I am Julia, I arrived in Madagascar a couple weeks ago. After the first the ‘cultural shock’ I started to work on my own project at HONKO. I am doing a nutritional project about the magical tree Moringa (Moringa Oleifera, vernacular Ananambo) in the villages Ambondrolava, Belitsake, Tanambao, Belalanda and Ambotsibotsike. I’d never heard of Moringa before I came here.
What many people may not know about Moringa is that it’s a very important source of key nutrients that everyone needs to eat for a healthy life. Its leaves, pods, and flowers are edible. Moringa is extraordinarily vigorous and grows well in dry climates and in areas with poor soil quality.All of the parts of the tree can be used in a variety of ways, and is good in your food as well as in the food of your animals. Moringa helps to clean dirty water and is a useful source of medicines. All in all it’s an amazing tree, especially for the people here.
Anyway, I really like to go to the villages to see how people live, cook or do other activities. All of the villages are different, (the people, the daily activities and of course the food). We choose 5 families at random to do a nutritional survey, in each of the 5 villages (a total of 25 families).
When we, Josepha (one of the eco- guides of Honko and my project partner) and I started to work in the villages everybody was looking at us. People were yelling, dancing and jumping around. It’s too bad that I could not understand what people are saying. But I am doing my best to learn a bit Malagasy. The families we talked to were really patient, calm and interested in me and my work at Honko. But one woman was special, I will remember her forever. She was crazy, but at the same time kind of cute. She was so excited when some vasaha (that’s how the people here call foreigners) entered her house. She was showing us everything she had.
And the highlight was the end of the interview. All the people who talked to us got 3 kapoaka (small bag) of rice and some candies. The woman was so happy about that, that she was dancing around for 5 minutes and other people had to tell her to settle down. It was really nice to see how thankful (or just crazy) she was. Every time I come to Ambotsibotsike, the village she lives, she is asking for a gift.
After the interviews in all 5 villages we started to give different presentations about the Moringa tree and we are planning to do cooking demonstration. I am already exited what’s coming next and I really do enjoy my last week’s here. I think I am going to miss the ‘easy going live’ back home.