my chronicles

Madagascar.

Madagascar.

My name is Belmont, I’m a Madagascan, a coast man as we say here.
Since my youngest childhood, I help my father to fish, a dugout with sail and oar, a net, a diving mask, this is my life.

Madagascar. - photo -> 1
I was born more than 25 years ago, I’m now married, father of a child and I work in a small hotel on the beach. The tourists who come here say that it is a paradise, an unique place, for me who was born here this place has nothing exceptional, it’s just my daily life.
Madagascar. - photo -> 2
My village lines this beach, the dugouts are spreading out there casually, they lend to slide towards streams for the next departure.
For me, my father possesses definitely the most beautiful dugout of the village, it is blue, surmounted by a sail patched by shirts and by fabrics, the all put together by my mother.
We are happy here, there is some fish, even the gods of the wind are with us. It blows on one side in the morning and so it allows us to go away from the coast while afternoon it changes direction to be able to us to return to the beach.
Madagascar. - photo -> 3
Never it brakes this rule. When it changes direction, one by one, the veils are hoisting themselves, and the return is announced. Among hundreds of dugouts, I always recognize the one of my father, at the very top there is a big red square, it’s an end of patched sheet that covered me during the cold winter nights.
We have few customers at the moment in the hotel, some employees had to leave, 6 months after the riots, always no tourist.
I’m worried about my work, I pray that people return, finally; this week, 4 customers are planned, the season begins again.

Madagascar. - photo -> 4
People who come here are engaged, on holiday for their honeymoon as they say, they lock themselves and we do not see them a lot. There are also surfers with kites. I have already seen 4 or 5, they make trip in front of the hotel in the lagoon, as if they were afraid of the wide, us with the dugout we go so far as we do not see the beach anymore and the wind pushes us finally always at home.
Bertrand, Martin, Stéphane, and Jérémie, here is our new customers, I memorize fast their first names. Bertrand is a tall blond guy with blue eyes, Martin does not speak French, there is also Stéphane always with cameras, and Jérémie who spends time speaking about waves.
Here, waves are big, we spend time avoiding them with our dugouts, it is our obsession, the dugout of my father overturned itself once and all the catch was lost.
They came with enormous bags, as some of our customers, but they do not look like to be here for their honeymoon, they have surf with kite. Bizarrely, they do not want to make round trips in front of the hotel, but look for a dugout to go to the wide, and play with waves.
Funny idea!! We avoid waves and them want to play with them.
As fishermen, they get up early, leave with their boards without sail, disappear in the wide, to return a few hours later, made up by solar cream, the same smile with lips as us when the catch was good.

Madagascar. - photo -> 5
Here, we eat well, and they not refrain from doing it, fish, kebabs, zebu, crab, what makes me laughter, I make every effort to propose to them different dishes, but when one of them choose something, everybody is going to take the same dish.
Every day, about noon, the wind goes up, Max, the son-in-law of Thierry, the owner, opens then his school. He gives lessons of board to kite and this weekend, he has a customer, Adam. Adam often comes here, he works in town, he plants trees, “jatrophas”. He wants to create with the trees some gasoline for cars, still a funny idea but apparently it works.
Martin, Bertrand, Stéphane and Jérémie, already run everywhere. It’s impressive all the kites we can put in a dugout! And boards, and cameras, and bags, everything goes in.
They get ready on the beach, whereas Stéphane, with his cameras, leaves by boat.

Madagascar. - photo -> 6
Lines, inflatable kite, board, and here they are left on the horizon, slaloming between dugouts and potatoes of reef.
All day long, I see some small dots who play with big foams which are reflected by the sun. Finally, a wave seems not so terrible that I always thought.
And every evening, during the aperitif, it’s always the same, did you see the wave I’ve caught, and my barrel…?, and what I got….I can’t wait for tomorrow, these conversations changes me to the languishing peace of the lovers in honeymoon …

Madagascar. - photo -> 7
They are happy, especially when the wind blows and waves break off the coast, they return to the beach the smile to lips, eyes reddened by the sun.
Here, the mobile phone does not transmit, there’s only one line. Each evening, it is the parade in the office, in turn their girlfriends call them. They have all the same conversation, ” and you would see waves, it is extraordinary, you should have come.. ” Necessarily, it is a small paradise when you are with your girlfriend here. Small chalet at the water’s edge, a warm shower, the whole warmed by a solar furnace, a solar electricity all day long, no mosquito, good transparent lagoon, there is everything except shops.
Generally, they hang up, called by the others, who wait for their turn to play cards.
They play furious card games, like we make with Fanorona, but they call it the poker.

Madagascar. - photo -> 8
A departure is always sad! Especially when the customers made me laugh a lot, and everybody came at feet of the boat to greet them.
Play with waves, what a funny idea… when they left, I tested with the dugout, a small wave at the beginning, then a bigger one, it’s true that is fun, and this time it was me who went back to the beach with a big smile and my eyes reddened by the sun.

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