Birth of Madagascoeur. From our first trip to the formation of the association.
October 2015 The end-of-year holidays are still a long way off, but “our world” is already doing everything it can to remind us that this year again, we will consume, more than for good reason when the time comes, because it is like this at home: we will not escape it. When will we see the family? What about the in-laws? What gifts will I offer? Which ones will I receive? Yes, let’s offer Florida to our children, with amusement parks. But in addition, we could do this or that and set the bar higher. STOP!
Everything, yes, we realize that we have everything at home here, in Europe, in Switzerland. Were we lucky to be born here? Is this a coincidence? Is it written somewhere that…? Anyway, this succession of little things have, at one point, made us change our holiday destination. No more amusement parks, long straight roads and big burgers. We will go “to do humanitarian work”. Where? Where? In Madagascar. Why? Why? It’s far away, it’ll change our scenery. People speak French and there is no time difference. It can’t hurt us and our children will see that not everything is pink everywhere on Earth.
At that moment, neither Vérène nor Thierry knew that something new would be born and grow out of this journey. At no time did they imagine what they would see and feel there, nor the impact this would have on the future.
Madagascar will soon take their hearts, Madagascoeur will soon be born.
Only a few hours of sleep separate us from our arrival in the night. We met Coco, our guide. He came to pick us up and take us to Mevarano…. When we organized our trip, we had several contacts with Misa, from Océane Aventures, in Tananarive. We explained our intentions: 1. to visit the island, 2. to enjoy our holidays, but 3. also to immerse ourselves in a disadvantaged Malagasy village where we could bring some clothes, toys or anything else useful.
It takes us 4 hours in 4 x 4 to travel the 150 km road from Tananarive to Soavinandriana and 1 hour more to travel the remaining 8 km of track to Mevarano. During this first day, even before we arrive in the village, we are already aware of the poverty of the people, the lack of everything and the gap between our way of life and theirs. We wanted to show something to our 13- and 15-year-old children. It’s difficult to understand what they see, it’s difficult for us adults to understand.
For two weeks we will meet hundreds of people, visit dozens of places from Tananarive to Tulear, on the southwest coast. Everywhere the same observation is made: a precariousness that we had never seen before. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. The population lives on less than CHF 2.- per day. There is no “old” and it is better not to get sick.
However, we will only meet people who offer us their smiles and kindness, without asking for anything in return. The population has hit us hard, to the point where we could not have gone home and acted “as if nothing had happened”. When we return, we share our trip with our loved ones.
On July 8, 2016, Madagascoeur was founded by Vérène, Thierry and Peggy. The aim of the association is to carry out various projects to help the Malagasy population. Since then, the three founders have been putting energy into Switzerland to raise funds. On the other hand, Coco advises us on the spot and checks our actions on the spot. He is the one who guides us on each of our trips there.