Awarding the best community garden
As part of the celebrations four persons from our partner villages Analakely, Fiadanana, Fiarenana and Tsaramandroso received an award from Zahana as leaders in family gardening and number of trees planted last season. All of these viallges also have a gardener and a tree nursery. (See our last project report from Dec 28, 2022 or our website)
We hope you had a good holiday season. The Christmas celebrations in Madagascar are always an occasion to get together and celebrate our achievements. All of our actvities are connected to each other, and all are celebrated at the festivities, so we decided to list them here all.
The 'Christmas Show' 2022:
It has been a long time since Santa visited the students in 2007 for the first time. Since then, the Christmas celebration has become a big event, not just for our students at the school, but neighboring villages join the activities and fun.
Students from both of our schools in Fiadanana and Fiarenana performed Xmas shows, dances and carols for everybody.
As it has become also a tradition, candies, cookies, a personal cup for the tea time at school and clothes were given to our students in Fiadanana and Fiarenana. New clothes were made by Zahana staff plus some second hand clothes we bought in the city. This year also for the first time gifts included the village of Analakely to their very needy people.
This year Zahana provided mutton for our students as a very special treat for the xmas lunch. This was the first time we offered such a treat with meat. In conjunction with the festivities, Zahana worked with the local health center to run its program of DMM (distribution de masse de medicament) which was scheduled for December in Madagascar. DMM is a Ministry of Health program to fight schistosomiasis by giving medicine to children between 5 to 15 years of age. To avoid side effects, as reported during DMM, children must have something in their stomach before taking the medicine, so Zahana provided a good xmas lunch that also was a solid basis for the DMM. Combining health prevention outreach with good nutrition makes it much easier for our students to swallow the pills.
Looking back at the holidays it becomes clear that it is now part of the xmas culture in our villages to start every celebration with reforestation. This is to show how important reforestation is for Zahana and it is a visual manifestation to revitalize the hope for a friendly environment. Reforestation is not an effort undertaken to please Zahana. It’s for the benefit of the local community and for the future generation to come to understand the value of the reforestation in their lives. During the celebrations in every village the entire community was involved in reforestation. In the past years these efforts were lead by the women’s association, or a soccer club, but this time everybody participated.
The launch of the community wide reforestation efforts in 2022 already started in November of 2022 (with a much earlier start of the rainy season than usual). In 2021 there wasn’t enough rain left in the rainy season to water the baby trees that were only planted during or after the Christmas celebrations, so we decided to already start with reforestation over a month before the celebrations this year. Consequently, people are encouraged during the Xmas celebrations to keep planting trees at least until January.
This proved to be good decision, because this year the rainy season extended into March, providing a lot more water for the baby trees then the year before.
In our past project reports we covered the soccer tournament last June. Working together on a common goal has generated new ideas for the new generation of village youth. New groups of young people are getting together, not just to play soccer/football, but to make a difference in their communities by participating in reforestation and a microcredit culture. Their ideas brought Zahana back to its philosophy on rural university we envisioned almost two decades ago. This exciting new project will be covered in future project reports.
Thier personal cups waiting for the students
Reforestation and part of the festivities
Getting ready for reforestation in the school yard
Eating the special school lunch