As many of you probably already know we decided to take the option of early completion of service due to the current political and social unrest taking place in Madagascar. The decision wasnâ€™t an easy one as we were unable to say goodbye to many of our friends and co-workers in our village. Our village will always have a place in our hearts. We also left behind some unfinished projects that we had planned on wrapping up in our last few months of service. We are still processing everything that is happening in Madagascar and the changes we will be going through over the next few weeks. We are hoping to see you all soon and thanks for joining us on our adventure via this blog over the past two years. We hope you enjoyed the entries and photos and that it served to accomplish the third goal of the Peace Corps:
"To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans."
Erin & Jacob Vennie-Vollrath
RPCVs Madagascar (2007-2009)
So over the past few days meetings and gatherings have come and gone peacefully here in Madagascar. For volunteers this is great news as our consolidation passes the two week mark. Today the American Ambassador in Madagascar said that negotiations between the two sides are looking optimistic. We all continue to hope for the best and that the crisis resolves itself in the best possible way for the Malagasy people.
Note to foreign newspapers: The proper term (demonym) for referring to the people of Madagascar is Malagasy. Many articles incorrectly refer to the Malagasy people as Madagascans.
Also, BBC's article "Madagascar crowds brave cyclone" is a little exaggerated. The rain in Antananarivo was little more than a strong mist with virtually no wind.
So the political unrest in Madagascar continues. Sadly, yesterday over 20 people were killed in Tana, the capital city. The news took a toll on Peace Corps Volunteers and some PCVs are considering returning to the US in light of the continued violence. All volunteers currently have the option of taking interrupted service. We have been offered to take an early completion of service since we are so close to completing our service in May. But since we never got a chance to properly bring projects to a close and say goodbye to our friends in our village we aren't currently considering that option. Most volunteers are thinking along the same lines as we are. So we continue to wait and hope with the volunteers around Fort Dauphin for the situation to be peacefully resolved without more violence like yesterday's tragedy.
While we witness the current political unrest in Madagascar reverse a lot of the progress that has been made over the past 10 years we are trying to keep our mind off things by staying busy. Erin & I have been working with a friend to create a web site for his eco-tourism project. The organization is called the Bright Life Association and aims to guide tourists into remote areas of Southern Madagascar and help them experience first-hand the wildlife, culture, and natural beauty of the region. He is also putting together small development, conservation, and missionary projects which will soon be added to his web site.
Although now might not be the best time for a trip to Madagascar if you are ever in the Fort Dauphin region and want a guided tour to any of the parks or natural wonders in the area contact Belgeant. He speaks English, French, and Malagasy and is one of the friendliest people we have met in Madagascar.
Telephone: 033 14 475 54 or 032 61 292 04
Association Bright Life Amboanato1
Fort Dauphin, Madagascar