Blog from MBP Volunteer, Hilary
With so many different jobs requiring workers from different villages around KAFS, there have been a lot of new faces to remember. One of the biggest challenges I’ve met is communication with the people we work with. Thanks to some more seasoned volunteers and the permanent Malagasy reforestation team at KAFS, I’ve started to learn a few necessary phrases, but to say my Malagasy leaves something to be desired, would be an understatement. I’ve had a lot of fun on planting days, working with the women hired to plant the trees. At first conversation is limited to “Salama” and “Akoriabe” (Hello, How are you) which I can keep up with but after an hour or so of working together they usually try to communicate beyond my skill level. With the help of enthusiastic hand motions and lots of laughing I’ve learned some words necessary to my position like dirty, hot, plant, and strong. One day walking back from planting, some women decided they’d teach me the name of anything we passed on a twenty minute walk, most of which I’ve already completely forgotten. One thing I have remembered, and most likely will never forget is the word for cool, mangasika. The only reason I understood the explanation of this was because of one woman, Justine, jumping from sunlight to shade and yelling “mfauna, mangasika, mfauna, mangasika” or “hot, cold, hot, cold” in English.
Hopefully the in the next few weeks, my Malagasy will improve to a functional skill level and we will have a bit of time to prepare for planting events in January by getting ahead in hole digging and bamboo staking. This past weekend we had a meeting with all of the nursery staff and the entire reforestation team to work out a weekly schedule and to ensure there are enough seedlings to keep our planting numbers up. Although the apparent peanut shortage for snacks required some attention, we ironed out some wrinkles and are ready to go as far as “Mamboly Hazo!” (planting trees) is concerned.