Hello everybody !!
Yeah, I am still alive and well, no woories about me, I hope. I have just been really busy and have not been able to send something off for a while. But now, with Christmas approaching (they even placed a fake tree in the intercafe, weird, I tell you) I think about all of you who have to celebrate a freezing Christmas (most of you anyway). And decided do let you know that I think of you!
So, I will make this chronologically. The last time I wrote I was on my way to the North. After three days of travellingin a car, with the usual assortment of creepy gyus and uncomfortable seats, we arrived in Maromandia. There we met Coco, a nice bloke, who was going to be in charge of us the next four days. And we got one night respite and then the travelling took on. Coco had made a good programme, we would visit 3 community groups in 3 days, an equation only interruptable by the weather. Which is of course what stopped us: the lack of wind. Because Maromandia and the protected area of Sahamalaza is only accesible by pirogue. Normally, the trip to the first spot takes three hours; us, it took 3 days. No kidding! But we had fun, well, besides being on a boat all day long. We slept in little fisher folk huts, made food over open fire (yeah, being a veggie is a problem, but Coco dealt with it well) and ran into random villagers who offered us fresh coconuts, mangos and amazing views from their compound. Then the German spirit kicked in and we completed the interviews all in one day and got back to town only one day late! Travelled directly on to Tana, met with HQ and took the afternoon bus to Toliara and the next bus to Saint Augustin…I then happily slept many, many nights in a row in my own bed, that is pure luxury! But the trip to the North was certainly fun and we learned a lot about comminuty based management. Long hours in the taxi brousse are no hit though.
So, on the long hours spend on the boat, Kris and I talked about a lot. And you suddenly become aware of stuff. Like how my right leg always is injured. When Turk hit his collarbone I tripped over a line and got a nasty cut on the leg (that only now is healed). I get most mosquito bites on my right leg. I got nasty cuts from shells (walking in the muddy mangrove, you dont see what you step on or in) on my right toes. I have to take better care of my leg. Also, sleeping eaach night in a different hut makes you notice all the stuff that is needed to survive a night. I have compiled a quick list for you, which is only applicable in Saint Augustin though, but mainly the same on the road. Just double the stuff, as I shared space with Kris the whole time.
Good things to store inside your mosquito net when you are sleeping:
â€¢ Flashlight. Yes, you will need it to check the inside of your net and get rid of any trapped mosquitoes. And youâ€™ll need it if you want to go out if it is dark.
â€¢ Toilet paper. If you need to when it is dark. Requires the use of the flashlight.
â€¢ Jacket and skirt. Because it might be cold outside when you need to go out on the aforementioned point.
â€¢ Mosquito repellent. You will all have understood by now that I might need to get out at night. And the mosquitoes wonâ€™t hesitate to bite you.
â€¢ Anti-itching stick for bites. Because you sometimes donâ€™t have the times to put on the repellent in the middle of night when you really have to go to the toilet.
â€¢ Book. You might read before you fall asleep (in case there is any light). Or you read in the mornings when the otherws are still asleep.
â€¢ Notebook. You might have a brilliant idea before, during or after your beauty sleep.
â€¢ Cell phone. I donâ€™t own one, but I have come to appreciate them. Because you need them to play games once electricity is off and the lights are out. And to show you the time in the middle of the night when you canâ€™t sleep and wonder how long you have been awake now.
â€¢ Water bottle. You might get thirsty.
â€¢ Alcogelâ€¦disinfectant gel that kills germs in your hands. Good to have after a nocturnal visit to the toilet.
â€¢ Toothbrush and -paste. Somehow the bed always seems to be the cleanest place in the entire room.
â€¢ Towel. The bed is the cleanest place!
â€¢ Moneybelt and passport. Of course, any thieve would look beneath my pillow, but it somehow feels more secure.
â€¢ Alarmclock. You sometimes need to get up in the morning. Somehow I have the habit of always awaken at 6.30 anyway, but you never know.
â€¢ Left over stuff that I didnâ€™t take away before going to bed. Can include clothes (clean ones of course), random paperwork, literature, sun screen, vitamins, medicine kit, my hat etc.
You might think that I have a big bed, but no, it is a one place bed. But I donâ€™t have my usual German-sized pillow, only a small one (courtesy to Air France), so this leaves some extra space in bed. And since the mosquito net is firmly tucked in around the sites, nothing falls out. It gets a bit crowded now and then in my bed, but so far I manage to find enough space for myself too.
Ok. Whats was next? My big surfing training! Well, it only consisted of two hours hard training, but I love it. This if going to be the water sport I will learn (have to move close to surf then, but that is worth it). It is really not easy and we had some good laughs, but it is so cool. I did get a couple of bruises, and of course, hurt my right led (bruises from the fins). But I still love it.
Otherwise, live is going on. Research is taking shape and i conducted my last basic interview yesterday!! Moving on to a couple more observations and in depth stuff, but that is it then! Happy happy happy, I tell you. I got a cold (in the heat, dont know how I managed) but life is still fine. Getting restless, but I am German…