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Madagascar, Africa


Between baobabs and lemurs

Before starting, I want to remind you that Alternate Reality is a project born from the heart, with the idea of ​​being inclusive and supportive of people who live with different abilities, who have taught us that this space can be enjoyed in very different ways and that is why that you can review it on the platform of your choice,in addition to knowing different causes throughout each episode to help and leave a grain of sand on this wonderful planet. Click on the disabled icon to see all the navigation options and adjust the one that suits you best.

Episode transcription:

Hi, I’m glad to greet you, I’m Yael Yancelson and it will be a pleasure to take this tour together with you, today we are going to make an incredible trip to distant lands like Madagascar in front of the southeast coast of the African continent, east of Mozambique. —-So breathe, close your eyes, give me your hand and let yourself be guided, let’s begin.

Located in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is the fifth-largest island in the world. Exuberant vegetation, animals as curious as lemurs, and magnificent beaches to the south and north welcome us amidst a green landscape of gentle hills, reddish earth, and rice fields. “The mixture of Africa and Asia in the landscape is due to the fact that the island was inhabited by Indonesians” Madagascar was the name that the Portuguese gave to the island in 1502 and derives from medieval Latin: As for the Malagasy name, which it is called to its inhabitants, the term comes from the French, taken from Malagasy, which was the name given to the original inhabitants of the island. Madagascar was colonized by Indonesians before Africans. For this reason, the locals retain Asian features and typical customs from Southeast Asia.

Later there were Bantu migrations from the mainland that merged with the local population, especially in the eastern part of the island. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the first Persian traders arrived, and around the year 1000, the Arabs. As a consequence, the majority religion in the northern part of the island is Islam.

Its capital is Antananarivo, known as Tana. Let’s take the Tsiribihina river tour and let yourself be surprised by the impressive explosion of colors and smells, there are many people buying and selling. Its streets are flooded with pousse pousse, the typical local transport, let’s get on this which is nothing more than a simple two-wheeled cart pulled by one person. Thus we arrive at Antsirabe which is a city of 159,000 inhabitants located in the central area of ​​the country. It is divided into the central and more tourist area and the southern area, the poorest and least-known by travelers.

And we see how as we continue advancing on our trip, shortly before Morondava the first baobabs appear, reigning over the rice fields and they are impressive since they reach 30 meters in height! Baobabs only grow in Africa and on the west coast of Australia, but up to seven species live in Madagascar. That is why it is known as “the mother island of the baobabs”, it reminds me a lot of my favorite book: The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry, when they talk about these trees: that in the book they symbolize, according to me, the avoidable evil, what if it is not uprooted, how fears can continue to grow… Without a doubt, one of the most famous places in Madagascar is this avenue in which the protagonists are those peculiar trees as large as they are photogenic and which, as many people say, seem to turn them over and buried them upside down. The sunset light lengthens the shadows and beautifies the reddish trunks, while we advance along the impressive road, can you appreciate this different scenario? It’s cute, right?

About 200 kilometers north of Morondava is the Tsingy de Bemaraha park. It is like an enchanted stone forest, with sharp limestone pinnacles present in various areas of the island. It is a World Heritage Site nature reserve. It is known for its pointed rock formations, and karstic mountains shaped by groundwater that has eroded it to give it that peculiar shape. We also began to see animals, in this case, Decken’s Sifakas, a type of lemur that is being seen, look at it!!!

Ambositra is the handicraft capital of Madagascar, a town in the central lands where you can find wood carvings, raffia baskets, or marquetry. It is a quiet town despite its 28,000 inhabitants and enjoys very pleasant temperatures due to the altitude. Its characteristic red houses, some of them converted into hotels, paint the streets of this place inhabited by the Betsileo, one of the ethnic groups of Madagascar.

With a welcoming atmosphere and beautiful beaches, Morondava is a quiet coastal town in western Madagascar and I think it’s time to take a walk through the market where, how could it be otherwise, the protagonist is the fish.

We have passed a herd of zebus and we can appreciate how the Malagasy shepherds dress, wrapped in colored blankets. If we advance a few more kilometers, in the surroundings of Fianarantsoa we arrive at an ideal field for trekking between rice fields and villages.

Rice production is the main economic activity in the country and provides livelihoods for some 10 million inhabitants, that is, 86% of households.

 See how many ringed lemurs there are in Isalo Park!!! we walk between views of beautiful lakes and waterfalls and I feel like I’m in a scene from the typical and funny animated movie called precisely Madagascar about to meet King Julien!!!

This island smells a bit like vanilla, right? Well, there is a great harvest of it and see what beautiful palm trees and crystal clear waters, I love this place!

We now arrive at the Anja reserve, to see how the catta or ring-tailed lemurs live, the best-known animals on this African island. It was very exciting to see them in freedom, some with their young, how cute! What do you think of this animal?

Very close to the small town of Andasive is the Analamazaotra reserve, one of the parks where you can see the indri, the largest lemur of all. These animals of singular complexion are known as babakotos and they communicate by shouting reminiscent of the sound of a trumpet.

The Mantadia National Park is located about 20 kilometers from Andasive, we see many more species, such as the diademed sifaka, the common brown lemur or the minle-Edward lemur, but the great protagonist is the feared fossa, the largest predator of Madagascar.

I found that IFAD’s strategy in Madagascar aims to improve the income and food security of the rural poor, particularly women and youth. Ensure that efficient and climate-resilient production systems are widely adopted by farms and rural businesses, and improve access of smallholders and rural businesses to markets and priority value chains. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, go to: https://www.ifad.org/madagascar

If you like to cook, I think it’s time to prepare our ingredients to go to the kitchen and make a typical dish called Koba, click on the button or if you prefer, keep traveling.

And that is how we leave this beautiful and interesting region of the planet with the desire to return. We will travel every week to another corner of this wonderful world, to discover, enjoy and fly with the imagination, I wait for you every Friday and I ask you if you like me to share the content with your friends and give me a like and a review of your comments because with that you help me a lot to raise the ranking of this podcast, ALTERNATIVE REALITY A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT SPACE THAT CREATES COMMUNITY…. We make a difference. And as I always tell you when helping others, we mainly help ourselves.

Until next week and thanks for traveling with me.

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