My 3rd and final installment of my trip to Madagascar is a few weeks late, I know. But after writing Part 1 & 2 (if you haven’t read either of those, you can do so right now, Part 1 & Part 2) I needed some time to reflect on my trip as a whole. A friend asked me what made me decide to go to Madagascar. It was an innocent enough question, but it wasn’t what she asked…it was how she asked that threw me for a loop. It wasn’t like, “You went to Madagascar? Wow, that’s such a cool thing to do!” Her attitude was more like, “What were you thinking!”
I have to admit, her question knocked me off my feet for a little bit, and made me do some serious soul searching. During this time, news spread about an outbreak of pneumonic plague, which began in late August in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the EXACT place and time I was there! This kind of plague in the United States could be easily wiped out with medicine, but is unaffordable to most Malagasy people. They were cautioned to stay home until the plague ran its course, which was from August to November. That meant no school or work for over 3 months.
Not going to lie, that completely made me question everything. Why did I choose Madagascar? Did I even know all the risks involved? As the death count from the plague continued to rise, I reached an all-time low. I stopped talking about my trip, stopped posting pictures on social media, and stopped writing this blog.
Finally in November, the plague was over. Although the vast majority of Malagasy people survived, it did claim over 100 lives. (My heart goes out to those that lost their lives and to their families). This whole episode made me think about how resilient the people of Madagascar really are. No matter what conditions are thrown their way, they have an innate ability to survive.
Now I was finally ready to look through the pictures of my trip again. And you know what I realized? My pictures really are A-mazing! In fact, my entire trip was A-mazing, which led me back to my same conclusion. I went to Africa because I wanted an experience that would change my life and set me on a different path. And my trip to Madagascar did just that.
Before my trip, I never knew what a third world country was really like. I mean, what does that even mean? Third. World. Country. All I know is I’ve seen things no one should ever see. (I’m still grappling with some of the things I saw that I can never un-see). But my experience forever changed my perspective in life. I’m humbled, because what I once thought was important, is no longer important to me.
So to my friend who asked me why…I say to her, because I never EVER want to complain again about going down 2 flights of stairs to my basement to wash clothes. Do you know where many Malagasy women wash and dry their clothes?
To my friend, who asked me why…I say, because I never EVER want to complain again about high gas prices. If you think $3.00 a gallon for gas is high…try paying $8.50 a gallon when the average person (whose fortunate enough to even have a job) only makes $1.00 a DAY!
To my friend, who asked me why…I say, because I never EVER want to complain again about upgrading my house, when many of the Malagasy people live in homes like this.
To my friend, who asked me why…I say, because I never EVER want to complain about not driving the latest, greatest car known to man; because guess what most people in Madagascar do for transportation!
And finally, to my friend who asked me why…I say, yes, I went to Africa, and I met a lot of people there…and I think I even encountered myself!
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Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!