Insects and fishing

I have come to realise that this has become some kind of weekly ritual, sending you all an email. Well, we’ll just have to see how long I can find stuff to write about. I have been away 8 weeks now, 1/3 of my stay, and I am bound to run out of material at some point…but not quite yet.

Like, for instance, last week I had the sensational feeling of having a gecko running on my arm…trust me, that was so unexpected that I screamed like a girl (and that is not like me)(unless I see a spider), waved my arm, got Kristina fired up who thought I would be eaten alive by a cockroach or worse and even made Brett and Arif come in and wonder what was going on. And geckos are usually lovely little creatures, but maybe not when they cling to you underarm like a wet…something. Then again, later that day I had a bad cockroach experience (cockroach flying into my pizza and then heading for me and landing in my hair) and that kind of took the edge of the gecko…

Anyhow, I survived another week in the house. We are now basically bat and rat free, just have occasional cockroach invasions. Wednesday night we had 30-40 cockroaches in Kris and my room, I am not kidding you, and even the peaceful animal lover in me went on a killing spree. We bombed the house and probably some parts of our own lungs, but that was just horrible.

But enough of creeping insect: I have done my first participative observation for my master thesis. As it is all going to be about fish and fisher folk, I went fishing with the mayor’s sons Thursday morning. We left when the first strokes of sun hit the sea, which was quite idyllic, in a dugout canoe on the totally quite sea. The fisher folk fleet was 40 pirogues strong and we all went for sardines and some kind of bigger fish (lamantsa in Malagasy). It took us about an hour to sail to the spot, anchor up, get the gear ready etc. Theses people are amazing sailors; they could steer these little wooden boats so perfectly without much help. The two boys, who didn’t speak any French and of course no English either, then handed me a line and two hooks and a handful of small shrimp (by small I mean the size they are in Sweden) and well…looked at me and started to laugh. I guess I must have looked really silly. The vegetarian in me revolted for a bit, but then I thought I might as well do some good while I sit on their boat for free…I am probably the worst shrimp peeler/stick it on the hook ever and probably not even good at fishing. The boys, I am ashamed that I forgot their names, had a good laugh, as had all the other who were in hearing distance (=all)…and did take pity in me eventually and helped me out. I must have worked, because I did catch one sardine!! With a little help, I admit, but still. We must have been out for about six hours or so, but in the end we only had seven fish altogether and no lamantsa; one of the other boats got lucky so I could at least see one. Apparently, the fish is really scarce and they are no big sardines anymore, and that is really destructive for the whole fish stock and the biodiversity. Good for my thesis, bad for the environment and the people. On the way home we raced each other and our boat was winning until we hit a sandbank…we got really splashed by the warm seawater but this was really fun!

Anyhow, we are on our way to Tana. We got notice last week that our boss in Tana wanted to see us and there was not much else to do. We are going by car again, this time we’ll be 7 people and five seats including the driver, but it will hopefully be a lot of fun. We will stop overnight on the way and that is going to be great, having some real new input. I am not that keen on seeing Tana again, my lungs didn’t really like that polluted air, but it will be nice to go on a small ride for a while. I am not wary of the area here yet, I don’t feel like I have don’t much here yet, but you always welcome the any change. It is like what Arif said about food: If you see food, you eat, because you don’t know when you’ll have some the next time. That goes for basically every kind of entertainment. We’ll just see what the big city will look like this time. And hopefully will the voyage not be too stressful, just getting to know a couple of days in advacne that we are off to Tana was stressful enough for some time.

I hope that you are all fine back home an thanks for your mails, they really cheer me up !

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