I am back home in Klagenfurt again. It is a grey, misty November day and is kind of hard to switch from the sunny and warm scenery we were experiencing a week ago in Madagascar. The impressions of the IWitness trip are so fresh and vivid.
There is a picture in my mind, when we visited a third primary school in the north of the island. Being welcomed with the flowers around the necks, by the whole community, scholars and functionaries. We sat in the classroom and as usual we introduced ourselves to the big audience. The little fellow KRULLIG elf was sitting there with us and greeting the audience as well. The people in the classroom met the soft toy which is directly involved with their lives too, for the first time. With the elf we tried to make the people understand, how we (IWitness participants) are involved in fundraising and our effort to provide the opportunity for their better life as well. At the moment KRULLIG greeted the people in the classroom, the real dialog between the Madagascar hosts, IKEA colleagues and IKEA customers was successfully achieved and I was so grateful to be part of it.
After the formal school introductions, we always tried to have a sit among the pupils in the classroom and get to know them. It was not that easy to find a place between crowded banks and shy children. The first moments I didn’t know what to do, say hello, smile to them, get on my knees to sit among them – kind of awkward feeling for me and for them probably as well. Then I asked them if I could make some photos and some of them shyly agreed, while some refused and turned away. After showing the camera display, more and more kids started to move around me and wanted me to make more photos. The language barrier was pulled down and soon we smiled side by side together.
Not just the people of Madagascar, but also the biodiversity of fauna and flora, were a thrilling experience for me. Driving on the bumpy roads to the schools slowed us down and we had enough time to observe the nature around. After I thought we passed by a chameleon (which I saw it just in terrarium so far) on the tree beside the road, I couldn’t stop forcing my eyes to catch some more of them. And I did it! “Stop please” was all I could shout to the driver, jumped out of the car and got a chance to meet the beauty below. The fellow was slowly “rushing” his way to some hidden place and the show was over soon. I wished him good luck and got back in the car.
Back again, the grey and cold November here looks and feels coloured and bit warmer with those images in my head, the magic of Madagascar still works!