Regarding what became of Mr. Barrett on his return to Africa - the land of his birth - and providing certain details as to his whereabouts, the status of his health, whether physical or mental, and lastly describing various events & happenings the editor finds appropriate to reveal in promoting the honorable cause of his client.

Mr. Barrett is a Master's International Student at Michigan Technological University. His Peace Corps service in Madagascar will contribute to a degree in Environmental Engineering. The contents of this site are Mr. Barrett's alone and do not reflect the views of Michigan Tech, Peace Corps, or the United States government.

Thursday, June 22

To those of you out there engaged in the frenzy surrounding the World Cup, I dedicate this photo. A two hour hike west from Ambatofotsy brings you to the village of Tsaratanana and the edge of the Ranomafana-Andringitra forest corridor. The photo shows a hilltop that has apparently been cleared to allow a soccer field. At a time when everyone is talking about the sport and how the world unites around it and how one can glimse the new world order through it and so on, I don’t know what to make of this puzzling scene. If you took a vote today – rainforest or soccer field – what, I wonder, would people say? Let’s let the enthusiasm die off a little before we do anything rash.

Monday, June 5

Into the Heartlands of the Antanala

Fianarantsoa: Fourteen kilometers south of Ikongo lies the village of Ambolomadinika (small bamboo). What was once a national route to Manakara and the coast is now nothing more than a muddy footpath winding its way south through the rugged hills and rice paddies of the ambanivolo (countryside). The path mianders for a while with the river Sandrananta until the crossing at Ambodilozabe, where a lakana (river boat carved from the trunk of a forest wood) waits to carry you across. The trail then continues south through orange, coffee, and cinnamon trees and there are always the rice fields, now golden and ready for harvest. Stop for a moment, and there is a view of the forest, dark and mysterious, in its quite retreat up some distant mountain slope.

I left Ambatofotsy early one morning for the three hour trip, by bike, to Ikongo. There, I met a guide who took me on to Ambolomadinika, where I would observe Jon Annis (colleague from MTU) in his work to complete a water system several months in the making. Here is a short tribute to his work there and a kinetic portrait of life surrounding work in one Malagasy village. As always, there is a lot left unsaid; you will likely fill in the gaps with your imagination, and that is completely appropriate. Note, you will also see something of the train which connects Fianarantsoa to Manakara.

Fianarantsoa: Pre-service training is now complete and I am very happy with the results. A foundation has been laid upon which I can begin my work with a certain confidence. The training staff deserve to be commended for an excellent program and we are all well content to find ourselves here in such an exciting post, equiped and ready for work. Here are some sights along the way.