Our next installment of Madagascar Memories comes from Yuri Fraser. Yuri spent several months in Madagascar, living and working as a field researcher for a project on habitat fragmentation in Ankarafantsika National Park.
Here is one of Yuri’s favourite memories from his time in Madagascar:
Mornings in Madagascar were some of my favourite times. While staying in Ankarafantsika National Park, I would start my day by making my way to the nearby restaurant. I’d exchange smiles and “salamas” with those I passed--children and guides.
The morning mist lifted, revealing the forms of exotic palms and hardwoods. Oftentimes, I would see some of the young women braiding each others hair while gossiping or singing. I am still shocked by the fact that so many people in Madagascar seem to be innately lovely singers!
The homey smell of breakfast cooking in the kitchen greeted my arrival at the restaurant. I’d take my seat and order coffee, fruit, yoghurt and Malagasy fritters (mofo, in the local Malagasy). Then, settling in, I’d dunk a fritter in my coffee and survey my surroundings. Occasionally, if I was lucky, I would see the local troop of sifaka lemurs, leaping and bounding from tree to tree. Going about their morning ritual, clearly, the lemurs were enjoying the morning as much as I was!
I remember once a nearby guide lit his cigarette, and I observed the sinuous curls of rising smoke, warm beams of sunlight streaking through. That moment was one of deep satisfaction, as Madagascar’s charms impressed upon all my senses.