I may have mentioned before that there were severe riots in Madagascar in January 2009. Deaths, lootings, fires, etc. I'm not going to get into all the political reasons why this happened, maybe I'll save that for another post - but its happening again.
Typically, the riots start in Tana (the capital) and come to Tamatave within a month or so. This can be scary, but we just stay in the camp and work from home (providing we have power and internet). I'm not trying to make it sound like a walk in the park...but once you're in the camp.... but its not like walking into a war zone or anything. Its just hard when you have to LEAVE the camp.
So, last weekend the protesting/riots started in Tana. We were expecting that they would come to Tamatave in about a month's time. WRONG. They started this weekend.
Thursday was a bit stressful....kind of a calm before the storm type feeling. And then on Friday evening I received a text message saying that demostrations were going to occur and that I should avoid certain areas.
Not what I wanted to hear the day before I'm supposed to leave for home!!
The office closed down and everyone was sent home.
We found alternative routes to the airport.
And...I made it. It was a bit uneasy - there was no rolling down the windows with the wind blowing in my hair taking in the scenery. We took the route that had the least chance of running into the rioters/military. The protests were supposed to happen at noon, so we left extra early in hopes to avoid the entire scene all together. I waited at the airport, had a smooth take off, pass out COMPLETELY. I felt like I was drugged almost I was so tired! And...I'm typing this post from Paris so WOOHOOO!!!!!
I didn't realize how hard I was trying to keep it together until we were landing in Paris and I started to cry a bit. The thing is, acting all freaked out and losing your calm while you're in that kind of situation doesn't change the situation - so I think I handled myself really well. But then once I realized I had gotten through it - the situation sunk in and I got upset and let go of all the anxiety/stress from the situation.
I may be making a bigger deal about this than necessary - but the riots/protesting are something that really upset me. I think this is the first time that I've actually been freaked out here.
Oh - and one quick little note. The night before I left I was talking with my old man group and they were saying that they are so happy that I'm on this project. I bring a youthfulness and energy and am just a really fun and wonderful person to have around. They think that I fit in here so well and that I just belong here. It was a wonderful thing to hear and I am so incredibly flattered and touched. These guys have quickly became very important to me and have made my time so much easier (and I told them as much). I'm sure I would be able to make it here without them - but they make my time here so much more enjoyable and comforting. Its a bit of a surprise that I'm such good friends with such...well...old people, but they are truly unique and wonderful people.
I told them that I think I'm going to miss them! They said...no, you won't. But all you'll do when you're gone is talk to your family and friends about us.
Anyway...I'm off to have a shower! Its so refreshing to shower and change clothes after a 12+hour flight!
See you all soon!!!