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On Tuesday 20th January the volunteers and Fredo traveled to 3 different schools surrounding the Kianjavato area to plant ananambo, a medicinal plant and Papaya, a fruit species loved by the locals, with the children. Upon arrival, all the school children were giddy and excited to see what we were going to be doing with them that day. As we had to wait for the holes to be dug and filled with compost, Fredo interacted with the children to inform them of what we were planting and why and explained how to look after them, but also to explain why 4 vazaha were standing in their school yard. We were given the warmest of welcomes from all of the children ranging in age from preschool upwards, and they were in perfect synchrony chanted ‘Soa’ and our names. We then split up into 4 groups consisting of 1 volunteer and around 15 children, whereby we taught them how to plant and then help them individually plant. All children involved were excited to plant and couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty, some even fighting over who gets to plant each tree.




I settled this with a game of who has the biggest smile, which if you know Malagasy children, they all had the biggest smile, so we planted together. Some ran off to find grasses and ferns to use as mulching, some helped open the plastic pot that the trees were grown in and some were very good packers of soil. After planting, there was a bit of time remaining, so Fredo decided to teach the children colors  numbers, clothing items and general greetings in English. They of course found this highly amusing, but were very fast learners, with many learning about the items they were currently wearing and the color of their t-shirt. Towards the end, we were able to hand out leaflets that Conservation Fusion had made of the O’Rama last November 2014, which included pictures of the schools that were involved and pictures of planting events, which the children loved to look at, but also found highly amusing when they found a picture of one of their friends.

This will be a memorable planting event for me after seeing their smiling faces and enthusiasm to planting, and the way they have taken the time to care for these trees after we had left that day. When passing the school to travel to another planting event,

I saw that they had constructed small fences around them to keep the chickens from scratching them up.




In years to come, they will be feasting on delicious papaya and using the ananambo when they have an upset stomach. With the MBP’s help, hopefully the kids are encouraged to think about how trees are important for their future and to hopefully want to save the forest surrounding them.

A good lesson to learn in life is.. trees mean life.. and a happy one at that!


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