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Exit Blog from MBP Volunteer, Brittney



Where do I even start?? I’m sitting here at the MBP residence in Tana ready to soak up my final couple of days in Madagascar. I cannot believe how quickly 6 months flew by! It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in this exact same place feeling extremely nervous and scared and completely overwhelmed by my new environment. It’s funny, I’m actually having the same feelings now, but I am nervous and scared about returning to my own country! Speaking English? Not saying ‘Salama!’ to every person I pass on the streets? Not waking up to the sounds of the birds and roosters crowing? Going back to the snowy cold of Canada? AH! It’s going to be weird! I never thought I would say this, but I really do miss my tent and my bucket showers already! But I think what I’m going to miss the most from KAFS and Madagascar in general are the people I met and worked with along the way. I had the opportunity to work with a large team of Malagasy men and women from all over the Kianjavato commune. From the KAFS Reforestation guys, the nursery managers and the Single Moms Clubs who would care for the seedlings every day, to the field supervisors and men who would dig every hole and fill them with compost. From the men who carried seedlings up and down the hilly terrain to the planting sites, to the women who would carefully put the seedlings into the ground. No matter what step of the tree planting process they were involved with and no matter the weather conditions (from blistering heat to pouring buckets), I was always astounded by their ability to work so efficiently as a team. We need to carry 3,000 seedlings up a 45 degree angle hill in the pouring rain and put them into the ground? Tsy maninona (no problem)! The job would be finished in about 3 hours!

During my time at KAFS, the Reforestation team put 61,237 trees into the ground which helped to put us over last year’s tree total! I am happy that I got to be a part of their team and share in their success. I am very sad to be leaving but I have high hopes that they will continue to work wonders as a team in the years to come and that when I return I will get to watch lemurs playing in the trees right at KAFS! I have included a picture of me and a few of the women at one of my favourite planting sites close to Vatovavy. It was at this site that we would very often hear the Varecia calling their loud vocalizations from the forest as we planted! I may have been covered in sweat and dirt and completely exhausted, but hearing the Varecia always put a smile on my face and reminded me of the bigger picture of my everyday work as a Reforestation Volunteer. I hope that one day everyone around the Kianjavato commune will wake up every day to the call of the Varecia!

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