As you probably know, Roger has always loved the challenge of international jobs. He has worked in Panama, Brazil and Suriname and each time he came away with a greater appreciation of different cultures, and interesting stories of life far away from Canada.
My life list keeps getting goals added and accomplished, but has always held the following wish: Live at least 2 years in a foreign country where I have to learn another language.
Bingo. What started with a casual comment from his brother, Colin, President of Layne Energy in Kansas - has ended in Roger heading over to Madagascar to begin managing a 2 year drilling program. I am going on July 19th and once I spend some time there and we'll see if things will work out. I'm game for anything, and the goal is that when Roger has time off, we'll travel to the "gotta go there" destinations on our list. We also realize that we're at a great point in our lives where we have the opportunity to be together and have an adventure at the same time.
So where the heck is Madagascar? Up until last year, we were like most people who just thought of the animated film by the same name; a land of lemurs and chameleons. But did you know.....
- It is an island that is the 4th largest in the world and lies on the East side of Africa
- The island abounds with rainforests, tropical beaches, small islands and coral reefs, and protected national parks.
- The lemur, numerous species of butterflies, birds and amphibians, half of the world's chameleons, and 80 percent of Madagascar's plant life are endemic to the island.
- The population of Madagascar is also a unique mixture of races. The majority of the island's initial immigrants were from Indonesia and South East Asia who, over the course of 2000 years, intermixed with migrants from the African mainland as well as Arab and European traders. Today, there are 18 official tribes in Madagascar. Over half of the population practices traditional religions, while approximately 40 percent are Christian and seven percent are Muslim.
- French and Malagasy are the official languages of the island. I am hoping my high school French will come back to me but I have a feeling I'll need more than Monsieur et Madame Thibeau to get me through this! And Malagasy is a tricky language with only a few words that I've found that have French origins. Roger said he is doing a lot of pointing as he works with the Malagasy villagers.
Roger has found everyone to be very friendly and the pictures he took last August when he went over looked like they were right out of National Geographic. After watching the Amazing Race this year, where one of the locales was in Madagascar, I'll be careful not to order cow lips off any menu!
So.... never a dull moment! Stay tuned for pictures and our latest escapades - and pleae keep in touch!