A Month Measured In People

Posted: 13th of September 2017 by Emily Dujon

My month in Madagascar doing the community TEFL project has been one of the most incredible opportunities of my life. I’ve had new experiences, done things that I’m really proud of but most importantly met some amazing new people.

Firstly, having just finished school I was used to the teacher-student hierarchy and that was what I expected from the staff and the volunteers here. However, the staff were immediately so chatty and friendly and personable that I completely forgot all that. They were always available to talk about my project or just about random stuff and it made me feel really welcome.

Secondly, the other volunteers are amazing. As you spend most of your time with them, the other volunteers really shape your experience. Meeting so many people in similar situations to me with so many interesting stories and lives was wonderful and we all get along like a house on fire. The sad part is that the people here when you arrive are not the people here when you leave and saying goodbye to people you just met is a bit strange but it also shows how you go from being the mentored newbie completely out of their depth in Madagascar to the wise old mentor who seems to know all the answers, often without you noticing. You progress and change so much in such a short span of time, and its really good how quickly you can adapt to an environment that is completely different.

Finally, what made my time here in Madagascar truly wonderful were the people who I taught. True, standing up in front of 80 children you’ve never met before is scary and a group of 20 somethings expecting a coherent, well planned, enjoyable English lesson is intimidating but their enthusiasm for English is infectious and I’ve had such a great time getting to know them and teaching them over the past month. Even though they have had lives so completely different to mine, that just makes getting to know them all that much more interesting.

So although Madagascar is a beautiful, amazing country and seeing Nosy Fanihy and Nosy Iranja is incredible, in the end the people are what makes a place so interesting and that is no less true in Nosy Be than back in England.

By Jonathon Hoare - Madagascar Community Volunteer

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