Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Le Rabbateur

The Trivet Maker 
It amazes me each day how many professions one can find in Madagascar. Many of them no longer exist in our society (or don't exist yet!), such as the milkman, the knife sharpener, the glass bottle collector, the garbage sorter, the basket weaver, the sausage maker, the firewood seller, the sock darner, the wash woman, the green-leaf grinder, the herbalist, the wool spinner, the rope twister, the car washer, the DVD copier, the ID-card laminator, the baby hat knitter, the exhaust pipe welder, the chair upholsterer, the MP3 song downloader, the trivet maker...

Shall I go on?

I am making this list up as I'm writing, but there is actually an excellent photobook entitled: Madagascar, Le grand livre des petits metiers, by Laurence Vanpaeschen.

The old fashioned knife sharpener

Special skills
I really did not realize there were so many ways to make (a very modest) living. Then there is the 'rabbateur'. Something I had never heard off before coming to Madagascar. A rabbateur is an animal spotter. He is like a guide but with a specialty to spot rare animals like lemurs and chameleons. The rabbateur has the eye, he can make the animal sounds to lure them, he can climb in trees or run upon hills. In short, he too has some pretty special skills.

Lemur on the phone
Not long ago we visited the Ranomafana national park in Madagascar. Our rabbateur was able to spot many animals, including rare birds, hidden spiders and a camouflaged chameleon not bigger than my pinky. But what amazed me most was that this and most rabbateurs in Madagascar are using new technologies; they actually have animal sounds on their mobiles. Our rabbateur proudly told us he had ten different lemur cries on his Nokia! Luckily he was out of battery when we were there!

1 comment:

  1. Animal spotters in Ranomofana also used their mobile phones to let their colleagues in the park know where the animals are. Less cool!