antananarivo is a weird city. for one thing, it is mildly uncomfortable to walk around any city as a girl–but in other cities, the heckling is milder, and after a while it seems like the city gets bored and the novelty wears off (i miss ft. dauphin). for another thing, we were constantly warned that certain parts of the city are dangerous, and don’t go out at night, &c; the overall impression i have of tana is one of unrest and desperation. of course, it is a beautiful city–i love the purple trees in the park, and the massive open stairways. simply not a city to spend time in alone.
but i am not alone! kate is here with me–she has been doing interviews and being quite productive. everyone else left this past weekend: michelle and rachel went off to tulear by taxi-brousse (brave girls); sophie went off to berenty; ben and emily flew to ft. dauphin and are taxi-broussing to faux cap tomorrow. kate is also leaving tomorrow, going to a category 5 reserve to study its effectiveness in conserving nature and culture. i am staying here, for a few more days anyway. i scraped my earlier plan of going to a category 1 reserve and getting oral histories, because no one is alive who would remember pre-1927, and am instead researching the revolts of 1947 (severe political turmoil) as a foil to the cultural conservation strategy of Analafaly (i also really want to go back to my village to give them photos from my stay). so, here in tana for a while longer (oh, unless i decide to go up to moramanga to visit a museum to the revolts–undecided).
we celebrated halloween here, at the hotel in tana, by dressing as each other (costume selection was limited) and going to each of the three rooms to trick-or-treat. it was ridiculous and hilarious. and then we celebrated: chocolate in one room, wine and wafers and nutella in the next, and cheese and rum and empty water bottles and chewing gum and peanuts (our contribution). it was a festive holiday but bittersweet because people were leaving for their respective travels starting the very next day.
we are finished with classes for the whole semester–we finished last week. a whole month devoted to the isp! then presentations, evaluations, salutations…and “reflection time” in the north of the country. i am utterly overwhelmed, yet nothing is pressing, so i’m in a strange sort of limbo. (also i am tired all the time, that does not help things)
love to everyone at home–