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A village called Maromena

The same, strong wind that brings both warmth and sand also dictates life in this location in southern Madagascar.

The same, strong wind that brings both warmth and sand also dictates life in this location in southern Madagascar. It is here, where dried seaweed piles on the shore and burning charcoal perfumes the air, that I am ensconced at the moment: in a village called Maromena.

Constant analysis happens throughout the early course of my volunteer placement with WWF. Between my sleepless nights and monitoring of the daily fish catch, I transcribe these thoughts and reflections, trying to understand a bit better my full reasons for being here.

Besides my attentive observance of the Vezo community, the work is basically to translate Sustainability into their language, to imprint Conservation onto their DNA, and to learn - myself - how wise we ought to be back home. For it is clear how unconsciously and effortlessly they make so little impact on their ecosystem.
It is not easy to conserve an ecosystem and protect human rights simultaneously. There lies the challenge of sustainable development. There lies the secret of living together, in peace for each other, balancing the rights of both men and animals alike.

I watch, and I observe. I watch the comings and goings of the fishermen and their pirogues, their work-sculptured bodies, ever tanned by their labors under the tropical Sun. I watch exotic- looking women in their colourful lambawanys, gazing at the endless sea--with endless anticipation--long days of waiting for their husbands to return with their catch. And yet the children enjoy a level of freedom which probably has been forgotten by their western counterparts. Why so?

I observe, and I admire how fraternity motivates the community and how a good catch will affect the rhythm and the mood of the whole village, allowing the development of their charity feeling. It's all about mutual efforts, and happiness shared.

Presumably this volunteer work implies exactly that: EXCHANGE. And is this constant exchange of values, knowledge and hopes; with my colleagues, with my host community and especially with myself. And that answers any doubts about my purpose and presence here.

But above all, I take great pleasure in seeing nature and men, both struggling and fighting for their own survival. I contemplate pink sunsets, praise the turquoise sea and worship the overwhelming feeling that nature, by itself, bestows on me.

Ramon Moraes Sales Moura