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I’m From the Country (and I Like it that Way)

June 29, 2013

Ok. So I’m not REALLY from the country. But I think that I’ve spent my fair share of time in rural Idaho. And I sure as hell am moving back to the country when I get home. So semantics aside, the country or the boonies or the backwater in the north of Madagascar is known as ambanivolo (which I am tempted to translate literally as “under money” but I hesitate since my translation skills have publicly failed me before on this very blog). Regardless what you call it, a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, and the country is the country no matter which way you dice it.

This is apparent in so many different ways, and has definitely made my life at site in rural Madagascar much less shocking than if I were from the Big Apple. General lack of access to amenities is the most striking similarity, but then there are other things as well. Like the way people are suspicious of new comers. And the friendships and familiarity within the community. And the way that people get down! Say what you will about going out in the city, nothing beats partying in the country. And there are all the same characters, chewing tobacco, sniffing snuff, puffing away on cigarettes while enjoying some choice beverages and partying it up- outdoors of course, under the great blue sky, with coolers full of cold beer and music blaring. People even ride around in the back of pickup trucks.

My Malagasy friends and neighbors all ask me if we have dust in the U.S. to which I reply, of course! They are surprised, understandably, since most pictures of the U.S. they have seen (if any at all) are cityscapes, devoid of dirt and fields that generate dust. It’s funny how my brownie points go up immediately for saying that, yeah it’s dusty in Idaho. And no, I’m not afraid of cows. Even the noises in the country are nice. The clack of wooden cart wheels and the crows of roosters serve as my alarm clock mingled with the sounds of pails slapping the water at the bottom of the well and the deep lowing of bulls being wrestled into their yolks.

On the flip side of this pastoral paradise are the things that are not as attractive, like lack of access to adequate health care, which costs lives. Or lack of access to education that continues the cycle of poverty that can lead to ugly things like alcoholism, domestic violence, and child neglect. Like dust, these problems are found in rural places the world over, and like dust need to be cleaned up every day.

This cleaning up process is no mean task, it takes concentrated effort. Good thing that country people are not only resilient, but innovative and ingenious as well- more than up for the task. They take what’s given to them by nature and are able to manipulate it into livelihoods and a way of life that people from all countries can appreciate if they’re from the country. So we’ll take the good and the bad because “We’re from the country and we like it that way”.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 1, 2013 10:22

    Reblogged this on Kroo Tew 2013/ M 6/2013.


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