Thursday, 1 March 2012

Where is Madagascar?

Over the years, preparing for this project, many people are surprised to learn that Madagascar is actually a real place…but is actually not home to any sort of Madagascar penguins.  For this reason, we thought it would be a good idea to use the Madagascar 2012 Blog to bring everyone a little bit of information about this vibrant Indian Ocean island nation.
As mentioned, Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean, just off the south east coast of the African continent.  The Mozambique Channel separates Madagascar from the country of Mozambique.  Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and has been nicknamed the “Eighth Continent” because of how incredibly unique the wildlife is there, where 90% of species on the island can be found nowhere else on Earth. 

The capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo and it is located right in the middle of the country.  This project will be taking place in the village of Ambato Boeni, which is approximately a 12 hour drive northwest from Antananarivo.  The Contingent from Scouts Canada that will be travelling to Ambato Boeni will actually be flying into the city of Mahajanga (also spelled Majunga and Majanga), which is only around 90 minutes north from Ambato Boeni. 

Ambato Boeni is located within the Boeni Region.  Interestingly, the word Boeni is spelled Boeny in Malagasy, the native language of Madagascar.  The name Ambato Boeni in Malagasy means “the Rock of Boeni”.  The population of Ambato Boeni is around 23, 500 and it is split into five quarters (yes, five).  The project will be taking place in the impoverished third quarter, or Troisieme Quartier as it’s called (French is the second official language of Madagascar).

The Troisieme Quartier is located along the banks of the Betsiboka River, a main river which flows north towards the ocean.  Unfortunately, the water of the Betsiboka River has been contaminated upstream by a variety of sources.  This was why diggings wells was a high priority for the community, to provide a safe source of water for drinking, cooking and sanitation.  These wells were dug and completed in 2009, following the postponement of the project, with funds donated by the original members of the project in Tri-Shores Council.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing many more stories, pictures and interesting facts about Madagascar.  Be sure to follow the Madagascar 2012 Blog!

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