A hard-working people, solar, and with a strong sense of religion

CiccioPhone_20131209_009A hard-working people , solar, and with a strong religious sense , so I always called my country , indeed , sorry, my hometown. In my travels around the island , in Italy , in the world , presenting my background , I used always these three expressions , because I believe then and now that best identify the community in which I grew up and from which I have learned to live and relate .

Even here in Madagascar , in this great red land (defined as non- partisan by choice but by the particular color of the earth ) I carry with me these three definitions , but further I in the culture and language of this people, the more I find similarities with what I left at Sorso . It would seem strange to think that two people so far apart and with very different origins , may have some similarities , but I will try , without too much effort , to present ( with all the limitations of the Miao improvise writer ) matches the harmonics of these two cultures , and that the Malagasy sussinca .

A hard-working people ! Most of those who commonly speak of the African people , and especially of the Malagasy people describe him as a lazy, slow movements and a low reactive ability , perhaps because if you already mid-day or early afternoon take a walk in the villages you can see young men sit on the street and talking and waiting for the “time steps.” But living with them you will find that they do not spend the whole day from lazy , but prefer to work in the early hours of the day to cool. Perhaps it is good to remember first of all that Madagascar is literally on the other side of the equator , its climate is hot and humid exhausting. Here the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning and in the evening darkness envelops you right from 18:00. The work is more prevalent among the villages , rice cultivation and the breeding of cattle . From the first hours of dawn can be seen in the fields men and women who work the land , almost devoid of water, while the children go out to pasture with cattle, in search of fresh grass and water quenching ( this involves the stand outside the “home” even days and days). Grow rice is not simple, our ancestors can teach us what it means to Sorso spend hours and hours in the sun with the face facing the ground , and what was necessary to invent tricks to irrigate the land . Of course here in Madagascar, especially in the villages , the tools are commonly used only his hands and a hoe . Only those who have worked or works the land knows what it means to spend entire mornings to work the soil , from 5 am to 12:00 under the scorching African sun , without the possibility of shelter in the shade of a tree, because the soil was deforested to make way for rice paddies.

I remember when I was a child , during the summer, up early in my family who had to go to help in the campaign for the collection of tomatoes or other fruit . I remember my grandfather ‘s truck stop that was the entrance to the village to retrieve a few women willing to work ” by the hour ” in his campaign . I will never forget those hours of hard work, inexperienced child to me , seemed like moments of celebration ; still treasure it in my memories the laughter, the sounds , the colors and scents of this holy effort worthy of honor and admiration. The same sounds, colors , laughter riassaporando I’m here in Madagascar. A hard-working people that makes me even more proud of my origins , my country . Of course , here the scent and flavor of the tomato is not the same , nor the taste of wine or watermelon , but in the apparent diversity (and substantial ) products , lurks the same effort and the same honor of the work, sacrifice of entire families . Three times during the year, here in the south, is sowing period . The fields must be plowed and properly prepared. The whole family is called to participate , because the rice for the vast majority of the population is the only meal available , and commodity trading . The success of the season will be very important for their livelihood . The land would have a lot of agricultural potential and yet are not without problems : the lack of infrastructure (in this case non-existent ) , the techniques inefficient , the drying of the soil , poor water management, the lack of economic resources and difficulties in accessing credit hinder the transition from subsistence farming to market .

The predominant tribe in south-central Madagascar that I serve as a missionary is the tribe ” coffin ” , a people deeply attached to its traditions and culturally ‘ very close ‘ . Here the ox (called umby ) is not just an animal, but it is the symbol of their culture. A family , indeed a man , owns most umby is more respectable . It is an animal to be treated with reverence . The theft of umby here in the south, by the many thieves who move in mass , is considered to be brutal , the brigands of umby are not worthy of respect and live outside of the village life . The umby is used to transport carts, to work the land facendoglielo trample over and over again in a hurry, for the slaughter, and as a bargaining chip. The greatest pride of a man Malagasy is the amount of umby he possesses. The tribe veterans , the value of a woman given in marriage is still contracted in umby . This may shock us , but you have to really get into this culture to understand the true meaning of their attitudes and thoughts. At the death of the household head , all of his property umby are not given an inheritance to their children, but they must be slaughtered and the meat you have to feed all the friends and family who participate in the festival days of the funeral , coming on foot from very away .

After a day of hard work in the hot sun , or spent grazing for miles away from home , I would say that it is absolutely outrageous to see adults and young Malagasy sitting on the edge of the road to ” contemplate nothingness ” , to chat and maybe to ward off fatigue for a few moments of a life of hard work for the sustenance of his family, meanwhile the scorching sun will rise the next day too soon …


Francesco Meloni

missionario fidei donum in Madagascar

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