10 August 2007

Haunted forests, haunting history

[8/03/07 MARODOCANA, MADA --- Dear John, I nearly jumped back this morning when I saw a golden spider perched on its web, blocking my path out of a small village called Marodocana. “He’s a good architect,” said Jean-Pierre, my guide, who is prone to glass-half-full thinking. “Here in Madagascar, God has blessed us. We have no poisonous things.” That was a relief, but J-P still had to coax me close enough to take a good picture. We had just visited a largely abandoned village that once was the center for commerce and the slave trade on Nosy Be, an island of Madagascar’s northern coast. Indian and Arab slave traders came here between the 900s and 1884, J-P said, to take Malagasy into slavery elsewhere, and to bring African slaves into this area. Local kings bought and sold slaves. Some of the enslaved Malagasy were dehumanized by Malagasy kings to the point that they were forced to gather up royal spit and urine, lest it stay on the ground, where local witches could curse it. Many locals still believe this area is haunted (witches, broomsticks and all), and they beg Jean-Pierre not to walk through these eerie forests. He doesn’t buy it. – John]


Josh said...

I believe that's a Golden Orb Weaver.

I love all of your and Jessie's posts! Keep it up! Really fun to follow along!

Dawn said...

We miss you! Ellie said at day care last week, "I'm going to kick your ass!" Can't imagine where she heard that. We're all back here in multimedia heavan. Pet Show got a sponsor so Carrie, Lindsay and I have hit the big time. I just read all the post cards -- inspiring! I'll be reading more often now for sure.