Written November 7th, 2012
I spent election night/day in Moramanga with some other volunteers so we could watch the outcome on a tv. We managed to get a free room at the nicest hotel in the city (shout out to Bezanozano!) because a fellow volunteer had made friends with the owner. I had my first shower with a real shower head (the kind you just stand under and don’t have to hold) for the first time since arriving in country! Needless to say, it was amazing. East coast polls started closing around 3am here so we slept a bit beforehand. Watching the election was great and I am certainly happy with the outcome. I don’t have a new boss’s boss’s boss!
The night of the election we went out to buy some snacks and I met a woman affectionately called the rabbit lady. We were waiting for some chicken to grill so we had a while to chat. She found out I have a background in animal husbandry and invited me to come see her house and her 100 rabbits the next day. I politely tried to dodge the invite but she was persistent so I made a plan to meet her there at 10 the next morning. Well… when 10am the next morning rolled around Obama was still giving his acceptance speech and we still hadn’t eaten breakfast so I bailed. I know that sounds horrible but Malagasy people are so incredibly flaky that it’s really not so bad. Probably over 50% of the social plans I make fail because people just don’t show up so I figured this woman probably wouldn’t show up or wouldn’t care if I didn’t (plus I had a completely valid excuse, right?).
I was wrong. She sent a little girl (a house girl I think? Not her daughter) to the hotel to try to find us while I was out at the post office (where my package was clearly broken into but everything survived! Yeah ECHO seeds!). Then when I was headed off to make my reservation on my taxi brousse she ran up to me. Apparently she was out driving and looking for me. Slightly creepy…. So I apologized and figured I should get it over with. I got in her car (isn’t this how kidnapping stories work?) and took about a 5 minute drive to her house. Her house was beautiful! Probably the most western house I have seen outside the capital. She fed me lots of food (including rabbit) and talked about all the westerners her family had befriended. Apparently she had really good contact with previous volunteers but none recently (she even had pictures of volunteers with her family up on the wall). She also has good relationships with the Mormon missionaries in Moramanga. After eating I saw the rabbits (she tried to give me a pair but I had literally nothing to carry them in) which was really amazing. She has tons of them! Then she drove me back to my taxi brousse station and then went shopping with me. I politely tried to ditch her but she wouldn’t budge. I figured she fed me so I could put up with it. She bargained hard for all of my produce and picked out all the best stuff for me. When I was only going go buy a single mango because they were expensive she bought be a whole 2 kilos.
So rabbit lady might be a bit insane but I think she is defiantly a good friend to have.