Lori’s new job is at the Ambatovy International School, which is part of Ambatovy, a modern nickel and cobalt mine put together by a partnership of Canadian, South Korean, and Japanese companies.
So we’re setting up home in Madagascar.
Ethnic Malay people were the first humans to settle Madagascar some 2,000 years ago. We feel a bit like we’re following them as we’re coming from Malaysia ourselves where Lori worked at an international school in Kuala Lumpur.
Some interesting things about our new home. Madagascar is an island off the southeast corner of Africa in the Indian Ocean and is the fourth largest island in the world. 90% of the wildlife, including over 100 kinds of lemurs, and 80% of plants here are found nowhere else in the world. About 23 million people live in Madagascar and 90% of them live on less than two dollars per day.
We live in a village near Toamasina on Madagascar’s east coast. Toamasina is the second largest city in Madagascar and is also known as Tamatave. The former is the Malagasy name and the latter the French. All the locals call it Tamatave. About 275,000 people live in town. We live about 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of the city.
Our village is called Tapakala, which is Malagasy for the cut forest. We’re in a wooded area, a lot of which was cut to build the houses. There’s a security wall topped with concertina wire all the way around the village. That’s kind of telling about life here. And just 200 meters out the east gate is the beach and the Indian Ocean. Nice.
Our village a company housing area is officially named the Management Housing Village. I’ll stick with Tapakala. That name has a lot more character.