Daily Life in Antanambe Madagascar
Vie Quotidienne a Antanambe Madagascar – Disponible en Francais
Antanambe is located on the east coast of Madagascar, 320 km north of the town of Toamasina, Tamatave, in the Mananara district. Laying just across the islet of Atafana, or better said of the three islets of the Unesco World Heritage Atafana micro archipelago.
Small coastal villages are nestled in the midst of the maze of rivers, tributaries and confluences. Their life are punctuated by the incessant ballet of pirogues. All kinds of commodities pass through these water paths towards Tamatave downstream of the great river, and among these, the most valuable spices such as cloves, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, berries and the precious and famous coffee from Madagascar. Located across the Island of Sainte Marie, facing the small island eponymous, Antanambe lives mainly from fishing and agriculture. As in most of the countryside of the Red Island, rice -the staple food by excellence -is cultivated. Ploughing is done thanks to the animals that makes the wealth and ” fortune” of many rural people. Who owns one or more zebus is a wealthy man. Popular traditions say that he humped cattle arrived by sea from India on a ship that wrecked somewhere on the coast near Diego Suarez, the largest city in the north of Madagascar . So the ‘Grande Terre” – as Madagascar is nicknamed – was populated with this iconic animal that now lends a hand with farm work. Plowing is conducted by softening and flattening the soil by the herds. Then by seeding and transplanting follows, a job often reserved to the Betsimisaraka women, named from the ethnic group that populates mainly the east coast of Madagascar. Betsimisaraka originate in Africa. Here, only one crop a year is produced, harvested around June 26, the day of the national holiday. The fady, local word for taboos, forbids a number of tasks on different days of the week, places, regions and ethnic groups . In short, everyone has their fadys and no one would dare to transgress them. Back to our small coastal village, working the land is prohibited on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Other days may be used for work the fields in the following order; plowing first, then comes the time of sowing and finally transplanting tasks which are the ‘privilege’, on days allowed, to the he fairer sex…
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