Mora mora

The saying of Madagascar is “mora mora” meaning slowly slowly. They believe in taking life slowly-whether that means waiting one hour for the late boat or two hours for food. Week 2 was a bit of a blur. I was in Ampang on Nosy Komba for most of the teaching week. I now have some regular daily classes which include a little girl and boy, a class named madame which consists of a group of women and one man, the pharmacists wife, and a group of advanced at the end of the day. Full days for sure. As much as I did enjoy the classes in Hell-ville, I prefer the more intimate settings that I have now. A group of 35 of us just got back from a long weekend in mainland Madagascar. We left for Hell-ville early Friday morning where we then caught an hour speedboat ride to a port on mainland. 5 hours in the car later (with a few pit stops), we made it to our “hotel”. We had 4 to our room with a twin and a double bed. 3 of us on the double for a very humid 3 nights. After rice and beans, we headed out on a short night walk where we were lucky enough to see lots of chameleons and a mouse lemur. Saturday morning was much more eventful. We woke early for a quick stale baguette and honey breakfast and headed out for an eight hour hike through the national park visiting baobab trees, lots of limestone formations, a suspension bridge, waterholes for the rivers to fill in wet season, different species of lemurs, and bat caves. The bat caves are considered a sacred place, prohibiting us from using the bathroom, drinking, or eating, along with a list of others. Half of the time we spent talking about the scenery and the other half food. The park was incredible and we were high up enough that we got a bit of a breeze to help us through the heat. After lots of hiking and our lack of nutrition from breakfast, the lunch of an egg and carrot sandwich felt like heaven. In the evening, we split up and played a few cards games before going to sleep early. Next day was supposedly more relaxed…we spend the morning walking to a sacred lake nearby where a guide told us about past stories of people getting lost in the park and spirits from the lake taking them over. It was really interesting to listen to, but the lake itself was a bit plain after everything amazing we’d seen the day before. In the afternoon, we went on another hike through the grassy hills to a river where we would swim and eat lunch. In the evening, some people went to a bar down the street for a small easter celebration while some of us stayed back at camp and talked with the guides for a while. Monday was an early morning with a 6 hour car ride and 1 hour boat ride back to Hell-ville. Today, I had no morning classes and will have two in the afternoon. The weather is full as there is a cyclone coming, likely tomorrow. They’re still deciding whether or not to evacuate but for now they’ve postponed my island outreach trip that was supposed to leave on Thursday, and they’ve sent those leaving Madagascar on Thursday to Hell-ville because they’re closing the ports. Shouldn’t be too bad as they’re stocking up on food and we have plenty of decks of cards and plenty of studying to do for scuba and forest.