Thursday, April 24, 2014

They Came, They Saw and They.....

Guess what's in these bags?
My friend Remi lives in Antsirabe. Last week she witnessed something extraordinary.

Dark sky
Picture this: you are quietly sitting in front of your home on a sunny afternoon. Suddenly the sky turns dark and you're in the shade, sending cold shivers down your spine. There is something in the air, but you can't figure out what. Why is it dark? Thunder? Rain? Overcast? No! It something else, but what? It's buzzing, like a fly but times 1000. Then poof!, there it is: a locust swarm of biblical proportion.

Magic wand

As one block the creatures land, as if all led by a single swing of  magic wand. They're in the trees, covering the grass, on the roof, chairs, tables, in the plants, everywhere! What are they going to do? Visions of completely bare stripped fields and ravaged plants emerge...we know these creatures can  devour hectares of crops in a few seconds....

What's next? You wait, observe with curiosity, but mostly with disgust... Well, that would be me. The local people are excited! Children scream, laugh, and pick as many of the grasshoppers as they can. But there is no way they can get them all, there are simply too many, thousands, millions! Its a race, men against insect.

They came, they saw and...
And suddenly...they leave as fast as they came. They have mowed the lawn, eaten a few leaves but that is all. They came, they saw, but they did NOT conquer. In stead, they were eaten!!

Yummie, fried locust anyone?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Witches, Ghosts and Gris-Gris

A 67 year old confused woman, accused of being a with, has been clubbed to death. A baby corpse is found in a dumpster, with holes in its little hand palms. An alleged child molester is being set on fire...
Open any newspaper any day and you will read some horrid story of a poor soul being lynched by the crowd. The cases are hardly investigated by the police and will never reach the court room. Superstition and unfounded rumors are often the base. I think that everyone in Madagascar, educated or not, believes in witches, ghosts and gris-gris.

The poor lady, mostly likely a psychiatric patient, had been tied to a pole and was beaten to death by a gang of angry youngsters in broad daylight. The crowd just stood around and watched.

Grieving daughter by her mother's body, accused of being a witch
Now this is haunting me. The sad newspaper article is spooking through my head and dreams at night. I think of my own dear mother who recently died, peacefully, after a long and good life. Not this poor lady. I don't know how her daughter will ever get over this. I sure hope she believes in angels too....