Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2016-08-06 09:56:59
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Screen shot 2016-08-06 at 9.53.46 AM Screen shot 2016-08-06 at 9.53.54 AM
Saying goodbye is not easy after sharing a great moment of  6 weeks together. We all have interesting stories to share from our experience.
The Madagascar group was boarding to Istanbul and here is wishing them all safe travel and be prosperous in all you will undertake and Madagascar the whole country is thanking you all a bunch for your courage and willingness to live our culture and mingling with us!
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Goodbye Note from Sidonie

Sidonie Emerande,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

Saying goodbye is not easy after sharing a great moment of  6 weeks together. We all have interesting stories to share from our experience. The Madagascar group was boarding to Istanbul and here is wishing them all safe travel and be prosperous in all you will undertake and Madagascar the whole country is thanking you all […]

Posted On

08/6/16

Author

Sidonie Emerande

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-06 09:16:13
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    [post_content] => Hi all!

Team Madagascar is heading out!We have made it through security and our Turkish Airlines flight #161 is on time. We're departing at 4pm for Istanbul.

All the best,

Madagascar team
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Group on their way home

Dragons Administration,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

Hi all! Team Madagascar is heading out!We have made it through security and our Turkish Airlines flight #161 is on time. We’re departing at 4pm for Istanbul. All the best, Madagascar team

Posted On

08/6/16

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_content] => This morning was amazing: I and the others had the opportunity to go to the nature preserve here in Andasibe. We had an early departure on foot as we walked to a local hotely (Malagasy restaurant) to meet our guide and to have some morning chow. Our guide, Nasoavina, had an amazing story of how he ended up working for a local NGO, Mitsinjo, that runs all the conservation work in the local area. Nasoavina grew up in Andasibe and hunted the local birds until he was in his mid teens. However, the group founding Mitsinjo approached him to help with their conservation efforts. Nasoavina'S expertise of finding birds quickly (only five minutes into the hike to be exact) became apparent as he spotted an endemic bird that looked somewhat like a chicken. This species was the first of a few extremely rare ones we saw. The next, my favorite, is called the hooked beak vanga. Nasoavina heard a slow grumbling, smoothly sound that happened to belong to this particular bird. None of us heard the sound until we had walked for over a minute and were in range of sighting the petite winged creature. This bird was not particularly special for any reason, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from it once they crossed the vanga' enticing black eyes that matched its body. The black and white of the bird felt out of place in the rainforest. The penguin appearance of the bird, that is, its vivid colors, stuck out against the leafy green leaves of the surrounding palms. The bird flew over near us and looked directly at the group. Somehow there seemed to be a moment of understanding between the group and the shadowed black capped head.
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Hooked Beak Vanga

Sarah Milby,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

This morning was amazing: I and the others had the opportunity to go to the nature preserve here in Andasibe. We had an early departure on foot as we walked to a local hotely (Malagasy restaurant) to meet our guide and to have some morning chow. Our guide, Nasoavina, had an amazing story of how […]

Posted On

08/5/16

Author

Sarah Milby

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-05 18:03:53
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    [post_content] => 

We have so much respect for Sidonie Emerande. Since the start of the trip, she has consistently shown positivity, persistence, and a plethora of knowledge.

Sidone started living on her own at the age of 11 in a rural village on the northern coast of Madagascar, which to us seems so noble and courageous. We could never imagine fending for ourselves at the age when we were learning how to do long division in Math class. Despite the difficulties she must’ve faced when living independently, she faced adversity and successfully received her English degree from the University of Antananarivo. Instead of using her vast knowledge of the English language abroad, she chose to use her expertise in linguistics to give back to her country.

Sidonie plays a vital role with Zara Aina, which is a non-profit organization that provides children living in deprived conditions with education, shelter, and a safe space in which they can freely express themselves through the arts. Every year, American actors help direct a theatrical performance, which tours throughout Madagascar.  Sidonie’s role in this organization is to translate stage directions from the English-speaking directors to the Malagasy-speaking children.

We believe actions like this are the ones that spark a long-lasting positive change in the disorderly Malagasy system. Children with high probabilities of ending up in situations of sexual slavery or extreme labor conditions are given more opportunities through Zara Aina to change their future.

Even though Sidonie teaches English to individuals in Madagascar and Malagasy to Westerners, she also is keen on learning from her students and is determined to exchange as much knowledge and experiences from others as she can. We admire her thirst for gaining as many diverse opinions from the people he comes into contact with through her frequent travels.

We feel so grateful for getting the opportunity to learn the Malagasy culture and language from someone as amazing as Sidonie. She has taught us so much about her beautiful country, but has, more importantly, taught us many life lessons that will be impossible to forget. Spending six weeks with Sidonie Emerande was a privilege that not many people will get to have, and for that we are incredibly grateful.

