July 18, 2017 Written in the Field by Dr. Cynthia Frasier
Bringing Life Back to Vohipotsy
It’s about a 40-minute walk along a meandering path to the reforestation nursery from the village of Vohipotsy. MBP’s Vohipotsy Nursery sits on a slope facing the site, where the first community planting event took place. Once the event began, we noticed people slowly drifting through the rice fields.
They came in cautiously, in small groups. Until eventually the whole village arrived in a roaring crowd, that could surely be heard kilometers away!
It was a beautiful event, with many hands planting thousands of trees.
At the end, the villagers explained that they’ll be saving their earnings from this, and all future planting events until they have enough to buy a zebu. The zebu is needed so they can hold a ceremonial “fafirano”, which will reconnect the community with their ancestors for a blessing of their village.
The village itself has been mostly abandoned for about five years as there were some who were not respectful of local traditions. People chose to live out near the farm fields until there was a time that they could bless their village and reaffirm its place as the center of village life.
There will be a few more planting events until this time, but the community is working together to accomplish their goals and recreate their lost forests.