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Children, children everywhere

Two million people call Antananarivo home. It appears a surprising number of them are elementary school-age children who play everywhere we look, seemingly without supervision and in places that appear to be fraught with danger such as busy streets or water. They are drawn to Ryan’s video camera like bugs to a light, laughing and jumping and singing and running to keep pace. They mug for the camera and smile broadly when seeing their likeness in the viewfinder. They are extraordinarily happy children, it seems on the surface, but they also are victims of Madagascar’s poverty, which makes half of the people live on about $1 US a day, or less. They beg constantly, holding out their hand while repeating “Monsieur … Madame … please, please.” We are advised to decline because tourists are often pressured greatly in Madagascar, but it is hard to ignore their need because there appears to be no end to it and they are charming, as well. Ryan’s short video clip here captures a few of those we saw today. If it doesn’t show, be patient with our technology challenges from here; it will appear soon. Tuesday afternoon, we will be visiting an orphanage of about 45 children supported by Churches of Christ where several of our Malagasy students and other ACU alumni are volunteering this summer. It is a 90-minute drive from Antananarivo; watch for our video coverage a little later in the week.