Toplinks.jpg
Toplinks.jpg
Toplinks.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
SweetbriarLogo.jpg
2010 Member Report:
SweetWEBtop.jpg
Lemurs.jpg
Lemur
TheVineLogo.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Madagascar
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
Linkbarback.jpg
History by Elizabeth
    Some historians believe that Madagascar’s history began when it separated from Africa’s main body and became an island.  Madagascar was soon settled by Indonesians.  In 800-900 AD, Arab men traded along the northern coast of the island.  On August 10, 1500, Diogo Dias, a Portuguese sea captain, was thrown off course while on his way to India.  He became the first European to arrive on Madagascar and named the island ST. Lawrence.  Later, countries such as Portugal, France, and England tried to form “trading settlements,” but they were not very successful.  Rough conditions and many hostile Malagasy tribes drove them out of Madagascar. The Sakalava, a coastal tribe, created the first kingdom which stretched from Diego Suarez in the north to the southern region of Tulear.  Many years later, after struggles with European countries, France eventually prevailed, and by 1895 Madagascar was under French rule.
    In 1958, Madagascar became a republic, deciding on the name Malagasy Republic.  The republic continued under French “guidance” until 1960, when they gained independence.  The citizens of Madagascar are allowed to vote for who is president.  They can begin voting at age eighteen.
 In March 1998, Madagascar “revised” their constitution.  They decided that the person who was president could be in office five years and might be reelected twice.  According to   , “the last presidential election was held on December 3, 2006.”  The two main groups in the Malagasy parliament are the National Assembly and the Senate.  On September 23, 2007, the last National Assembly election was held.  Before, the National Assembly had
Madagascar has an exciting history of government, animals, religion, and people.  Uniqueness has helped Madagascar through many hardships.  A certain tranquility hangs over the eroding island in a way no other place can call its own.  The geography of the red island has a sole specialty around it, making it seem like  a treasure lost in the fog.

Toplinks.jpg
Toplinks.jpg
Toplinks.jpg
madagascar_map.jpg
160 members, but on July 2007, the members were reduced to 127.
    In January 2009, people began to get restless.  On March 17, 2009, the government changed drastically.  The military decided not to take orders from the president of Madagascar because they were unhappy with the way he was ruling.  They took Andry Rajoelina, the old president, and put in a man named Mare Ravalomanana.
 If you were going to Madagascar, you might want to watch ouit for some violence, because now, after that sudden turn of events, other countries have tried to take over, and Madagascar’s government is now unstable.  Madagascar’s history twists and turns.
People by Emeline
    The Madagascar countrymen (and women), called Malagasy, are not your ordinary people.  They are very  hospitable and have very humble attitudes towards themselves.  A legend states that one Madagascar village would not give a tired traveler a drink of water.  As a result, the whole village was burned down as punishment!
     The people live by the rule “Fihavana” which translates to “brotherhood.”  Every family is expected to give their visitors food and water, no matter how rich or poor they might be.  Children are the center of the home.  The whole reason for marriage is to have children.  In the Malagasy culture, it is considered rude to talk about personal affairs with people, even friends.  People find aggressive behavior disgraceful.
     Madagascar is made up of many different groups of people.  The eighteen different Malagasy tribes are a majority of the people.  The other people are Cormoran groups and small tribes of French, Indian, and Chinese people.  The Malagasy tribes are made up mostly of Indonesian and black African peoples.  Many people living in the central-southern highlands look more like Indonesians, lots of them growing rice in irrigated fields the way the Indonesians do.  People living on the coast look more like Africans, raising cattle the way eastern Africans often do.
     The language “Malagasy” is widely spoken in Madagascar.  I sounds much like the Malay and Indonesian languages.  French and English, along with Malagasy, are the official languages of the country.  The estimated population of Madagascar is 20,653,556.  The growth spur of the population per year is three per cent.  The Malagasy people have their own special music, including “Vaky Soava,” a kind of rhythmic song with clapping.  An expert of this practice is Paul Bert.  The “Lokanga Voatavo” (a cordophone) is used and some guitars, including the “kabosu” (like the ukulele).  Many of the rhythms of dancing evolved from Indonesian and Kenyan influence.  In their music, the flute, whistle, and valiha are used.  The valiha is a 28-stringed instrument that looks like the bassoon but is played like the harp.
