06 September 2012

On our way to Madagascar

Dear Freinds,

this is the post from yesterday.

We traveled from Douala to Nairobi where we had an overnight transit and left the hotel at 06:30 on the way to Madagascar.

So as usual our journey led to us to many experiences:

In Africa it is very popular to “Lnilen” cover your baggage in plastic wrap, this is very important against several maladies rain and theft, so if in Rome act like a roman we did too, for a cost of 4$ per bag…..


The air Kenya flight was really good, good service, not so good flight connections (we had to have the overnight transit which is a waste of a full day and very disappointing, but alas this is Africa), but getting back to the service since we had no meetings today and no care in the world we decided to have some drinks which were offered to us very generously, see below, as you can imagine we had quite a funny flight.

drinks on the flight to Nairobi

But back to reality, we came to our hotel, which we paid for by the internet in advance and it was not registered, they were very nice about it and said they will make the checks and get back to us, so in 6 oclock when we left they still did'nt know if we paid or not but trusted us. But they did not have a good internet so once again, the posting is done late, I hope that we don’t have this problem in Antananarivo, (we don't) but in any case I opened office in the only place WiFi was available hopefully waiting to get connected, alas that did not happen.

Pic of Ornit’s makeshift office in the hotel in Nairobi


1.   I still have purple spots from the dye of the bazan material from a week ago!!!!!
2.   The dizziness, queasiness, is most likely from the malaria pills, it is getting better.
3.   WiFi check: grand hotel Niamey – very good; Meirna hotel – Yaounde – very good; Planet hotel douala – not so good; bounty hotel – Niarobi – not so good. Airports Nairobi and addis aba – great! the rest don’t have.
4.   Oh and my computer battery just died out…. And I bought a new one just for the trip, again very disappointing.


Madagascar is famed for its “mega diversity” as the New Yorker coined in their fantastic article Slow and steady about the Angonka Turtles which are on the verge of extinction, thank you Jonah for sharing….. Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, lies off the south east coast of the African mainland. Madagascar has a variable climate, ranging from tropical along the coast, to temperate in the inland and plateau areas, to arid in the south. Thus, the island can be divided into sub regions concerning its water issues. 
80 percent of its animals and plant species are endemic, looking forward to seeing some, hope I have the chance. “The rate of extinction is high, owing to deforestation at a catastrophic rate – the country has lost 90% of its forest to logging and slash-and- burn agriculture.” (new Yorker article). While flooding afflicts the country’s northern and central regions, the population in the south has been overwhelmed over the years by a severe drought, which has led to under-nutrition, water and sanitation crisis and a loss of agricultural livelihood, and why we are there.
Madagascar became independent in 1960, but continues to deal in a decentralized fashion as per the French operation system which was formed in the colony. Madagascar is divided into six provinces composed of 22 regions containing 1500 smaller administrative units called Communes. Each Commune is destined to have its own Development Action Plan but most of them lack both the funding and the staff to produce such plans.
Madagascar has been experiencing a socio-political crisis since 2009 associated with the global financial crisis, political turmoil and unanimous departure of most of the international organizations from supporting Madagascar, leaving the challenges unmet and weakening people's living conditions substantially, again why we are going there. 
Madagascar has an array of extensive water needs, which are both in the Macro and Micro level and require long term effort. Within the water sector some of the stronger provinces have kept a sustainable organization and flow but within the Toliara Province and especially Androy and Anosy Regions where we plan to work, all infrastructure collapsed and the area has been declared on the verge of water scarcity due to draught and the dysfunction of public administration in the area.
The national DIORANO -WASH Strategy paper published in 2003 estimated that the total burden of water and sanitation related illness on the Malagasy economy was over 300 times greater than the amount of public money being invested in the sector.  The limited access to clean water, high rates of open defecation, improper handling of children’s stools and poor hygiene behavior has resulted in water borne diseases such as diarrhea being the second-leading cause of child mortality in Madagascar.  Years of government and NGO sponsored infrastructure projects without establishing durable management structures capable of maintaining the systems has resulted in hundreds of abandoned, often unmapped water points scattered throughout the countryside.
So hold fingers for us and let’s see if WaterWays can assist in doing something about this problem!

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