Antananarivo

Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Antananarivo

Antananarivo, try saying that fast 10 times.  Antananarivo or Tana for short, is the capital city of Madagascar and is where we recently spent a week over New Years for business but also play and fellowship with other English speaking friends in the missionary community.  Some people despise Tana while others seem to enjoy it.  We enjoy it in somewhat small doses.  Like most capital cities, especially in developing countries, Tana is a city of extremes… there’s the extremely wealthy and the extremely, extremely impoverished.  There’s young girls of 6 years old with their baby brother or sister tied to their back while they beg, hand outstretched toward the closed window of an air-conditioned luxury SUV.  There’s open sewage and flies and rodents and a vast majority of people just barely eeking out their daily survival yet there’s small pockets of luxury, i.e. a restaurant that allows one to forget what’s on the other side of those outer walls.  I must admit, the disparity isn’t nearly as great as I’ve seen in other cities such as Johannesburg or Manilla but I think that’s because there’s a smaller number of the wealthy and there hasn’t been the same development in Tana that I’ve witnessed in these other cities.  Undoubtedly, Tana is a reflection that Madagascar is one of the 10 poorest countries of the world.

The backdrop of this impoverished city is shear beauty.  Truly.  The city was built on the summit and slopes of a long and narrow rocky ridge that sits at over 4100 feet above sea level.  When the days are clear, the views are stunning with deep blue skies and great white clouds, with brick and mud houses terraced on hillsides and rice paddies sprawled out below.

Here’s just a few images to give you all a glimpse of the daily sites in Antananarivo…

the beauty of the land can be in sharp contrast to the way people live…

an entire family seeking shade from the mid-day sun under a truck…

daily street vendors are out everyday, all day…

many street vendors are without any formal shop… they set up their goods every morning and pack them up every night…

madagascar gets tons of “recycled clothes”… the clothes that don’t sell in Thrift Stores in America, Europe and Asia… it’s quite common to see shirts that were once incredibly meaningful to someone somewhere now on the back of someone living a totally different life… in this case (below) a shirt that read, “the 3 amigos” and on the front was something about the “Tarheels” from the “Univeristy of North Carolina”…. undoubtedly the college student from whom the shirt came is living quite the opposite life of this young mom selling used clothes on the side of the road with her baby in tow…

it’s quite common to see school-aged kids not in school…

the bounty of fresh produce in this country is quite mind-boggling… as are some of the prices… 1 kg (2.2 pounds) for the equivalent of 38cents per kg or 17.3cents per pound…

a small snack shop along the road… if you read the menu (some in Malagasy, some in French, some even make sense in English… don’t be fooled by “milkshake”– it’s quite literally shaken/blended milk…

we’re incredibly thankful and feel privileged that our kids get to see life first-hand, not just in passing, but walking on the roads and rubbing shoulders with the poor and downtrodden in the world around us…

…and then there’s the traffic of Tana that we’re not quite as thankful for or happy about…

part of the traffic problem comes from buses, from people walking, from rick-shaws, human push-carts as well as ox-carts such as this one below… still with wooden wheels…

i was thankful to see that some folks in Tana were in the festive mood as is displayed in this window…Joyeux Noel 2012, Bonne Annee 2013…. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Antananarivo to you!!!

 


 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your images and insight into life in the capitol, far different from the USA culture. Whenever I read your posts I feel like I am reading a National Geographic. But I know the author, photographer and the children in the pictures. Thanks for giving us an arm chair view of your life in Madagascar! Keep the stories coming.

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