Friday, February 4, 2011

Year One in Pictures!

First an introduction…
Well hello dear friends and/or family and/ or strangers, welcome to my house. Please won’t you come join me on my porch…

Isn’t it wonderful weather we’re having here? I couldn’t see beyond this hedge here before 7 this morning! That means it’s going to be hot today.

Oh and hear comes my young friend Naina. He’s certainly a character and maybe the most inquisitive child around. Beware however to guard your shiny things or else he’ll start to tinker…

Please come on into my house. I was just about to cook myself some lunch. Would you like big leaves or small leaves?

Well now that we’re both full off of indigestible roughage, come with me while I go to work. It’s just another afternoon teaching Santa how to graft his citrus trees.

If you stay for tomorrow you’ll get to come along with these crazy characters while we plant native forest trees!

You know it’s all just another day in the rainforest over here. Hey Ndrina what is it you smell? Something bad huh?

Yea, look Mampionina smells it too. Just take a look at her face! Probably those fruit fly cultures we started doing the other day. A few of them got a little moldy, but you know it’s all a learning experience.

But you do know what they say, all work and no play makes Tolatra a dull boy. So come on over, we’ll have a fresh coconut break with my friends. They’re great. The goofball with her hand in her mouth next to me is Katie. Smile Mcsmileson in the black sweater is Chantel. Nicki, the red head in a red tank top, is next to her and is receiving lessons on how to properly drink a coconut by my friend Brittany who decided to take a Macarena break as well. Aren’t they all just so crazy? Love them!

Just back from another great vacay but this time we traded me for Kelly and Brittany for Dan. Kelly and Dan are chuckleheads too so we all make a good group. I hope you’re a chucklehead too or else you might not be able to hang.

If you’re not a chucklehead perhaps you could hang with either of these rad fellas. One’s Malagasy and the other Welsh (guess who is which) and therefore not of American decent so probably have a bit more sense to them. Then again, maybe not…

Please family/friend/stranger, won’t you come with me on a bike trip around Madagascar’s largest lake? We can stop at towns along the way to teach the local people about AIDS, safe sex, gardening techniques for an immune boosting diet, and we can dance on stages and purposely act like fools since either way they’ll be talking about us. I promise it’ll be a hair pulling, butt chafing, dehydratingly good time!

Or perhaps you’d like something a little less active? Like sitting in large circles on small children? Well come with me as we join my fellow volunteer Amanda at her children’s environment camp. We’ll teach them about trusting each other and how all things in nature must rely on, must trust in everything else to keep it supported, to keep it from falling flat on its butt!

Hate crushing small children? Yea that’s fair. Well, at this project with a Dutch Habitat for Humanity International group from the Netherlands, we didn’t sit on small children but we did get them to pass bricks and learn some songs!

Or how about this trip with Hope for Madagascar? They took 30 young school kids from across the country to go see the beach, plant trees at a rural school a few hundred kilometers (a big deal to them) and share their cultural differences.

But perhaps sometimes you don’t want to be surrounded by small children. Perhaps you just want to cherish some time spent with the ones you love. Like maybe, kickin’ on a beach with your parents (Hi Mom and Dad)…

Or dancing in the rain on a beach you’re your older brother (hey Matt!)…

Or trekking over spiky things called tsingy...

You decide what kind of adventure you'd like over here in Madagascar and you let me know. For now, however, that is all. Thanks for visiting! Please allow my living alarm clock to show you out. If you ask him nicely he might sing a song for you. Take care!


  1. What an adventure! You're so awesome.

    Missin' ya.


  2. tolliver:

    Mad looks beautiful and tons of fun. So much fun that I wrote you this hiaku:

    madagascar is
    fruit friends doing green fun things
    is all about laughing

    I am only posting this cause you asked for comments...

  3. Awesome pictures! I miss you mucho!

  4. what katie learned from your blog today: you are a dork. i am exceedingly photogenic.

  5. I love this. Excellent tour of your life the past year. Thank you for helping me to escape my fairly regular office job for a little while. I miss you dearly.