Mahabana By Air
Many of you have heard about Mahabana over the last 13 years. Mahabana is an incredibly special place to us for many reasons… the people, the relationships, the simplicity of life, the fishing, the history, the ways God has worked, the ways He has transformed lives there, the ways He has allowed us to witness His hand at work. You can read about the history of Mahabana here and the transformation that has occurred in Mahabana here.
The actual trip to Mahabana is pretty incredible too… well only because we go by helicopter these days. Back in the “early days” before kids, we traveled by Malagasy sailboat… which was an adventure in itself… 3-5 days by wooden boat on the open ocean, no lifejackets, no shade, no bathroom, no running water. You can read about these adventures here. But back to the point of this blog.
I can say with a pretty fair amount of certainty that not a whole lot of people have seen this stretch of remote coastline by air. Jamie left on a 5-day trip down to Mahabana yesterday with a team of Eden Projects folks and shared it firsthand with someone new. And now I’m gonna share it with you!
Starting Point: Mahajanga Airport
Our city of Mahajanga
Unfortunately fire is an all-too common sight along the way and is a major cause of deforestation
Rice fields scatter the interior landscape and are surrounded by satrana or windmill palms (which is the natural material for building houses in this region)
Small rural villages dot the landscape… I’m always blown away at the harsh conditions in which people live
If we travel just a bit inland, we fly over this spectacular sight… the Tsingy forest
Limestone formations that are impenetrable by foot… and home to some pretty amazing animals and plant life
Coming back towards the coast we fly over the vast mangrove forests that line parts of the northwest coast of Madagascar
Mangrove forests meet with dry satrana forests
And they’re teeming with life
Nearly an hour later, the peninsula that Mahabana sits upon comes into view
We fly over two small villages, Filao and Kolkabo
Familiar lakanas (or outrigger canoes) anchored in the mangrove channel
Finally, Mahabana! A small village 120 miles south of our home in Mahajanga that is nestled between the ocean on one side and the mangrove channel on the other. And “home” for the days that we’re there!
Home sweet home in Mahabana!
Wow, thank you so much for posting the pictures of the view from the air. Spectacular! so remote, so pristine. So obvious that the work of reforestation must happen so that the people and animals can survive and thrive. It is evident that God has brought Red Island Restoration and Eden Projects partnering together to bring hope to the impoverished people and to their weary land. I will continue to pray for all that you are doing.
I agree with Becky!
Totally envious of what you see over there. Ever since I saw National Geographic’s photo essay on the Tsingy forest (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/11/stone-forest/alvarez-photography), I’ve wanted to see this amazing site.
Oh, Alissa! Thank you SO much for the stunning photos of your spectacular island and the home(s) in Madagascar! They provide a much clearer view of the work you two (and so many others) are involved in. The chopper is a huge advancement – I well remember those stories of the challenging boat rides and being amazed at the fortitude you showed just to GET to Mahabana! So much more work is accomplished in those days now spent on land instead of water. We are grateful for all you do and praise God for all all of it!
Agree with Becky!
Also: ever since I saw National Geographic’s photo series on the Tsingy forest (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/11/stone-forest/alvarez-photography), I’ve wanted to see it in person… Jealous. Pretty cool stuff.