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Nos Nouvelles

Life on a Beheloke Beach

Akore aby e! (Bonjour tout le monde!)

© WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith

by Gregg Smith

Akore aby e! (Bonjour tout le monde!)

After just two weeks in Beheloke, Marlies, Navi, Israel, Aina,
Enathe and I had already completely embraced the village's relaxed way of life. One of our favourite activities? To mitsangatsangana - to stroll around aimlessly. It was already impossible to wander into the village without bumping into one of our pals, such as the village doctor, Sylvie.  

Sylvie, the village's doctor. 
© WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith

The major difference between life in Beheloke and back home is the water. We used three different types: water from the desalinization station to drink and to cook with, water from a well 9km away to shower with and water from the sea to flush the toilet. We were lucky enough to be offered 40L of drinking water per day from the desalinisation station as a special recognition for our outsider status. The local allotment was 20L. In addition, we got delivery. Instead of carrying the water back from the station on our heads like everyone else, ours was brought to us by canoe. So although it seemed foreign for us to ration and fetch water, we enjoyed many comparative luxuries.

Israel embracing village life whilst fetching our drinking water. 
© WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith

Before starting the programme, I had been worried about the food. We’d been told to prepare ourselves for a lack of fruit and vegetables and a surplus of fish, but it turned out I ate much better than I did back in England! We brought fruit and vegetables from Toliara, the nearest large city, and we worked in pairs to prepare each meal. 

Octopus & rice, a typical Behelokian meal.  
© WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith

Our half-wood, half-stone, straw-roofed house was located right on the white-sand beach. The sandy beach was also our floor, so we really were living the beach life! The wind, the sound of the waves, and many insects, flowed through the straw at night, allowing us to live at one with nature!

The amazing house loaned to us by Luc Guyot & family. 
© WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith

Despite living in paradise, there were a few things which I struggled to get used to. Firstly, the children in the village often approached us asking for cadeaux (presents).  It’s hard to resist when we are walking around with money, biscuits and bottled water! Another thing was the sand! It’s great to live on a beach but it gets EVERYWHERE! And finally, the flies; I will never, ever understand how people can sit and allow flies to walk over their faces. 

It’s impossible to escape the curious eyes of Beheloke’s children.  © WWF Madagascar / Gregg Smith