Hello one and all! We are now in our placement and james is better 😊
we took 2 taxi-brousses from tana to Andasibe, our little muddy village on the edge of the rainforest, stopping at our nearest big-ish settlement Moramanga on the way (nearest bank:supermarket etc) which is an hour from Andasibe. Two very nice ladies from the Dodwell Trust came with us to Andasibe to settle us in here. We live in a little wooden lean-to beneath our landlady (Madame Booz)'s house, with a little kitchen, 3 bedrooms of which we have one, and a corridor type thing between them all with a table and chairs. outside is the long drop, 'shower' and the only tap, and we don't have any drains inside the house. our room is quite cosy and once you get used to going outside whenever you need water or the loo the whole house is pretty nice and cosy. In the mornings we fill a bucket with water and purify it for cleaning vegetables and stuff; and boil a big pan of water for drinking and for hot water if we want a shower. showers involve a bucket with cold water and boiled water mixed together with a cup to pour it over yourself haha so we shower every other day cos the whole thing is such an enormous faff! we decided to eat vegetarian when we're here because there is only one butcher and no fridges in andasibe, so the meat is very very dodgy looking. Each morning we go and buy bagfuls of vegetables to make soups ans stews and stirfries, bananas for dessert and bread and eggs.
Teaching wise we've taught for 2 days now, the primary school in the morning is 4 half hour lessons about time and meals and basic daily routine stuff, but it feels a bit redundant because the themes are set by the headteacher so we have to follow them, but the children dont really have basic english at all, so its like teaching them sentences which they learn by rote but dont seem to really understand or apply to real life. in the afternoons we each teach a different class of adults - james teaches the people who run the computer shop we're in at the moment, and i alternate between the village doctor and a class of teachers and local police. its quite hard work to make yourself understood and relevant and interesting, particularly when some of them aren't very responsive, but when it works its very rewarding, particularly with the adults cos you feel like it actually makes a difference.
this weekend just gone 2 other volunteers came to stay with us and we went for a trek in the rainforest. Sadie and Paul are working on the coast in a place called Vatomandry, and we spent the evenings chatting while they were here which was very nice as a break in the routine of just us 2! the 3hr trek was great - we got assigned a french speaking guide who took us through the rainforest starting on a path and then heading off into the real forest when he heard the le,urs calling so we could get right up close. We saw 4 types of lemurs and some indri, the biggest lemurs in the world. they have this haunting cry that echoes for kilometres around, was very exciting. the other volunteers left to go back to their placement this morning.
So! all in all, its definitely not easy and we are definitely missing some creature comforts like running water, hot water and glass windows to keep the cold out, but we're still enjoying the challenge and when things go well and it doesnt rain its brilliant 😊
lots of love!! lilly and james xxx
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