On Monday June 26th, 2017, one could hear the booming sound of loud music playing all over the streets of Montosua as the people of Madagascar celebrated 57 year of fighting and becoming an independent nation from France. Many villages, towns and cities around the country began their festivities a week in advance by hosting several concerts, fairs, cultural events, drinking and by cooking up special Malagasy dishes such as “Mofu Anana” (which is my personal favorite). In Antananarivo (Tana), the celebration is HUGE and the largest stadium in the city is reserved for several days of concerts featuring many Malagasy celebrities. This celebration culminates with a special March observed on June 26th in which the Malagasy military/special forces and important government official march in solidarity celebrating Madagascar 57 years of independence. Here in Mantasua, our celebration was not quite as long, large or fancy as the one on Tana...BUT the people here are still very prideful of their independence and hosted a celebration that lasted about 3 days and also included loud music, several parties and a small independence day fair that included a small fireworks show. As Peace Corps volunteer we were invited to be a part of their official raising of the flag ceremony which included a march in their small soccer field alongside important Montosua town officials and many of the schools in town. It was an absolutely fun experience for us and a huge honor to have been invited to be a part of such a meaningful and regarded event.
For me, my Malagasy independence day festivities were pretty low key and mellow... I mostly celebrated Independence Day with Neny and Dada in their Traono (home). In honor of independence day My Malagasy Neny prepared a very delicious, 3 course, farm to table lunch; which started off with a homemade sardine pizza, followed by Rice (vary), pan grilled chicken with its broth, with a cucumber/carrots salad. Thelunch ended with akondro (banana’s) for dessert. After that AMAZING lunch I went and checked out the Mantasua Independence Day fair which included: Live music, singing competitions, dance competitions, 2 merry go rounds, and several vendors selling Malagasy street foods and clothing. Although I have currently ONLY been in Madagascar for a little over 2 weeks I must say I feel very honored to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to work alongside a group of such kind, caring, loyal and resilient group of people. I am really looking forward to what the next 27 months in Madagascar have in store for me.