I have visited this unique country many times and find that the people of Madagascar, the Malagasy, are generally a non violent, warm people. True they suffer from terrible poverty yet they still have smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. As soon as the politics are on track it will become our responsibility, as fellow Africans, to support Madagascar in every way we can. It is, even today as the president hands over power to the military, a safe holiday destination and the $400 million tourist industry has suffered a terrible blow as a result of the disagreements. The Malagasy folk are guardians to some of the world’s most unusual and endangered species. About 95% of the fauna and flora found in Madagascar is endemic to the country. Meaning it is found nowhere else in the world. These plants and animals are directly threatened by poverty. The hungrier the man, the more destructive he becomes. And rice cannot grow in a rain forest. So every year more and more trees are felled, the land is burnt and it the rice is planted. Extinction creeps closer and closer.
One tourist is responsible for creating work and income for many people. Right from the owners of the hotels down through the hierarchy to the farmer of the fresh produce. There are no mass suppliers so many people benefit from just one meal on a hotel table.
Madagascar is a wonderful holiday destination offering paradise beaches, incredible rainforests, reefs and geological marvels. I beg your readers to consider a holiday in this fascinating country and help rescue Madagascar from extinction.
Source: Cape Times 19th March 2009 issue, Author: H. Joao