So far, my time in Hellville has been pretty awesome. I’ve experienced the culture, the people and have tried lots of new food. I’ve also acquired new skills such as skinning a coconut!
My weeks have been full but very enjoyable. Each week I have helped continue the construction work on the wall at the school in Samad; creating EcoBricks and cementing over the top of them. EcoBricks are large plastic bottles stuffed full of other softer, non-recyclable plastics, such as plastic wrappers and plastic bags. The bottles become fairly hard and strong due to being so full and can then be used as bricks. We use plastic because it doesn’t de-grade and so can be reused in the future even if the wall is taken down; they are also not widely recycled here and so it helps keep the environment clean. We have done several beach and street cleans with members from the Youth Club who come every Monday and Tuesday evening for English lessons. It’s also very exciting when the locals start to get involved, as this helps to spread awareness and the idea of the EcoBricks into the local area!
Although I am a construction volunteer, I’ve also been able to get involved with many other activities such as swimming with the beautiful children from Stella Maria, who are suffering from rickets. Every Wednesday afternoon we take them out into the sea for a swim, as well as seeing them on Tuesday afternoons for general playing and colouring in. A lot of these children struggled to walk due to their condition but after several weeks of swimming in the sea, are already able to run around!
Unfortunately, this weekend, we said goodbye to our Assistant Teacher Alex who has been an amazing asset to the Frontier Team for the last 6 months. She has set up programs and organised groups in the local area, as well as developing the EcoBricks! Her enthusiasm and love will be missed dearly but we hope to see her back out here soon.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of Madagascar and the surrounding islands to Nosy Be and getting myself stuck into more projects to help the community!