We just got these pictures from Madagascar, thanks to our midwife’s husband. The pictures very much speak for themselves. Gardening and tree planting has truly become a part of the curriculum. During the pandemic lockdown our school gardens have taken over a lot of the space in the school grounds and are being planted again right now.
It came with the comment: “in Fiadanana our students are preparing their gardens as there is now a little bit of rain”. “Un petit peu de pluie” in French translated into ‘a little bit of rain’ is were the information is hidden.
The rainy season should be in full swing now since October/November. There should not be a little bit of rain. There should be a lot of rain that feeds the rice paddies and makes planting a new crop possible.
If we look at the bigger picture, the south of Madagascar is experiencing one of the worst droughts ever, leaving hundreds of thousands at the brink of starvation. And this might be the first drought caused by climate change. In the capital city of Antananarivo, the lack of the seasonally normal rains makes water a highly sought-after commodity in very short supply. This means in the real world: If you are lucky enough to live in a house that’s connected to the aging municipal water grid, you may turn on your faucet and not a drop will come out. Therefore, you need to wait in line for the water truck, pay for your water and carry it home in the ubiquitous big yellow 20-liter (5.5 US gallons) water containers.
We are concerned it could be another manifestation of climate change that the rainy season hasn’t really come yet in our villages in the high plateau either. All we can do is prepare the garden beds for the rainy season and hope for the best. Fortunately, we have a well in the school yard to water the vegetables the students will eat.
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