Written by Hank Woolley.Some of our new friends at the local school in Berivotra.Salàma once again from the research station in Berivotra! On Friday (June 26th) we had the privilege of celebrating Malagasy Independence Day, and boy do the Malagasy know how to have a good time on their nation’s birthday. The celebration began with a massive dance party the night before Independence Day. We learned some pretty sweet dance moves from the Malagasy members of the team, and the American team members did their best to return the favor and (regrettably) unleashed the Macarena from the depths of 90s weddings on the unsuspecting town of Berivotra. After getting over the fact that we did the Macarena for five whole minutes, we celebrated the official beginning of Malagasy Independence Day at midnight before promptly going to bed in preparation for continued festivities the next day.The deputy mayor of Berivotra presents Dr. Krause with a rooster as a gift for his dedication to the local community.The celebrations on Independence Day proper that we attended were truly special. We were able to visit two primary schools that were started by the Madagascar Ankeezy Fund (MAF) and the original project manager for the Mahajanga Basin Project (now the Madagascar Paleontology Project), Dr. David Krause. It was inspiring to see all the schoolchildren and their parents gathered not only to celebrate Malagasy independence, but also to honor the work that Dr. Krause and the MAF have done to help out the local communities around Berivotra. The ceremonies consisted of the singing of both the Malagasy National Anthem and the American National Anthem, singing and dance performances, and the exchange of gifts. Each performance showcased the rich culture and strong national pride of the Malagasy, and it was humbling to be a part of it all.Dr. Krause speaking at a MAF-funded primary school in the Berivotra regional capitol.One of many spectacular dance performances on Independence Day- Much cooler than the Macarena.
The singing of the Madagascar and United States national anthems.We are preparing to leave the Berivotra field area on June 30th, and we will be bringing you more updates on what we’ve been up to and what we will be doing in the next week to prepare for the second leg of our journey in the Morondava Basin! Stay tuned!