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The Gap Year Blog

Project Blogs - Madagascar


One of our recent community volunteers, Amina Lien, is studying music at the University of York, so came to the Madagascar project with interest in Malagasy music. With school curricula being different over here, and music not being taught in the principal schools, we turned to the local youth group we run for some insight.

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about the conservation work we’ve been doing in Madagascar on the Forest and Marine projects. Day in and day out we go on surveys to collect data, but I can’t help but wonder what it’s all for. The more I think about it, conservation as a process is both completely crucial and utterly pointless.

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If I’m ever going to get away with continuing to call Ireland the Emerald Isle, it’ll have to be because I accept Madagascar has too many colours on top of its brilliant greenery to be descriptively pinned down by a single adjective.

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I’d never really tried street photography before. As I'm from the countryside, my limited photography experienced entered around landscapes and wildlife. Coming to Madagascar, I expected it to be much the same; however upon arriving in the busy town of Hell-Ville as Media and Journalism Intern, I took it as the perfect opportunity to get some practice in. While these were my first attempts at street photography, here are some of the things I learnt along the way.

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Madagascar is such a faraway place, a third world country, and a unique location when it comes to its endemic species and wildlife. As a result, many people come here with some preconceptions and misconceptions. I’ve been collecting some of the most common pre-conceptions from various volunteers to see if some of these pre-existing ideas can be corrected.

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Shabana Hamir came here on the Construction Project for two weeks but quickly extended her time with us in Madagascar to stay out here for a month. I spoke to her recently about her time here and why she chose to double her time on the project.

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Matt Smart is one of our ARO’s on the Frontier Forest Conservation Project in Madagascar, and is coming to the end of his 6 months working out here. I caught up with him about his experiences so far, and discussed why Madagascar is so special in it’s wildlife.

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'It is one of the most beautiful dive sites of Madagascar' is what they said to me. With high expectations and hopes I stepped on the boat that would bring us to Iranja. What I didn't know was that the engine of this boat was twelve times stronger than the engine of the villagers their boat.

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My third week has now come to an end and I still don't understand how. It feels like I have been so for such a small amount of time yet feels like I never left last year.

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Here on Nosy Be, we are lucky enough to be in a very central location for easy travel to other islands, the mainland and attractions on the island itself.

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