     Many people eat rice, vegetables, fruit, and sometimes meat or fish.  Another well-liked food is “romazava,” a beef and vegetable stew, and “ravito,” a pork stew with manioc greens.  Achard and hot pickle curry are also eaten with other dishes.  The seafood eaten on the coast is very good and not very expensive.  Many fruits, such as pineapples, lychees, mangos, and bananas can be found year-round.  Their coffee is excellent and is drunk more than tea.  The French part of the population brought on this tradition.  Many people also find “Three Horses Beer” and other alcoholic drinks good.
     Lots of people in Madagascar wear European-style clothes.  The country’s stores sell many American T-shirts and blue jeans.  Each tribe of Madagascar has its own type of straw hat that people wear on special occasions.  People living in the southern regions of the country don’t wear very much clothing.
     Most of the adults in Madagascar know how to read and write.  Many children go to primary schools, but only about one fifth of the children go to high schools.  The University of Madagascar is the main campus in Antananarivo.  Many houses in Madagascar are built of brick.  Lots of them are several stories high and have either thatched or tiled roofs.  Approximately half the people of Madagascar are Christians, and about one tenth of the people are Muslims.  A lot of people living around the coasts of the country worship and offer sacrifices to their ancestors and spirits.  The ancestors of the people are greatly respected.  Much time is spent caring for their graveyards, and the tombs are very beautiful.  Some resemble painted houses and some have a carved ornament of wood called a “staff” on top.  Families who practice African religions sacrifice cattle and have religious ceremonies at their family tombs.  Even many Christians participate in the Malagasy traditional customs.  At funerals, the mourning people have special ceremonies performed.  The people find worship of the dead an awesome affair and take care not to offend them.  When they believe that the dead are angry, they prepare great rituals to be performed to please their ancestors.  One very famous practice is called the “Famidihana,” which translates “turning of the bones.”  In this ritual, the dead are supposedly entertained, people talk to them, and they bury them again with presents.  Many people believe that the ancestors hold magic powers.
Religion by Claire Shelnutt
     Religion in Madagascar has a strange but doleful tale.  Years ago, two Welshmen went with their wives and children to Madagascar to tell about Jesus.  A couple of months later, only one, David Jones, was still alive.  It would have been easy for him to go home, but he knew that God wanted him to stay.  The native language, Malagasy, was not a written language, so that when more missionaries came, the first thing that they did was to put it into writing.  They began a small school and taught children and adults to read and write.  Many people on Madagascar were converted to Christianity, and the Bible was the first book written in Malagasy.  Yet what the Christians didn’t know is that their happiness was coming to an end.  
     A new ruler, Queen Ranavalona, said that the people of Madagascar should worship only the dead kings and queens of the country.  Anyone who worshiped God would be tortured or put to death.  Ranavalona had many of the Christians of Madagascar put to death and executed most of the relatives of her late husband, Radama I, so they could not take power.  The Queen died after 33 years of cruel reign, then thousands more were converted to Christianity.  Today many Christians remain, but many villages are so remote that the people there do not know about Jesus.
Geography by Madeline
     Madagascar has only two seasons in the year.  The hot and rainy season is from November to April, and a cooler dry season lasts from May to October.  If you were to go to Madagascar, the best time to visit would be April, November, or October.
 Snow is a very rare thing in Madagascar.  There was a record of snow in the 1900’s and more recently in July/August 2009.  
     The east coast of Madagascar is the wettest part and is sometimes hit by tropical storms and cyclones.  “Every year brings significant cyclonic systems often categorized as ‘intense,’ leaving little time for people to recover their livelihoods,” according to reliefweb.int (“Humanitarian Situation in Madagascar 06 May 2009”).  The west coast of Madagascar has a dry deciduous forest.  Deciduous trees lose their leaves each year.  The southwest coast ofMadagascar has the driest climate on the island.
