I can’t believe I am on my long dreamed of trip to Madagascar, to see the lemurs, the Ringtail Lemur in particular. Ever since Sr. Kevin’s 7th grade science class I have been intrigued by evolutionary oddities and been to the Galapagos to see the Blue Footed Boobies, Tasmania to see the Tasmanian Devil and to the south Coast of Australia to see the Fairy Penguins, for example. When some people flock to see the art or the food of a country, I go to see the animals. I enjoy the local art and sample most local foods – although brains and tripe and other squishy bits are not my favorite, but my real passion is to see endemic animals.
This past week was the most marvelous trip imaginable. A week in Madagascar and the potential to see wild lemurs. I’ve seen dozens and dozens, ringtails and sportives and red fronted brown and golden bamboo and lesser bamboo and mouse lemurs and talked to researchers about their work as it relates to lemurs and to the local people. Every day learning something, seeing something new. Each day was better than the last and I came to welcome whatever the day brought, even if I had thought it would take another path – I dedicated the week to seeing what would be presented to me instead of my oft-lived life of managing the minutes and the minutia.
To hope and dream of doing something, and getting the chance to do it – was marvelous. But the most surprising thing about going to Madagascar was meeting the people. I went to see the lemurs and the wonderful warmth and the needs of the people were what stood out the most. Many of the people, despite working very hard, live very meagerly. No electricity or running water and little access to prescription medicine.
I know one way to help them is to start by encouraging tourism to reinvigorate the economy there and I encourage you to go to Madagascar. I felt completely safe, and rich beyond compare. I think the guides thought I had lost my mind – but I doubled and tripled the recommended tips for good service, because I was paying for decades of experience and I wanted to share what I had with those that had need. I welcome you to join me in well compensating those that help you in travels so that they can also enjoy the fruit of their hard work.