If you stay alone in Mada, you must be a sociopath



Posted on 11 June 2013  | 
True, it took me a little while to ridden myself of my (maybe typical German, maybe just personal) general skepticism that strangers who randomly start talking to me potentially want something from me. It has been said many times before, but deserves to be repeated here because it really is one of the greatest virtues of this country: Malagasies are genuinely friendly and trustworthy. As generalisations are always false, there will of course be exceptions to this rule. But by and large, it is touching and heartwarming how eager people are on communicating and how much they are willing to share a nice moment or two and invite you to their family's home at the next occasion.

Friendliness and avoiding conflicts is deeply rooted in the culture. For the village community, social peace was essential. This has implications on the way people interact in the streets, but might also serve to explain why crime rates are relatively low, considering that we are talking about the 4th poorest country in the world and people would have plenty of reason for aggression. Tragically for the Malagasies, their aversion of conflicts (and the strong belief in fate/destiny) surely also plays an important role in the unbearable political situation of a corrupt "transitional" government being able to stay in power for 4 years already, doing practically nothing for the population - I just can't stop thinking that in any other country, a revolution or civil war would have broken out long ago.
Teenagers in Toliara, Madagascar
© ©WWF / Marie Fischborn Enlarge

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