Sunday, July 13, 2014
Great first full day at Anjajavy!
Every day the hotel runs a couple of excursions and Sundays they invite the guests to take a guided tour of the Anjajavy village since everyone is off and there is a market. The guests all make a contribution to the non profit that along with the hotel has made many upgrades to the village infrastructure.
We took the hotel pickup to the “car” that would take us to the village. Apparently the Indian Australian hotel owner likes to collect old army vehicles and the one we rode in was vintage 1930s French but was in excellent condition. The tires were as big as I’ve seen and good thing too since the village is located on a huge sandy beach that goes for at least a couple of miles.
Our guide was from the village itself – Frederick. He is the sweetest. He started as a waiter at the hotel but is in training to be a guide. This was only his second tour but he did great I thought.
It was quite a shocker seeing the village at first – completely different than what we are used to. The people there live a subsistence lifestyle – mostly fishing and farming for their meals, also keeping zebu which are cattle-like animals but with a big hump.
They build their houses from mangrove trees and the roofs are palm tree thatch. They build fences around to keep the wandering goats out. All “free range” meat around here!
First stop was the market. There was hardly anything to buy! A few fruits and veggies, some rice, a bit of clothing. But a ton of people hanging out, being social with each other.
Christian was instantly roped into the children’s game of “take my picture”. A group of friends would approach him shyly. He would snap their photo and show them the back of the camera and they would giggle so sweetly!
The next two stops were for the tourists to buy local handicrafts – the “women’s association” made some nice embroidery and the “men’s association” some carving. We bought one of each. We were supposed to see the school but it was closed.
On the way back we were passed by a police officer on a motorcycle with huge tires. He had been riding for two hours through crazy roads like this one from the other village. He looked really bad ass to me. He was going to the village because someone had killed some zebu illegally. This is a kind of a big deal because zebu are somewhat like a Malagasy villager bank account. The way it was explained to me is that they are actually better than a cash investment since the Malagasy currency is always being devalued. They can be eaten in hard times, they can be used for transportation, and there are at least four other uses that I am forgetting.
We found out later that a lot of the villagers thought that Christian was Malagasy from Tana since a lot of the ethnic groups look more Filipino there.
The rest of the day was relaxing by the beach. We are super lucky in that we are only two of five guests in the whole place. Next week starts the high season and there are thirty guests coming. This place would feel a lot different with all those people around. We had the pool and the beach to ourselves.