My first impressions of Beheloke
When I entered our host home in Beheloke I knew I was going to live an unforgettable experience. The commune of Beheloke is in Madagascar’s “Atsimo Andrefana” (Southwestern) region, situated 256 km south of Toliara. This is the site where WWF has sent us 6 volunteers, coming from all four corners of the world, who are working in villages along this coast on a project to improved livelihoods through solar-powered desalinization of ground water.
The first few days of the mission with the other volunteers were so exciting.
We arrived in Anakao after having crossed the sea by motorboat from Toliara, all the while receiving an amazing coastal view of the landscape. Once in Anakao we then travelled by car to Beheloke. On the road, we admired the spiny bush that characterizes this part of Madagascar.
Upon arriving, my first impression was that it really is rural. The village is very calm, with no infrastructure. Later on, after arriving at the house that would be our home for the duration of our stay, I started to see the real beauty of the landscape. This house, located right on the beach, gives us a perfect sea view. I was amazed by the beach. It is clean, the sea is calm and the white sand is so fine and soft to walk on. The blue reflection of the sky on the water and the strong sunrays, cooled by the gentle sea winds, gave me the impression of being on holiday! The air also is pure and fresh here and we see hardly anyone around the beach.
It is surprising to me that I have never before heard of the great beauty of this region, as it really is remarkable.
Our reception by the villagers was so warm and welcoming. With the tanalagna dialect that we were taught in Antananarivo, we could present ourselves and talk with them a little. The locals were happily surprised that we tried to adopt their language. The atmosphere and warmth of the local people both motivate me to work hard in this program.
For the first few days, we met various authorities and villagers. My first impression of the villagers is that they are very active and thirsty for development. There is a wide range of associations here, for example Vezo Mitsinjo ny Hoavy, the sociable women’s association.
However, Beheloka faces some challenges that directly affect the population and that is where WWF comes in and where my fellow volunteers and I come in. We have come here to help as best we can.