Learning Big Answers From Small Creatures
Losing Track of Time
Time flies on the Eighth Continent. The summer rains have long given way to the dry chill of a highland autumn here in Madagascar, and the days grow short as night falls abruptly at this southern latitude. Back home, the snow is replaced by a riot of life and color, and as ever, I find myself caught and confused among my many disparate worlds.
“Whoa, time passes!” says my co-worker, Malagasy PhD student Christian Ranaivoson, as he scoops up the rambunctious five-year-old son of our favorite Marovitsika cook. This boy, Andry Kely, was not much more than a baby in a blanket when we first started this work, over two years ago now. Compared to many, I am still a Madagascar neophyte, but daily, the amount of time I have spent here—and the memories amassed—feel less and less insignificant.
“In Madagascar, the days pass like months, and the months pass like days,” a friend of mine told me last week. And I can think of no truer way to describe it—always, in Madagascar, I feel as though I have been here forever simultaneously with hardly at all.
Big Meeting for Small Mammals
I’ve been all over since I wrote to you last: in Marovitsika, Ambakoana, Ankarana, Mantasoa; the east, the north, the middle; chasing fruit bats, tracking pathogens, and watching as my dataset grows into something tangible and sensible, a story knitting itself together at the seams.
I write fresh from a week in the highland resort town of Mantasoa, home to Peace Corps’ Training Center, as well as an idyllic-looking lake chock-full of weekend canoers and Schistosoma mansoni, a disease-carrying parasitic worm. In Mantasoa, —> Read More