Three weeks in Tamatave has come and gone. The survey went pretty fast at a rate of 15 respondents per day. I’m basically done with my research now. I finished a total of 240 surveys between Tana and Tamatave. This should give me plenty to write about back in Provo. My last sample area on Saturday presented me with a unique perspective. I chose an area fairly remote out in the countryside. I took a bus to the end of the line out on the edge of town and then walked for an hour to get to a small village in the hills that is only accessible by scooter or 4×4. The people there are very simple. They almost all farm, mostly sugar cane. Along with the sugarcane comes moonshine, so, even here in the backwoods, I found plenty of drunkenness despite it being the middle of the day. The first guy I talked to didn’t seem to understand what I was doing. He asked for money and refused to talk to me when I told him I wasn’t going to give him any. But when he saw me hand the next person I talked to a copy of the consent form, he suddenly became very interested. He followed me halfway through the village asking me to let him participate so he could have a consent form too. I finally just gave him a copy without surveying him. I found one person who understood French but several people I talked to never went to school, were born in that village, and claimed to be “pure” Betsimisaraka (the local ethnicity). Due to the small size of the village, I only got eight responses there, but pushed farther north to another, even more remote village. The trail to Menagisa is narrow and muddy, inaccessible to even scooters. When I finally got there, the village turned out to be much smaller than I had imagined. In addition, my timing was such that most people were out in the fields when I came through so my visit only yielded a single survey response before I hiking back south into town for an hour and a half. While I didn’t get many surveys, the day was fruitful in that it provided a great perspective into rural life and politics here on the coast. If I had thought to do so in advance, I would have liked to have planned a three-day camping trip and hiked from village to village for a few days. Although, even the little bit I saw provided me with much food for thought.

~ by Abraham on 17 July 2011.

One Response to “Ambanivolo”

  1. Nice blog!
    Which bus did you take and where to? I’ve never heard of Menegisa before.
    PS: I met you at Tahiry’s sister’s (don’t remember her name sorry) wedding at Andavamamba… in case you’re wondering who this is

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