November 16, 2014

Tana to Ambositra, Madagascar

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 12:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Tana is a city of contrasts, a mix of old and new and the old traditional ways often sit uncomfortably next to the old, the new marching on, but the old not quite willing to give up ground just yet. Rice fields grow in the middle of the city, a river runs through, with slums and brick makers gracing the river bank, all just a stone throws from the hustle and bustle of more typical city pursuits.

Transporting mud bricks - Tana

Transporting mud bricks – Tana

Today was our first day looking around and we left in time to be caught in the Tana peak hour traffic. Pretty much the same as every other capital city I guess – too many cars at the same time, driving down mostly single lane main roads not designed for cars. Many of the cars are old, especially the taxis, which makes you feel like you’re in another world altogether.



Our ultimate destination was Ambositra, a city not far away in distance, but thanks to the windy, mountainous roads, interesting scenery and traffic, it took us almost the day to get there! The road is shared with the taxi buses (more like our delivery type vans) that are loaded with all kinds of goods the people are carrying, as well as many bull and carts on the edges of the road and of course people walking.

Taxi Bus

Taxi Bus

Not far down the road from Tana is Ambatolampy, a small city specialising in Aluminium pot making. There are quite a few of these small business around the town, tucked in between houses and I’d imagine they’re all fairly similar. We got dropped there by our driver to look around. After we’d done that, we got told we had to pay. sigh. OH&S is unheard of in these businesses, they don’t have any protective footwear or clothing, children run around the area and some of the work areas are so dusty you can barely breath (and you come out covered in dust). Despite this, they were more than happy to have us watch and it was interesting watching the recycled aluminium go through the process to become something useful again.

Pouring into the mold

Pouring into the mold

Along the way we stopped at an old bridge, with a new one about 100m up the road. They wanted a bigger bridge that would better suit the modern traffic, and eventually got one, but in order to ensure the people used the new one, they made the old one uncrossable. Proof that people don’t like change perhaps?

Forced to change

Forced to change

We reached our destination later that night, just in time to have a short walk around before it got dark. There were plenty of pousse-pousse (pronounced puss-puss, basically a rickshaw pulled by humans) around here, querying us for a ride, but not hassling us incredibly like some Asian countries would. Thought about getting a ride in one, but there were some really steep hills that we had to walk up to get back to our hotel (Hotel Violette) and I felt a bit guilty making the men pull me up them! Had some street food for tea that night, before reflecting on my first real day in Madagascar.

Street Food

Street Food

Madagascar is its own world. Not French, Asian, African or European, but a mix of everything. Two story mudbrick houses, narrow streets but with footpaths. Really scenic, with rice paddies making up the bulk of the industry/farming. Different culture altogether.



  1. Hi Thumper! I’m interested in traveling to Madagascar on a missions trip. I would love to hear more about your trip there!

    Comment by afpalermo10 — December 31, 2014 @ 11:47 am | Reply

    • Hey, that’s awesome! What will you be doing while you’re in Madagascar?

      Comment by pearsey — December 31, 2014 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

      • I’ll be working with MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) in Antananarivo. We’ll be traveling around to surrounding towns the first week, sharing the gospel and trying to get more groups started. The second week we are hosting a MOPs conference to encourage moms.
        I was hoping to go next summer but the money has not come in yet. My contact in Madagascar thinks we ought to wait until 2016. The current plan is to go in 2016 unless God abundantly provides.

        Comment by afpalermo10 — January 1, 2015 @ 2:18 am

      • That sounds great! Good on you for being willing to go, you will have a great time, & it should be fruitful. 2016 summer seems such a long way away, but it will come quickly enough if that is when you end up going. Use it as a time of preparation spiritually & spend that time praying for the area you will go to. Prepare the ground for the seeds of the gospel. It also gives the ladies in Madagascar more time to save up to come to the conference as well. Waiting for something so far away though can sometimes be frustrating, just use it wisely.What I like to do with missions trips if it is possible, is take a few days at the end and have a bit of a holiday at the end. Plenty of great places to see in Madagascar even if you only have a few days! It also means that I get to see some of the country and have a bit of a break too.Looking forward to hearing about it.

        Comment by pearsey — January 3, 2015 @ 7:35 am

      • Thank you for the advice. I am trusting that the timing is God’s. If it were up to me, I’d be there ASAP but I know that God will make it happenwhen He wants it to happen.
        I am planning to stay a couple of days in either Uganda or the UK after the trip. I have family in both places. I am a stay at home mom so I don’t really get vacation days when I get home. Haha.
        I would like to hear about you’re experience there. Was it missions or vacation?

        Comment by afpalermo10 — January 3, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

      • Uganda was both missions and a holiday. Did some missionary work with my friends who live there as well as taking them on a bit of a holiday around the country. You will appreciate the few days even more!

        Comment by pearsey — January 3, 2015 @ 10:33 pm

      • What type of missions work?

        Comment by afpalermo10 — January 4, 2015 @ 4:40 am

      • Preaching/teaching in local churches over there, praying for people, general pastoral type work. Was good fun and great to be able to encourage and train local pastors in their positions.

        Comment by pearsey — January 8, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

      • Sounds wonderful! I’m glad you were able to participate in what God is doing there.

        Comment by afpalermo10 — January 8, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

  2. […] for lunch, at the restaurant of the place we’d stayed at the first night (Violette). That night we’d chosen to eat street food, and as we munched on our pizza today, we wondered aloud […]

    Pingback by Pollen’s Vanga, Pizza and Shops | Thumper... — January 3, 2015 @ 12:57 am | Reply

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