it involves calling Bank of America again and explaining that I am making a foreign charge. When I did this to pay my initial deposit they rejected the charge and placed a fraud alert on my account even though I had called ahead, which required me to call them back. Lovely. The people from Azafady did say in their survival guide to "get ready to have nothing turn out quite the way you plan and make the best of it". I think this experience will definitely test my limits at times.

In other trip prep news check out my sweet stash of required medical supplies I gathered up today! Thank you Medical Savings Account! Now I just need to get a prescription for and purchase needles, a transfusion kit and a crap-ton of antibiotics...

Azafady

For those of you who like to know all the details - I am going on this trip through a non-profit organization that is based in London called Azafady which means "you're welcome" in Malagasy. The organization focuses solely on Madagascar and does a variety of projects including building schools, digging wells, working with lemurs, planting trees, bringing medical care and medicine to rural areas and educates the community on everything from personal hygiene to sustainable agriculture to entrepreneurial business practices.

I will be serving from April 1-28th on a team of 20 people from around the world. We sleep in tents we bring, eat the food they prepare and work until the sun goes down. I will be working for two weeks on the Volyhazo project (reforestation, building stoves that use less fuel and working in the tree nursery) and two weeks on the Environmental Education project (provided to the local children). The beaches there are supposed to be some of the best and it is rumored in the literature I received that some surfing may be had!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My first post!

So, if you haven't heard already, I am heading to Madagascar for a volunteering vacation for the month of April 2010. I love adventures, have always wanted to go to Africa and I love the environment so this was an easy choice for me. That doesn't really mean I know exactly what I'm in for but I thought it would be fun. I have a lot of preparations to make before I go and I am supposed to be educating my friends and family about this beautiful country I will be visiting so I will update this blog with the details. Enjoy!