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Warm greetings and introduction from Madagascar

Akory aby eeeee! Hello everyone eeee!

Sidonie Zaho(I am), a Malagasy native, based in Madagascar and from the northeast called Antalaha. I am of 2 ethnic groups: Tsimihety(with ancestors who never cut their hair) and Betsimisaraka(staying  united and cannot be separated). I spent most of my childhood in small villages near forests due to my father’ s jobs.  I moved to Antananarivo, the capital for the university studies and I majored in Applied Linguistics in a Language Teaching and completed master studies in Gender Issues focusing on Street Families in Antananarivo. I was a Malagasy teacher at Peace Corps, an English teacher at an English Center and an Academic Assistant for SIT Study Abroad programs in Madagascar. I have instructed 1 semester, 3 summer programs and 1 School Partnership program for Where There Be Dragons. In between the Dragons programs, I volunteer in some associations, give language sessions, do some field translation work and spend time with friends. I also love hiking and camping.

Our 2019 adventure will start in June. You will witness Madagascar’ s unique biodiversity and its endemic species. You will not be able to count the smiles from the people who will greet you. You are going to have a new family, discover what, when, where, how Malagasy people live and do things.  Meanwhile, you are truly welcome to join the hands on activities you see around you. From time to time, you will feel the honeymoon mode as well as some symptoms of confusion. You might feel culture shock, awkwardness or mixed feelings but from my experience adventuring in unfamiliar places, challenging situations incredibly bring more joy, pride and feeling of fulfillment. We will work as a team to make everything work with lots of flexibility. There can be unexpected challenges on the way. We will come up with plan A and B if needed. When plan C has to be used, this is the best space to get out of our comfort zone and the best moment to see our real attitude and the best version of ourselves.

No matter how perfect we plan, perfection is not guaranteed. Come with an open and curious mind as Lynn Good said: “If you keep an open mind, you can learn so much from the people around you.”

Here is looking forward to welcoming you all! So, Mandrapihaona Daholo! (See you all soon!)

Sidonie Emerande.