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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Sidonie

Charlie Knepper and Paola Karapatakis,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

We have so much respect for Sidonie Emerande. Since the start of the trip, she has consistently shown positivity, persistence, and a plethora of knowledge. Sidone started living on her own at the age of 11 in a rural village on the northern coast of Madagascar, which to us seems so noble and courageous. We […]

Posted On

08/5/16

Author

Charlie Knepper and Paola Karapatakis

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    [post_content] => Time flies! It's hard to believe that we're already preparing to say goodbye. As we reflect back on the past six weeks together, here are a few photos of our time in Madagascar.

Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.50.27 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.50.38 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.50.48 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.51.12 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.51.28 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.51.39 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.51.52 PM Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 5.52.05 PM
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A Few Photos from Madagascar

Sidonie Emerande,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

Time flies! It’s hard to believe that we’re already preparing to say goodbye. As we reflect back on the past six weeks together, here are a few photos of our time in Madagascar.

Posted On

08/5/16

Author

Sidonie Emerande

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-04 17:21:30
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    [post_content] => Dear Madagascar Students & Families,

Madagascar summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and share their tales of adventure with each of you. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference:

August 6th, 2016

Turkish Airlines #161

Depart: Antananarivo (TNR) 4:00 PM

Arrive: Istanbul (IST) 4:45 AM (August 7th)

 

August 7th, 2016

Turkish Airlines #177

Depart: Istanbul (IST) 6:40 AM

Arrive: Washington DC (IAD) 11:10 AM

Should you need any assistance during student travel days, please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Return Travel Information

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

Dear Madagascar Students & Families, Madagascar summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and share their tales of adventure with each of you. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference: August 6th, 2016 Turkish Airlines […]

Posted On

08/4/16

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-03 14:24:57
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    [post_content] => Salame!

It is hard to believe that we come to the last week of our program already!

We all made it for the trekking, exchanged fun activities and discussions, spent time doing different hands on activities, visiting and talking with inspiring people from NGOs, sharing great time playing and serving at a nursing home and singing and acting with kids from less privileged families. We threw a party with homestay families after doing different kinds of daily activities such as cooking, milking cows, dancing, farming baby weighing, making cheese, attending religious weddings for some and so on.

We are now in Andasibe and ready to leave tomorrow feeling our heads on our shoulders in different ways as Madagascar Heroes for 2016!

Kind regards!

Sidonie Emerande
    [post_title] => Transference Note From Sidonie
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Transference Note From Sidonie

Sidonie Emerande,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

Salame! It is hard to believe that we come to the last week of our program already! We all made it for the trekking, exchanged fun activities and discussions, spent time doing different hands on activities, visiting and talking with inspiring people from NGOs, sharing great time playing and serving at a nursing home and singing and […]

Posted On

08/3/16

Author

Sidonie Emerande

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-03 14:23:18
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    [post_content] => There is an Albanian phrase my dad used to say when I was young: "Every new language you learn is a new face you have". He was quoting an ambassador he knew in Albania who presumably spoke more than eight languages. However, as I started learning my third language, French, I realized that while learning a new language you learn more about your 'current face' rather than 'add a new one'. While I continue learning more about the three languages I use more throughout my life, I never planned to learn Malagasy. I didn't see a Malagasy face as useful in my life in the West and I didn't think that it would do much to my current one. I was wrong.

When we arrived in Ambatimanga, in the Fi Hotel I entered the reception and saw their library. As I was checking all the books and saw that all of them were in French and mostly about agriculture and cheese, I realized that the only books that I would actually find useful were two dictionaries. One of the was English- French, the other French- Malagasy. I took the first one to continue studying French while in the homestay and the second to learn one or two words I would need to communicate to my homestay family. The first one was supposed to be used much more than the second one. Wrong, again. 

I initially started learning Malagasy because I absolutely loved my homestay in Mangily and wanted to communicate with them. Fifa and Faneva were brother and sister, and both became my teachers of Malagasy. My mother, Neny, and my father, Rafael, were always there for encouragements and said "Tsara beeee!" (Very good!) every time I told them a new word I had learned. In the beginning it was words: "mituvi" (the same), "voky tsara be"(i am very well fed), "majzina" (night), "mangatsika" (cold), "isika" (us), "kitapom-bola" (scholarship) etc. Soon I learned phrases, and then phrases became conversations. By the end of my homestay I was able to tell my mother how her food was the best I had eaten in my entire stay in Madagascar, how the West buys petroleum from Saudi Arabia thus it is a rich country, how I study and live in Switzerland but grew up in Albania etc. The hardest thing to explain to my family was how I did not like eating 'mufugasi' and 'mufusira', which are very traditional Malagasy food items. I knew I had to learn how to properly phrase this so my mother wouldn't get offended. "Mufugasi manana manaka bestaka, satria tsi tiaku" (I don't like mufugasi because it has a lot of oil). As a miracle, my mother says "tsi tiaku mufugasi" (which means I don't like mufugasi). This was probably one of the best moments of my homestay because I realized that me not liking a certain food was not offending to my Neny. Score, she was meant to be my homestay mother! More and more I learned, more and more I connected with my family. I didn't want to be the foreigner guest who stays in their house and says only "Thank you!" and "Ajza kabone?" (Where is the bathroom?). Thus, my Malagasy improved!

