Monday, December 31, 2012

Baobabs unharmed

A little while ago I wrote about the bush fires that 'destroyed' some of the Allee the Baobab, one of Madagascar's fantastic natural monuments. I had posted a devestating picture that appeared in a leading newspaper l'Express Madagascar.

I then received reactions that the newspaper picture was photoshopped, that the giants were unharmed and that it was all some sort of stupid political game.

On our recent trip to Morondava, I can confirm that the beautiful giants are doing well and that they're as stunning as they've been... for the past 700 or so years.

Of course I gave them a long big fat case another clown comes up with a stupid idea and sets real fire to them...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tratra Ny Krismasy

As a language lover, I am always delighted to find foreign words in a language. Of course there are quite a few French words in the Malagasy language. But while distributing toys and candies in a few remote villages this week, I was surprised to hear the word Krismasy over and over...

It almost felt like being in a snowy Christmas setting, except that the snow was rain, Father Chrismas wore a Jester hat and Santa's little was my Soleine wearing a purple rain coat!

Giving (if you can) is more rewarding than receiving...
On On to bring Krismasy gifts and joy!

No snow but lots of red earth mud!

Santa's little helper
Surprise! Will this baby wake up happy? Or scared shitless...?

In any case, we wish you all a joyful and generous Krismasy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot...

Yonder See the Steamboat Coming (free translation :-). Every year millions of Dutch children are singing this traditional Dutch Saint Nicholas song, their little hearts beating with anticipation....

In Holland we believe in the holy Saint Nicholas, patron of the children. He arrives from Spain in our small county by steamboat. Don't ask me why. He celebrates his birthday on December 5th, and that is when the children get gifts and sweets... if they have been good all year, because Sint knows and sees everything.

A few days before the big day of December 5th, children put their shoe in front of the chimney to get some sweets.  Saint Nicholas is always accompanied by Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters) who enter the homes through the chimney, hence their blackness.

This week our own Saint Nicholas arrived in Madagascar....not by steam boat but in a Zebu cart, but we kept singing Steamboat anyway... ha ha...


As I child I fiercely believed in all this. All children do, until the age of 6 or 7. Soleine is now 8, and I had to tell her that Sinterklaas in Madagascar is not the real one, because Antoine was going to be Zwarte Piet. But most children want to believe so hard, that they refuse to give up. Soleine still believes in the real Saint and she put her shoe several times.

Not easy to be Zwarte Piet in the heat

Vol verwachting klopt ons hart
Soleine (8) is no longer afraid of Saint Nicholas