We have visited Fetrahomby last spring and we must say it is very impressive. First we were taken by our guide to Brickaville to take some meat from the market for the next day and then into the boat with the locals. After some hours we arrived in Anivorano where a lady provided us with lunch in her house. After another boat trip we got off in Gisimay, from where we walked to Sahamamy. Unfortunately the host family had just lost their son, so their was no music, but the family was very open minded to share about their customs. We had a great meal and the next day they showed us the old graphite mine and factory. You would have wondered how they ever got these machines here, since there are only trails to this village.

After that we were going to find the Indri indri, which we did on a mountain top which gave a great view over the area. A steep climb over the mountain followed to get to Marovato for our next stay.

The children here gave us a good performance and the whole village came out to greet us. Like the locals do, we decided to take a bath in the small river just outside the village.

The following days we visited Fetrahomby and had a little party here, with some music and dancing. We visited some pierre bizarres and learned about their importance for the villagers. We went to the waterfall and had a pick nick here. Also we were told how people make charcoal and protect their food from pest.

It was a lot of walking, but worth it. In one village we were the second white people ever visited, so that was very special. Also seeing that people really like to welcome you and secondary school children wanting to practise their English with a real ‘outsider’ is very special.

We can only say, that if you visit Madagascar, you definitely get a more special experience here than at other, more frequently visited, tourist areas

Fetraomby celebrated World Tourism Day on 8 and 9 October. It was at the same time an opportunity to inform the world about the beginning of several new projects in the vicinity. All projects have the same aim: nature conservation and community development, in this still rich but already endangered part of the rainforests of East Madagascar.

Our partner organization RIANALA did a great job. Extra boats had been organized to transport authorities and tourists to Fetraomby. All tourist accommodations were, as always, in top shape. So was the village: the celebration started with the proclamation of the winner of the match ‘cleaning the village’. A boat race and a sack race were the next items on the programme, followed by a football match, which was won by the Fetraomby team!

As soon as it was dark enough, around 6 p.m., several instructive documentaries about the environment were projected on a big screen. Despite the drizzle the entire villages and all visitors from neighbouring villages were captivated. Television is already a rarity in these parts, let alone a big screen. The Friday evening was rounded off with a disco for the young. It lasted until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday commenced with a more serious part of the programme: saluting the flag, singing the national hymn. Then M. Etienne, chairperson of Rianala welcomed the district manager, the district had of the gendarmerie, the mayor, and the representatives of the organisations contributing to the nature conservation and community development projects. The speeches by the authorities alternated with folkloristic dances, a match in eloquence (kabary) and poetry, a little boy demonstrating his ability in back flips and another little boy mimicking several birds, much to the amusement of the public. Especially the cock was a great success.

After giving out the prices to the winners, lunch was ready. Unfortunately authorities and tourists had to eat from plates, others used ravinala (traveller palm leaves) both as plate and as spoon.

The afternoon was dedicated to a visit of the pierre bizarre, a sacred place, only to be visited after a ceremony for the ancestors, and once again the young were treated on a disco.

Rianala wants to thank all sponsors who made this happening possible, first and foremost Ambatovy, but also Aspinall, Conservation International and Centre Lambahoany.

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