Often dubbed the "8th continent" in the world, Madagascar is an island located in the Indian Ocean, on the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world and it is a biodiversity hotspot-- over 90% of the wildlife found in Madagascar is unique to the island.
Since gaining its independence from France in 1960, although the island is the scene of continual political unrest, Madagascar has been working towards social, economical and political stability. The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy and French with 18 different dialects of Malagasy spoken throughout the country. The people of Madagascar are the beautiful mix of East African, Indonesian and Arab descendants. The island is divided into 20 different ethnic groups who are geographically located in different regions throughout the island.
Over 50% of the population on the island practice some form of Christianity. However, about 20% of the population practice traditional indigenous religion which is heavily based on ancestor worship. There is also a smaller community of mostly Sunni muslim in the northern region of the island.
The Malagasy economy is driven by the export of rice, coffee, litchi, cocoa, pepper and clove; Madagascar is also responsible for 80% of vanilla sold in the global market. However, despite of the islands wealth in natural resources, and a booming tourism industry, Madagascar remains one of the "poorest" country in the world. About 90% of the population in Madagascar live on less that $2 USD a day and the country is heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Madagascar is a beautiful island paradise full of many gems and a unique culture waiting to be discovered by the world. Join me as I experience the next two years in the big red island...