Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A New Baby!!!

Yippie. After months of waiting he finally arrived over the weekend. Our new baby! He is so cute, yellow and red, with black legs. Perfectly finished, with eleven little men in blue and white (France?) and eleven in yellow and green (Brazil?). What the heck am I talking about? A baby foot! That's how table football is called in French. Baby foot, pronounce babbie foot, or simply 'babbie' is very popular here in Madagascar. Just like internet cafes you have babbie cafes here, for 50 Ariary (2 cents) you can play a ball.

I ordered our babbie in Ambotolampy, which is the baby foot mecca of Madagacar. In fact, you will have a very hard time buying one in Tana. I ordered four; three of which are destined to two different centers for street children and orphans. When ours was delivered last week, we got all excited and ready to play. But....no ball. Grrrr, how can they deliver a brand new table football without ball? We used a shriveled up lime, which lasted an hour until it was kicked to pulp. Then our gardener Fidel suggested we make a babbie ball, as he called it . Here's how to make a ball from scrap plastic:

Step 1
Find old pieces of plastic, for example: piece of garden hose, plastic bottle tops, old flower pot

Step 2
Slowly melt the pieces of plastic in a old can on a hot fire.

Step 3
Stir with a stick or branch.

Step 4
Take an old brick and scrape a hole the size you want the ball to be.

Step 5
Poor the melted plastic in the hole in the brick.

Step 6
Wet your hands with cold water.

Step 7
Role the ball in your hand and then on the ground until the right size.

Et voila, you have a perfect baby foot ball. Got the love the simple yet resourceful Malagasy way of recycling.

So I learned something new today. Some people say: a day nothing learned is a day not lived. Or was it a day not laughed? Anyway, both are true I guess. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The World According to Gerp

Hi Gerp! You're cute!
Madagascar was on the international news today! That rarely happens. I believe the last time was during the coup d'etat in 2009. Sadly, the Madagascar cartoon movie is still the first hit when googling this country. But today we have something to celebrate: the discovery of a new lemur. Size of a hamster, cute wide eyes and a bushy, long tail. He is a handsome little lemur. His name is Gerp, and here is the world according to Gerp.

Species: Mircocebus Gerpi
Name: Gerp Mouse Lemur
Full Name: Groupe d"Etude et Recherche sur le Primates a Madagascar Microcebus
Place of birth: Sahafina forest
Nationality: Malagasy
 Date of birth: December 2011
Eyes: Large
Height: 16 centimeters
Weight: 68 grammes (!)
Favorite foods: insects, fruits and flours
Favorite past time: sleeping