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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Transportation: Madagascar

Water in Africa

Africa, Madagascar

by Clare Sandy, Andranomena, Madagascar

The small inland streams are not practical for transportation, but people use dugout canoes to cross ocean water to areas on the coast that become islands at high tide, as well as for saltwater fishing.

by Rob Roberts, St. Augustin, Madagascar

I think my town is one of those unique places where taxis are easier to find on the water. There's only one road coming into town and one bus that leaves once a day. That road sees more ox cart traffic than it does automobiles.

If you want to go south, a canoe is your only option. You just have to walk along the beach and find someone who will take you there (for a small fee, of course). The best thing about it is that there are no stop lights or police cars. You can take any route you want to.

by George Ritchotte, Andranomala Nord, Madagascar

I live near Lake Alaotra, Madagascar's largest lake. Though it's an important source of fish for the region, its not really used for transport. It's about as fast to take a bush taxi around the lake as it is to take a canoe, so people usually opt for the automobile.

by Robin Larson Paulin, Andranofasika, Madagascar

Lake Ravelobe, four kilometers from Andranofasika, is not used for transportation, and neither are its tributaries or outlets.

by Jina Sagar, Ambalahenko, Madagascar

Without any roads leading to Ambalahenko, walking and canoeing are the only modes of transport. At low tide, it's only accessible by outrigger canoe. Yesterday I aimed to get into town. It was the first day of school, and students from the village had passed the exam to get them into high school in Hellville. The four of us, with baggage and containers of water, all piled into the dugout canoe. We pushed off from shore and the canoe instantly flooded. We hauled it back up on shore and someone ran to get the cow fat for caulking the seams. We smeared it on all the cracks and took off. The wind normally blows east to west in the mornings this time of year, but today it was from the south. The waves were big. I bailed water the whole way as we lurched and tumbled. At the halfway point (three hours roundtrip), it's a straight shot into Hellville and we put up the sail—a tattered patchwork of rice sacks sewn together. Is "wind from the south" a viable excuse to be late for school?


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