Amazing. That was my first impression of Ivohibe when we arrived in the darkness. Not even a night in the Sahara two years ago revealed such a breath-taking star-spangled cope of heaven - in this small village which was our home base for the next three month. During our stay in Madagascar I took Ivohibe, our group, the WWF agents and the locals into my heart and I felt home.
During the three months in the Ihorombe region we visited 12 different villages which were scattered within distance of 50 kilometres from Ivohibe. Closer villages happened to be in walking distance of 25 kilometres. All our trips had their adventurous sides and brought along a lot of fun. We fought against the bloodthirsty leeches in the wet forest, crossed rivers with or without wobbly boats or carried two chickens 20 kilometres in a basket back to Ivohibe.
Although our stays in the villages were always different in the sense of education, planning and social interaction, the locals welcomed us cordially in every village. The villages were small and not home to a high number of people. Nevertheless they put out tremendously generous with us despite their scarce possessions. I was impressed by the generosity and hospitality from the Malagasy people which added up to feel accepted in this foreign culture and at least as a short-term member of the village.
The simple life in the villages where we slept in tents surrounded by typical sub-Saharan African loam houses was visually and spiritually appealing. Even if I was conscious of the life in development countries I realised once more, how fundamental nature is for people who rely in a straight line on it. Rivers, for example, were not only the source for drinking water but also the shower and sink for the dishes.