28th of november - 28th of december 2007
We finally have access to internet so few news from the past weeks. Sorry for the delay...and Happy New Year!
We left Nosy Be the day after the incident, the 28th of Nov. We took the boat to Ankify,a first taxi-brousse to Ambanja and there we quickly jumped in a second one going directly to Tana. After 24 hours and 1000 km of travel we arrived finally in Tana. We were physically tired by the travel and still affected by the incident of Nosy Be.
We spent 8 nice days in Tana – time for us to cure Damien’s foot badly cut and infected (when he was running barefoot after the rubbers...), to make new passport for Damien and to find a way to get Nina and the kids out of Mada without passports. The first 3 days we spent at Olivier’s house, a friend of Nina: after so much travelling the past 10 days it was so pleasant to rest, have a hot shower, sleep in a nice bed, have breakfast in the sun at the terrace.
We left his house on the 2nd of Dec convinced we were going to spend the rest of the week in one Orphanage. We were not really welcomed there but we met Sister Jacqueline, who invited us to Monique’s house. There we stayed 4 days. Nina and Sashko had time to recover from stomach acke (their delicate body did not accept the nice tasty food of the streets of Tana). During these days we spent our time between the French consulate, the doctor for Damien’s foot, Sister Jacqueline and the streets kids she was taking care of. The kids spent a lot of time in the cinema of the French centre and we had different walks through the markets of the popular area of Tana. We enjoyed a lot these days in Tana – the contrast between the huge empty house of Olivier on the top of a residential area and the block of Monique full with people and bags of rice; between the jeeps of non-profit org and a wooden light cart carrying 20 people and hundreds of goods and tracked by 2 horses on the asphalt road; between the clean rice field next to the centre and the dirty channel where people are cleaning themselves and their clothes next to garbage;between the clear and pure sky and the dirty streets in the early morning.
The 7th of Dec we left Tana to Manompana. It was just a crazy day. We woke up at 5am, wrote a little the internet message, went to the craft market to find a present for Monique, had a quick breakfast in the dark room of the hotel, packed and left to the centre. The kids went once again to the cinema, we jumped on Internet to start the message for the blog, had last discussions with the Consul of Bulgaria, were running at the streets of Tana to buy bus tickets to Tamatave, went back to Internet, finished the Christmas post cards and run back to the bus station. It was important for us to close all these issues before leaving to Manompana as there we are cut from the world...
Manompana didn’t change but our stay had different taste. It took us 24 hours to arrive at Manompana (compared to 3 days travelling in October). We were quite impatient to arrive. Getting closer to the place it was more and more difficult to stay on our seats and our hearts were beating faster and faster, and we were talking louder and louder. Mira and Sashko were wondering if the kids would notice them from the 1st meters in the village, if Rinda will scream when he would see them. We were quite tired from the 24 hours trip and were happy to distinguish the bay of Manompana. We found the same bungalow at Wen Ki, we ordered rice with coco and fish at Leonard to rediscover the taste of this good food, it was such a nice feeling to walk in the dark on the sandy road with the rythm of the crickets, under the sky full with stars. We were happy to see again Artur, Alexandro, Rinda, Dafa, John, Delia... We had nice time with them, some of them showed up not so often as it was the busy season – it was the last days before the rainy season and kids were working in the forest to collect wood, in the paddy fields to plant rice (even at the age of 5). We didn’t see Dafa for one week – he was working and sleeping on the fields during all that time. We were swimming in the same bay, the same pleasure to cross Mahella to Wen Ki (more than one kilometer of swimming), we discovered the beautiful colourful fishes of lagoon beach (we didn’t notice that the first time..), we swam in the calm waves. At the library it was quietly nice – it was a good time for us to study French, to write our travel books, read, play and prepare Christmas decorations. We went again to the rice field with Lesan, this time with the kids, to plant rice, to build a dam. We were happy to walk and get lost in the forest but we were sad to discover that the forest is slowly slowly dissappearing – in one month time we could notice few black spots of burned forest. Christmas was a special day for us. (we'll write later about it).
On 26th of Dec, after our last lunch at the gargotte, we left Manompana by foot in the hottest time of the day – 1.30pm. The first kms were long and tiring because of the strong sun but the sun got rappidly hidden by the clouds and the strong wind was refreshing our faces. We did 27km the same afternoon! We finished the walk in the dark with lightenings around us and a tiny rain falling on us. The last part was very exhausting, especially the last 3km – it looked like 10 in fact. It was completely dark and we had difficulty to walk in the sandy path. Mira was so strong, not complaining a single time. It was more difficult for Sashko and we were so exhausted when we achieved the second river and our hotel for the night. It was a hard but very nice walk along the bay of Manompana, in some small villages on the way, crossing rivers by piroque or a motorised platform, walking alone in the steppe, surrounded by palm-trees and swamps... It was also such a nice way to leave Manompana – slowly slowly we said goodbye to the Ocean, to Wen Ki, to the library, to the gargotte, to the kids (Rinda, Dafa and John were walking with us for the first kilometers). By foot we had the whole day to say good bye and it was a joyful departure.
The 27th we were in Tamatave, the 28th – in Tana and continued our way to the South to discover other parts of Mada for our last 2 weeks.