Climate Witness: Monique Tombo, Madagascar



Posted on 16 March 2010  | 
Monique Tombo Climate Witness
Monique Tombo Climate Witness
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My name is Monique Tombo and I am 35 years old. I am a fisherwoman and live in a wooden house in Ampasindava. My village is next to the sea, within the borders of the new marine National Park of Nosy Hara in northern Madagascar. My wooden house stands on stilts, because we don’t like to sleep on the floor. I have 5 kids. Unfortunately, I have a bad eye. However, I have no money to do something about it.

My village has 365 inhabitants, as many as there are days in the year. Most of them are fishermen like me. There is a mangrove swamp behind the village, where we find crabs.

At low tide I go out to sea to collect octopus and sea cucumbers. Unfortunately, there are almost no sea cucumbers left. I could gather up to 50 kg in the old days, now it’s between 10-20 kgs, at most. My father was a fisherman and even his father before him. I believe there was still more fish at the time. The wind was not as strong as today! Today, our husbands sometimes have to travel very far to fish, because the wind is too strong here. That costs a lot of money! The price for fish is low as always, while the price for rice is increasing steadily.

When my parents were my age, the sea level was not as high. Now it rises higher and higher up the coast and the beach becomes narrower.

The rainy season is getting shorter. In the old days, it started early in December and stopped in March Now it starts in January only and in February it’s already finished! Unfortunately, that's not enough to plant a lot. We are cultivating some maize for our own use.
 
The only well that hasn’t run dry yet is pretty far away. We try to collect the little rain we get. I'm pretty sure that all of these changes are due to bush fires. People always burn everything down! This cannot be a good thing!

I'm afraid that my children have to suffer even more. I fear that nature will be completely destroyed by the time they are grown up! The new National Park could be a chance for them, because at least they can find work. Yes, I think this park is an opportunity for us to find other sources of income.

We created a women’s association and we want to build a few bungalows for tourists. The land has already been determined and we are ready. Unfortunately, we still lack the money to build the houses...
 
Life used to be a lot easier than it is today.


 

Scientific review

A scientific review by a member of the Climate Witness Science Advisory Panel is pending.
 
 
 
Monique Tombo Climate Witness
Monique Tombo Climate Witness
© WWF Enlarge
Ampasindava, Madagascar
Ampasindava, Madagascar
© WWF Enlarge
Ampasindava, Madagascar
Ampasindava, Madagascar
© WWF Enlarge
Ampasindava, Madagascar
Ampasindava, Madagascar
© WWF Enlarge

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