Ranomafana Part 2:
After a few more hikes around Ranomafana (and no more leeches), I have seen several interesting things which I am posting in picture form. Enjoy! Tatum came out to visit before the bike trip so we went around to a couple waterfalls.
The best part about seeing other volunteers is that you can combine forces and create delicious food. Since seeing Tatum we’ve continued on the good food binge started with Abe, Brian, Mike and Tod. The past week has held: Tacos, “Chipotle” style steak fajita burritos complete with guacamole, salsa, cilantro rice, pinto beans and lettuce, BBQ steak sandwiches, mashed potatoes and gravy, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownies (THANKS SHIRLEY!!!), chili, stew, and tonight will hopefully be pizza (the dough is rising now). Thanks to anyone who has sent me a care packages, especially those with seasoning packets which are making this all possible. =D
So after not using my camera for a while I came back to my house, opened my trunk and found my camera…DEAD. After a week or so of worry (especially since Abe has the same camera and his was DOA) I have recharged it and it works. Hopefully with the power of my camera and his lenses combined we shall form…Captain Planet!…or at least some better quality pictures. I may in the future post some pictures taken on my camera but not by me. If anyone knows of an easy way to post videos I’ll try to do that eventually.
As I travel a bit around Madagascar, meet other travelers, and talk with fellow PCVs, the topic of a COS (Close of Service) trip has come up. Past PC Mad Volunteers have done a variety of trips and I’m considering (aka planning and hoping) doing a trip of my own. There is no foreseen limit to time (other than the desire to see friends and family at home) and the only limit is money. The ideal would be to visit friends in South Africa, make our way over land to some Swahili speaking countries, and then maybe continue back to do “the loop” in West Africa or catch a boat to Asia from Mozambique. Does anybody know of any cheap (but safe) travel options in the Africa/Asia realm? We have heard rumors of some boats and freighters that are slow but cheap but nothing with any confirmation. Thankfully a lot of the countries we want to go to have Peace Corps established there which makes finding things once we get there easier as well as giving us a support system on the ground (and will also hopefully make it so my parents worry less).
Recently I have been learning more about vetiver grass in Ranomafana. The local cell phone tower is on the verge of collapse and to prevent further erosion, vetiver grass is being used. In Ranomafana I went up to the ValBio research center and got to meet with researchers and staff. Many of their projects are fascinating and since they host study abroad groups as well as other programs, they get a broad range of studies while also supporting the local community. Learning from them was great and hopefully I can find some inspiration from any of their amazing projects to apply in my own village.
The bike trip starts this week and so hopefully we can get some good AIDS information out to the public. After the bike trip I hopefully will be starting my SRI demonstration field as the rice planting season in my village is now. Between holidays and my trip, planting has been temporarily postponed until I get back. I’m finally submitting funding forms after having them deleted and having to find a computer to retype them on. Wish me luck!