I am expanding my French vocabulary: I had a “Flamiche” for lunch, which is a leek tart – French is so much more elegant than English. The description of wines on the French menu also contains several new words that roll off the tongue like, well uh, good wine. The hotel caters to an English clientele but I must have passed the test as I am given the French menu now. The restaurant is lovely and looks out over the marechages (also sounds better than marshes, non?) and the human and bird lives that they sustain. I still don’t know what the people, half submerged, do all day, but one thing is sure, they toil.

My work is no toil and my light schedule (this weekend and today) help me to recover from whatever I picked up in the plane. I am feeling much better though the gurgling sounds in my lungs are a little upsetting, even though they sound innocuous, like a baby’s little noises.  I took an afternoon nap and keep drinking warm water with lime and local honey. I should be good enough for action tomorrow morning and for the next 3 days.

I was joined by my other co-trainer this morning at the project office and we reviewed the program and divided roles. We first met 16 years ago when he worked with our project here. He has set up his own training institute which has done well in all these years, making a name for his firm and contributing to ‘andragogie’ being known and practiced all around. Madagascar is the only place where I don’t have to explain anything that relates to adult education. They know – and it all seems to be part of the legacy of that distant MSH project called APPROPOP that ended in 1998. We talked about this and what made such a legacy possible and concluded that an enormous investment in training and education and full integration of project staff and counterparts was responsible for the change of mindset and outlook that is still noticeable today, nearly two decades later.

I had hoped to reconnect with a few remarkable Malgaches I got to know well when I came here periodically and was sad to hear that one was dead, two retired (one of them in France) and one had left the country after having been jailed for being in the wrong party. So there won’t be as much reconnecting. On the other hand, I am meeting plenty of new interesting people, new colleagues and even a friend of our ‘across-Lobster Cove’ neighbors who I hope to see next weekend when I should be past my contagious state.

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September 2014
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