My fairytaleSo here I was living my dream after traveling 5,432 miles (Paris-Antananarivo) by plane and 2 days by car, including 5 hours on a very bumpy mud road, to arrive in Ivohibe. Ivohibe lies at the border of two ecosystems, the midaltitude altitude rainforest and savanna grass land, and many of the surrounding communities are on the boundary of Andringitra National Park and Ivohibe Peak Special Reserve along the forest corridor on the east coast of Madagascar. To reach these small communities working with the WWF, I had to travel beyond where a plane or car could take me. I entered a world isolated and forgotten by most, accessible only by walking for many hours over hills and crossing streams.
Here, I found the most amazing place, a small village named Ihorononda. You might have a hard time finding it on a map, but this is a piece of paradise on the edge of a unique ecosystem with many endemic species. If you rise early, you can see ring-tailed lemurs jumping from one rock to the next, warming up in the rising sun. During the walk here, colorful grasshoppers, frogs and snakes will cross your path and you will feel free like the birds flying above your head. Here I am where there is no electricity, but the sky is so clear that the stars brighten the night and there are so many shooting stars that I can make all the wishes I want. There is no tap water but a stream to drink, wash and play in. There is not the noise of cars but laughter of children during the day and the song of crickets and frogs at night. There are none of the comforts of modern life, but you find peace. The people are not bothered or rushed but the most welcoming, happy and generous people I have ever seen sharing their simple meal of rice with us. This is the type of place I imagined when reading fairytales as a child, and here it is just in front of me.
This experience gave me a new direction, and time will show where it will take me.