Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Lodged in an abattoir (of all places)

150322 610_7954I know I have been posting a lot recently about the flood relief centres here in Antananarivo, Madagascar, but they are still very much a reality to the city’s inhabitants.

One of the main sites is an abandoned abattoir, which was owned by former-president Marc Ravalomanana. Directly following his ousting as president in 2009 many of his businesses were ransacked, including the abattoir. The 3ha property has stood empty since and seemed the obvious choice to the government as a flood relief site. It is managed by the Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et Catastrophes (National Office for the Management of Risks and Catastrophes), with help from NGOs like the Malagasy Red Cross, US AID, International Emergency Firefighters, SOS Attitude, the tiny Growing the Nations and others.

When I visited there were over 1300 families on site, with more set to be added. A whole new section of tents had just been constructed, as well as four classrooms and a fenced-off bathing area. Officially 20 people share a tent, placed into family-unit compartments within, but usually that figure is much higher. I got some people to bring me a make-shift ladder so I could climb to the top of the building to get a birds-eye view of the site. But I was mainly there to shoot the work being done with the children.

Growing the Nations has been very good at pulling together volunteers – many of them from our church – and using what they are good at to serve those who have been displaced. Their main area of expertise, of course, is in occupational therapy, which is where the work with the children comes in. They played with them and had puzzles, building blocks, dolls and musical instruments for them to explore their creativity.

Also, with so many people living together, diseases like cholera, tuberculosis and the plague spreading through the camp is a real concern. As in all the other camps in which they work, Growing the Nations volunteers spend much of their time teaching hygiene and providing soap to the inhabitants of the abattoir site. The work they are doing may seem small compared to the “bigger” NGOs but it is a crucial part of the collective effort.

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3 comments on “Lodged in an abattoir (of all places)

  1. Tina Simpson
    March 29, 2015

    beautiful! and it is my belief that no help helping those who need it is small ❤ love those beautiful faces!

  2. Hanta Ralay
    March 29, 2015

    I will be following you. Thank you for the insight.

  3. jocelynr
    March 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on .

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2015 by in Madagascar, Real Life and tagged , , , , .
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