from May 2007
According to our village reality we’ll need 2 teachers for the
new school. One for kids of two to 8 years of age and one for those
and older. Everyone in Fiadanana wants to go to school, even adults want
to learn to write and read. People from neighboring villages also already
inquired if they can send their children.
After interviewing many prospective candidates we found two teachers that
are a good fit for Fiadanana. One is a young woman teacher and the other
one a married man with family and many years of experience as a teacher.
Both are willing to move to Fiadanana.
Instead of bringing the teachers to the capital for training we thought
it was better to take the trainer to the village and train people and the
new teachers there. We opened up this two-week curriculum to other teachers
from the region, so they can benefit from Zahana’s training opportunity.
Everyone in the village want to attend the training, too, but we could
not accommodate so many attendees. The training approach is innovative
approach, just recently adopted in Madagascar for teacher’s training.
Our trainer is part of this group of 10 people instructed in this field
in the country. A class on making compost fertilizer and raising chickens
is part of their approach. To satisfy the people’s request, the teachers
training started early in the morning around 6:30 am and ended at 4 pm.
After that a community class for community leaders followed until dark.
After the training is completed, the 2 candidates are going to perform
a need assessment in the village and start on a three months evaluation
period of teaching.
I provided a course on preparing food with ingredient that can be found
locally. The bread made with pumpkin was really appreciated and just
need one spoon of vegetable oil. This is ideal for school food security,
pumpkin is growing well everywhere in the village, but was so far was
only used for feeding pigs. At the beginning they were surprised when
pumpkin as ‘’laoka’’(the other dish to eat with
rice). The trainer will later provide additional recipes after the needs
We invited an agricultural specialist to join us, to see for himself what
kind of plants could be grown in Fiadanana. He recommended potatoes since
the harvest can be done in three months only. We brought some potatoes
with us and started right away, hands on, to plant some in the school garden
after the class. We also identified rice fields to be planted by the Zahana
women group, and will send 20kg of potatoes this coming week for this purpose.
His classes were very interesting, since the specialist was there to assist
us and give us the technical advice and answer to all of our questions.
From this year on a technique on planting rice more efficiently will
be introduced in the village. The specialist already showed how to get
fields ready. He recommended it become a habit in the village from now
on to plant potatoes after the rice is harvested, since is beneficial
for the rice fields, too. He knows the variety of rice, which will fit
in the area. You will see on the photos, cucumbers, zucchini are growing
up nicely in the school garden, while carrots and cabbage didn’t
grow too well in this climate. The womens group has their garden closer
to the school, to serve as an example, since the school has not yet started.
Parts of their produce are for the school. According to my experience in
Hawai‘i, a new school garden will need to be worked by the students
themselves from planting to the harvest, each group taking care of their
assigned plot of land.
Improving cookstoves and using less firewood:
We tested the improved cookstove design at the women’s group president’s
house, and it works. Since we didn’t have much time, we built a very
basic model. Later they can work on making it look nice. We use simple,
village made, bricks (clay bricks are the best) and used clay to hold them
together. I just put three branches into the stove for two pots, one for
rice the other for ‘’laoka’’. She was afraid
it would not cook well and wanted to add more firewood. But I took the
out of her hand and promised her to eat it all by myself if the food
would not be cooked well. After a while all food was well cooked and
by putting them next to the side of warm bricks. The remaining heat from
the fire allowed us to cook our breads. Another model stove will be built
at the school pavilion when clay bricks are ready, so cooking classes
and school lunches can be prepared there.
Project micro credit:
The woman’s group will start the first microcredit project, with
Zahana providing the seed money to kick-start the project. Women are much
more interested in improving their condition than the men, and the group
has currently 34 active members. The women themselves decided on how to
organize structure and run the project. It was interesting to learn about
the rules set by the women’s group. They set their own terms and
are very strict in executing them. The groups is currently closed to
other women, since one of their rules is, that people who are just waiting
all the work is done and want to join without putting in any effort,
will have to wait for the time being.
The villagers decided to hold the official inauguration ceremony in the
village by the middle of July. They wanted to do so on June, but I told
them that the school will start is in July, and the students will need
a few days to prepared for it. This will be the day we are going to officially
address our thanks to people helping us in making our dreams came true.
So if you can come please, come at the time. During my next visit we
will decide on the ceremonies it and we’ll send you invitation.
A survey of 59 households, with 4 to 8 persons each was conducted. Based
on the numbers of consultation, from Christmas to now, at CSB 2 in Bevato
and the CSB1 in Ambohibary (CBS = Government run Community Health Centers
in small towns nearby). Result: 30 consultation with 19 fever, 6 cough,
3 colics, 1 ear infection, 1 case tuberculosis (under treatment), 2 deaths.
It was difficult to diagnose the cause for the fevers, but 4 were malaria,
based on their symptoms. At night they are protected by the mosquito
nets, but outside in the field they are not.
Most of people go to their fields very early in the morning without
any breakfast, and only eat rice around 2 pm for the first time.
they were suffering from colic because the pain stopped in the evening,
after eating. These are not colics, but pain from hunger.
According to people, at this time of the year most people in the village
got sick with malaria or diarrhea in the past. I was happy to learn that
no child had suffered from diarrhea since
Christmas, which can clearly
be attributed to the new water supply. It was emphasized to bring a bottle
of water with them (from the new waters system), when they have to go
to fields, instead of drinking from a polluted source near their fields.
now on I’m collecting plastic bottles to take along on our next
Next time we need to bring anti-parasitic for all children. We need to
treat all children at once, to make sure their potential parasites are
During my last visit I brought vitamins along and gave it to the women’s
group. We told them to charge 500 FMG (5 US cents) for each package to
generate funds for the group. It worked. The 10 boxes were sold out a
few hours later, and some wanted more. This is to initiate them into
of participating in economic activities, and not always being dependent
on hand outs.
Before I left the village I got some requests for family planning, so
I have to think about it for my next visit. I’ll provide all health
education to save money for Zahana.