14 August 2007
Homes razed to "make Antananarivo more attractive"
[8/13/07 TANA Dear Estus, I went to the Alliance Francaise today to find a French tutor. What I found outside was more interesting. There is a little wood-plank neighborhood just in their front lawn. Some kids saw me walking by and I asked them if they wanted me to take their picture. Much to my surprise, they did, and so did everyone else at the place. I showed them the photos, on the back of my camera, and the jumped up and down, loving it. They are living in about the poorest situation I can think of – this river of sewage flows between them and the street. But they seemed totally cool with everything. I’m sure that’s a naïve, sunny-side perspective, but maybe I need to stop feeling so guilty about having money, and just try to have a good time with people, and help out where I can. Did read something when I got home that kind of burst my bubble: Reuters reports that 137 illegal (they don’t own the land) homes like these, just across the street actually, were bulldozed by the government to “make Antananarivo more attractive for the Indian Ocean games,” which are going on this week. Elyse Razafimahefa was the city council member quoted in the article. If people are still outside tomorrow, I will ask them about it and report back. Good luck with the Spanish at OCCC. --- John]