Proving my past self wrong, I ended up learning many more words that I thought I would. Proving myself wrong for the second time, I also learned much more about myself by learning Malagasy than I thought I would. Learning Malagasy, I started noticing the words I used the most "aoriana" (after), "taona" (next), "rapitso" (tomorrow). They were a clear reflection of me, always planning the tomorrow and thinking about "the after" and "the next". I've been told since young that "I should live the present!". (The funny thing is that everyone who tells me this thinks they are the first ones.) I've been told so often that throughout my high school I always tried to 'live the present' and 'enjoy the moment' by excessively boring myself. Even before coming to Madagascar my goal was to "live in the present". Learning Malagasy put a cap on this personal dilemma of mine: I can't just live in the present, because I have no defined meaning of the present (as I see my Casio watch and seconds passing by, I get even more confused). I enjoy thinking about the past, working in the present, and improving my future; and that's how it's probably going to be for the rest of my life. I like living in the present, same as I like living in the future, because frankly to me they are not very different from each other. As long as I find time to go the sauna, eat dark chocolate, and travel, I am living the present enough to be happy. I will forever be thankful to the 'teny Malagasy' for ending this dilemma for me.

This was the second reason why I kept learning Malagasy more and more every night.

The third reason is that Malagasy is simply a beautiful language. My favorite word in Malagasy is "masoandro" which means sun. The word is formed by the combination of the word "maso" (eye) and "andro" (day), thus, sun is "the eye of the day". Malagasy words like this fascinated me because of their artistic and visual values. 
I ended up learning quite a bit of Malagasy because of my homestay family, because of the "live in the present" dilemma, and because it is a beautiful language. 
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Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: Madagascar

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Why I Decided to Learn Malagasy in the Last Week

Besart Copa,Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

There is an Albanian phrase my dad used to say when I was young: “Every new language you learn is a new face you have”. He was quoting an ambassador he knew in Albania who presumably spoke more than eight languages. However, as I started learning my third language, French, I realized that while learning […]

Posted On

08/3/16

Author

Besart Copa

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    [post_content] => We have arrived and have settled in to our last stop on our trip through Madagascar. We are staying in Andasibe National Park which is about 5 hours from Tana and spending a few days wrapping up our journey together and doing a little hiking in the nearby rainforest. We will leave here on Thursday morning and head back to Tana for one last day in the capital city before heading to the airport on the 6th to start our long journey's back home. Madagascar has a way of stretching time and the long days of overland travel can seem endless but it can both expedite the circling of the sun to make six weeks seem like a flash in the pan. It is surprising how one can both feel exhausted and ready for more at the same time but I think that is how most of us feel: like we have simultaneously been through a lot but still yearning for more.

 

 
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Transference

Micah LeMasters,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

We have arrived and have settled in to our last stop on our trip through Madagascar. We are staying in Andasibe National Park which is about 5 hours from Tana and spending a few days wrapping up our journey together and doing a little hiking in the nearby rainforest. We will leave here on Thursday […]

Posted On

08/2/16

Author

Micah LeMasters

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-28 12:28:38
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    [post_content] => We had a great day of farming with the local community today, and then had a soccer match between Team Dragons and Team Ambatomanga. We scored one goal, but the homestay community ultimately won. The group is enjoying the homestays immensely and enjoying village activities, including local cooking classes.

[caption id="attachment_146689" align="aligncenter" width="780"]Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.23.44 PM Last morning of the five day trek in Isalo[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_146690" align="aligncenter" width="777"]Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.23.55 PM Students farming this morning in the homestays[/caption]
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SUMMER: Madagascar

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Photos from Madagascar Group

Instructor Team,SUMMER: Madagascar

Description

We had a great day of farming with the local community today, and then had a soccer match between Team Dragons and Team Ambatomanga. We scored one goal, but the homestay community ultimately won. The group is enjoying the homestays immensely and enjoying village activities, including local cooking classes.

Posted On

07/28/16

Author

Instructor Team

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