Calendar Home
Previous Day

July 25, 2003

Next Day
Trying to keep our Madagascar tribes straight in our minds, we learn that Madagascar's deep south is home to four of the eighteen tribes: the Mahafaly and Vezo of the southwest, and the Antanosy and Antandroy of the southeast. We can't tell any difference from their facial features but that doesn't matter; a person will tell you his/her tribe if you ask.
We explore the region around Fort Dauphin, which is Antanosy and Antandroy country; these are two of the poorest tribes, who eke out a living by producing charcoal from the few remaining trees.
Selling cassava or manioc root, which is used as a bread substitute.
Herding zebus around the rice paddies - those palm frond skirts don't look too comfortable.
What to look for in a Madagascar tomb: the number of zebu skulls (cow skulls) indicates a person's importance. During the funeral, relatives sacrifice a number of zebus to commemorate the dead and paint the tombstones with scenes of family life or pictures of the deceased. Also posted is the amount of money, in Malagasy francs, that the family spent on the funeral.
This man's family sacrificed eleven zebus at his funeral and staked them next to his tomb; he must have been an important person.