About to go back in the bush, minus a phone

Yes guys i’m afraid our Madagascar mobile phone has been stolen so nobody can call us for the time being. John still has his British phone for texts but we’re not sure how he’s going to keep it charged as our only charger was also taken. Ah well, these things happen, we’ll see if we can arrange something when we get back from the bush.

Since John wrote we’ve been hanging around town asking passers by about their awareness of AIDS. Azafady are worried about AIDS in Madagascar even though the rate is pretty low in comparison to mainland Africa. The evil mining company John mentioned, Rio Tinto, are planning to bring in hundreds of workers from South Africa where the AIDS rate is about 1 in 4 compared to 1 in 90 here. The workers will be a long way from their families and so it’s not difficult to imagine the potential consequences if the locals are not aware of the risks.

The AIDS rate in parts of Africa, especially Swaziland, is truly incomprehensible. It’s really weird when you look around you in an African internet cafe and know that maybe four or five people you’re currently sharing a room with will die of AIDS.

Anyway back to Madagascar and the surveys: they were pretty interesting and caused much hilarity about town. Most people knew about sticking to one partner and wearing condoms but changing behaviour is a different thing entirely. Many people still don’t believe in AIDS as they’ve never met anyone who’s had it. There is clearly still a lot to do here if we want to stop Madagascar going down the same route as Africa. We’re not scheduled to do any more work on the issue here but Azafady is bidding for some funding to continue.

What we are going to do next is to rebuild some damaged rain forest, build a well and some accommodation for midwives at a remote village further up the coast. The accommodation for the midwives will be invaluable as it means that expectant mothers who get into trouble will actually have some help near by. There is no transport to speak of around there so mothers and babies have died in the past trying to make their way to help situated miles away.

We’re also going to build some more efficient stoves to keep fighting against the need to chop down forest for fuel. More silly dancing for John then!

And finally. The maggot tally is currently 5-0 to John. He is now officially a complete scrubber, don’t worry they’ve all been successfully prised away from the inside of his feet.

Take care all!