The End of the Road – part 1

Today was our last day on our field trip on Madagascar. Every day this week, I have traveled a little longer and have had far greater experiences than I had expected. Lotta from UNICEF (National Committee Sweden) sums it up well – You think you’ve reached the end of the road, but here you realize that the road goes further.

Child in Madagascar walks down a dirt road
©Fredrik Bengtsson

Today we visited the village Varingohitra four miles south on Highway 5.  A road like any other road in Maroantsetra – sand, boulders and giant potholes filled with water. The speed is slow and we have to get out of our van to push it when we get stuck in the sand.

Road in Madagascar
©Fredrik Bengtsson

The school is located a few hundred meters from the main road, has two buildings – a newly built, with two classrooms funded with money from IKEA’s Soft Toy campaign, and an old, with one classroom. 69 students attend the school, 45 boys and 24 girls. They share 48 school desks. Morning classes with writing and reading comprehension are in full swing. The youngest children read aloud in the old building and we hear them through their thin walls made from leaves of the travellers palm tree, “Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, Me, Me, Me, Me”.

The School District Director speaks to the parents and teachers followed by open questions back to us. A mother is hoping for a better walk path to the school. The Principal wants more classrooms. The needs are the same as we have encountered during our visits.

A whistle interrupts the meeting. Time for break and time for play.

Co-worker playing with kids in Madagascar
©Fredrik Bengtsson
Kids playing in Madagascar
©Fredrik Bengtsson
Kids playing in Madagascar
©Fredrik Bengtsson