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Thomas ny Matazzaka (Thomas the Strong),
Prolemur Simus Volunteer & Arm-Wrestler Extraordinaire 

I have also seen countless insects of every kind, some dazzling in their splendor. I have started to learn more of the local birds, especially after a birding trip with one of the local guides last weekend. Lizards – mainly geckos and skinks –abound. I have seen a few chameleons as well, curious creatures with fascinating adaptations, but they are much harder to find camouflaged in the leaf litter. Tenrecs are common around camp, most resembling hedgehogs from home. Yesterday, I saw my first boa. It was thicker than my upper arm and patterned light green and white.

To take a detour from things that matter, and speaking of my arm, I have learned that the locals put a high regard on strength. “Matanzaka” (Strong) is a great compliment. Be careful as “Mitanzaka” means naked. Naturally, I have participated in several bouts of arm-wrestling, and am undefeated so far. The trick is not necessarily my strength (though it helps), but also my longer arms. The Malagasy are aware of this because after a particularly strenuous contest I even heard “Ah the Malagasy is stronger, the Vasah won because of his long arm”. On the other hand, I have drawn unwanted comparisons to John Cena (the popular, best-known and possibly only known professional wrestler here). We are thinking of setting up an arm-wrestling stand one day at market. Perhaps I will leave the country as the “Undefeated Vasah.” (Accepting suggestions for arm-wrestling nickname).

Do not worry readers, I will keep you updated on my career.



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