Antananarivo, What Is Happening to You?

In late January, Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of Antananarivo (the capital of Madagascar), made the proclamation that president Marc Ravalomanana is a "dictator" and declared himself the "new" president of Madagascar. Since then, violence, riots, and protests have erupted across the country, though mainly centered in Antananarivo. Rojoelina was ousted of his mayoral duties in early February, but that did not stop him and his large following from continuing to stir contempt and trouble. Many attempts at negotiations have been made, but have all failed. The economy of Madagascar, already a shockingly improvished country, is plummeting dramatically. Over 100 people have died since January, and many more have been injured. At the moment, there is no solution in sight.

Four months ago, if I'd heard about this, it would have slightly saddened me, perhaps. Political unrest anywhere isn't so good, innocent deaths or horrible, aye, but it wouldn't have affected me much. But because I was seriously considering moving there in October (hell, I was almost definitely going to be moving there)... this has affected me dramatically.

I'd had everything planned out. I was going to move there in October to help some people start a shelter in Antananarivo for young single mothers who couldn't afford to care for their children. I was going to stay there for a year. Everything was almost definite, and I'd been about to begin raising money for my going. Then, this occured. the couple who I was going to be staying with and working with informed me, and told me that they now had no idea whether or not they'll even be able to return to the country any time soon. Everything is doubtful, completely up in the air. It is so incredibly stressful, because I'm graduating from high school in the spring. I'd had my first year planned out; everything was going alright. And now I don't know anything. I have absolutely no idea what will happen.

And of course, it's not just me I'm concerned about. I feel emotionally connected to this country now. It pains me to think of how poorly things are going. It pains me to imagine all those people dying. And I cannot imagine what it must be like for Tanja and her husband right now (the couple who were going to start the shelter). They'd had everything planned out, everything was going well, it was their dream... and now they have no idea if they'll even be able to return to the country, much less start the shelter. And the truth is that though Ravalomanana may not be the best of presidents (I really don't know a whole lot about the situation, or the politics, or anything, I admit), this is far worse. According to Tanja, who had been living there... this is far, far worse. It's just... sad.


SheistheLorax SheistheLorax
18-21, F
5 Responses Feb 19, 2009

As you have probably read, the day-to-day violence has calmed down. I find your comments ironic, because you wanted to help single women who are in serious difficulty. You are too young to see the big picture, so let me help you. The Commander-in-Thief who robbed the country (and called himself "President Ravalomanana") made the people so poor that he was the reason you needed to start a shelter in the first place. You definitely should go anyway. Make sure you learn the language, talk to the people, experience life! You have to be careful, but no more careful than you would be in New York City if you have any brains. You will learn a lot about how this world works. It will be an invaluable experience for you. It will make you HUMAN. Get out of the capital (that's where the violence is, by the way, there is very little violence outside there), see the countryside, learn what it is to live life when you have to grow your own rice and vegetables, build a house from bricks and mud! You are young, there is a lot of time and experience ahead of you. Otherwise you will simply become a drone, which is the same as being in a box six feet underground.

Kay. Definitely.

Aye, as do I. It really would be an incredible experience, if I'm able to go.

Thank you, both of you. Aye, it is distressing. But Noe, you are right. I have thought about the fact that if I do go, being American will be of great help. And yessss... I've thought the same thing, that perhaps it is meant to be if I don't go. I can only hope that that would be the case... if it ends up being -that-, well, I'd honestly almost rather stay. =]

Oh love, I'm so sorry about this, I really hope it all gets sorted out in time for you to go. It's such a horrible situation from any angle.