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My name is Mylène Francoeur, I am 29 years old, and I am from Canada. I am currently finishing my Master Degree in International Ecology at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada.
As far as I can remember, I have always been curious to discover the world that surrounds me. Throughout the years, different travelling opportunities have presented themselves to me and little by little, the world became mine to discover. Those travels confirmed my passion for nature and opened my eyes on the complexity of the relationship between men and their environment. It is often difficult to understand the reason behind certain actions that mankind has towards nature. However, I firmly believe that a big part of the solution lies in the implication of local communities and in the roles that we give them in resolving those problems.
A learning experience
My stay in Madagascar was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, both on a professional and personal level. The community offered us a warm welcome and was very eager to work with us for the good of their environment. How can you not be motivated when people are so excited to learn and to offer you a helping hand? While we were able to teach many things to the community they quickly returned the favour by teaching us a few things as well. Despite the difficulties that stood in our way, the community always pulled through to give us a hand to come up with ingenious ways to make things work. Resourcefulness seemed to come so naturally to the community that work and kitchen tools could be made out of nothing. To this day, I am still impressed by the ingenuity of the children that would build toys from materials that to me would end up in the garbage. This was a nice life lesson for someone that grew up in a consumer country. My experience in Madagascar was one of sharing knowledge from us, the volunteers, to the people of Madagascar and it will forever be in my heart.
Me and technology!
This might sound strange but what scared me the most about my trip to Madagascar wasn’t to be in a place where there wasn’t any running water or ways of communication… What scared me the most was the fact that I had to create a movie during my stay in Madagascar! How could I possibly achieve that? Which theme was I going to pick? Even if I had all the will power in the world, I had no experience or knowledge on movie production… When I first got to Madagascar, I quickly noticed that many of the other volunteers already had a bit of experience with movie production. I must admit that I was relieved that some of the team members had previous experience in this but this also made me a bit shy about my lack of knowledge on the subject. Fortunately, I quickly realized that each member of the team had their own strengths and assets to bring to the rest of the team. Who would’ve thought that one day I was going to produce my own movie as well as radio shows? I am the first one to be both surprised and proud of myself! This shows that it is always possible to surpass what we believe we can do. Hooray for collaboration and team work!
Here is a concrete example of action led in the field by a team of WWF volunteers. You can see the difficulties they met , their successes and of course the importance of that kind of project within the country communities in Madagascar.