Travel by Nathan Daniels
     Traveling throughout Madagascar is usually not very dangerous, though it can be at night.  About eleven seaports are in Madagascar, but the main way to get there is tofly.  Most international flights arrive in Antananarivo.  The major concerns for visitors to Madagascar are crimes such as vehicular theft and purse snatching.  Don’t bring an expensive phone, because it is likely to be stolen.  Rental cars usually come with a dcriver who is in charge of taking care of the car and sometimes acts as a tour guide.  There are random police checkpoints throughout Madagascar, so you should always carry identification with you.  If you don’t want to be victimized, travel in groups of three to three hundred.
     If you want to stay safe, you should find a good hotel such as the Princesse Bora Lodge, a small hotel on the west coast of Ile Ste Marie.  It has a pool and rental bikes to explore.  Diving and fishing are offered.  Antoher good resort is Tsarabanjina, a private island off the coast of Madagascar.  It has pure white sand and turquoise water.  You can fish, kayak, water ski, and play tennis, but best of all you can sleep.
 A passport and visa are required to get into the country.  Visas are available at all international airports.  Visa fees can be paid in American dollars.  Credit cards are not accepted in Madagascar.  You can change U.S. money at most banks in Madagascar.
 Some types of shots are required before traveling to Madagascar.  You will need malaria pills, a tetanus shot, a meningococcal vaccine, and malaria pills.  You may need to get used to the food, and most of the water will need tablets to purify it.
Animals by Virginia 
    Two hundred thousand known species of animals are found on the island of Madagascar.  One hundred fifty thousand are endemic which means that they are found nowhere else.  According to WildMadagascar.org, “There are up to 50 types of lemurs, 99% of frog species, and 36 genera of birds.”  Some of Madagascar’s species are found not only in Africa but also in the South Pacific and South America.  Scientists believe that long ago hippos were living on Madagascar but have since moved elsewhere.
 Lemurs are tree-hopping furry animals which look similar to cats and squirrels.  They actually are the most similar to humans.  Lemurs are primates.  One type of lemur can leap up to twenty-five feet in one jump.  They have bushy tails that they wave in the air for communication.  Lemurs have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet that leave a strong odor on the ground where they have walked.  They normally spend time in trees and bushes, but some lemurs live in dry deserts or tropical rainforests.  The babies are held in their mother’s teeth until they are able to hold on their mother’s fur by themselves.  Their diet consists of leaves, fruit, and sometimes insects or small animals.  Lemurs’ homes are continually being destroyed because people in Madagascar cut down trees in order to have space for their crops.  The smallest lemur weighs only one ounce, and the largest weighs up to fifteen pounds.  Lemurs can live up to eighteen years.
     Another type do animal living in Madagascar is the chameleon.  Of the one hundred fifty different species of chameleons, half are found in Madagascar.  These animals change colors frequently, not only because of their surroundings, but also to defend their territory and attract mates.  Chameleons can look from side to side without moving their heads.
     A fossa is a carnivore, related to a mongoose and is Madagascar’s largest predator.  It eats insects, reptiles, rodents, and lemurs.  According to mobot.org, “it has a cat-like body and a dog-like nose.”  A fossa is twice the size of a house cat.  Its long tail helps it to balance in trees that are high above the ground.  A fossa is active in trees and on the ground.
    Another unusual animal found in Madagascar is the tenrec.  Madagascar has thirty species of tenrecs.  They were probably the first mammal to arrive on the island of Madagascar and look similar to moles, shres, and hedgehogs.  “When scared, they curl up in a ball and extend spiky hairs to protect themselves from predators.” (www.mobot.org)
    If traveling to Madagascar, you would want to avoid certain species.  A real problem, leeches will find you and suck your blood.  Mosquitoes and flies are also a problem.  Don’t swim in water that looks dirty because bacteria could be living there which could cause you to get a disease.
     The best way to see all the different types of animals in Madagascar is to  take a guided tour through one of the local parks.
fossa.jpg
tenrec.jpg
chameleon.jpg
Tenrec
Chameleon
Fossa