Finally Saw Lemurs! Almost Finished Training!
Trip Start Feb 12, 2006
17Trip End May 12, 2008
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We are beginning week 8 of training and are almost finished! Three weeks from now we will be in our own home in Anosibe an'Ala!!! Time is flying by now!
Last week we went on a technical field trip. It was wonderful. We went to another volunteer's site and got muddy planting rice in the ricefields. She lives in a beautiful little village nestled between rainforested mountains and you can only get to her house by hiking down a steep, long, narrow path! The scenery is breathtaking though! We also meet an organization that we will be working with when we get to our site - they are in over 100 countries working on development projects. The director is very nice & interesting and we are excited to work with the organization!
We also camped on our trip and visited Andasibe National Park. We went on a night hike and saw a mouse lemurs, several eyes of lemurs, and several chameleons. The next day we went on a hike and saw the Indri lemurs (the ones that look like little kids dressed in panda suits). We laid on the ground and watched them high in the trees eating and playing as they woke up and then we hiked further into the forest and they came close to the ground and started jumping from tree to tree!! It was really cool, they were so close- we took lots of pics! We also saw some brown lemurs.
This past week we have been back in our training village. Sadly, the sister of our environmental administrative assistant died unexpectantly yesterday and we had a change of plans today. All the training staff & trainees went to his town and visited the family. Tons of people were coming from all over since he is a well known figure in the community. We all went into their house, in a dark, candle lit room where the body was and they prayed and sang songs, we collected a money donation for them, which is the custom. It was quite a cultural experience and sad- his sister was only in her 50s.
On the way back (all of this is in the highlands) we drove on a rough, bumpy dirt road and passed tons of people walking, biking, selling their produce in the markets and on the sides of the roads. It is rice harvest time so all the families were in the fields- they work so hard it is amazing. Tons of oxen carts are all over the place hauling rice and other produce. I am still amazed when I see these wooden carts. Other things are starting to become more familiar. For example, today when we came to Tana, it didn't seem quite as dirty and poor as usual. I guess we are becoming accustomed to our new environment.
We are starting to pick up more on the language (I think- I only tested at intermediate low). Once we get to our site, we will have a lot more free time to study and speak with our neighbors and hopefully learn more!
Jenny & Aaron