Madagascar was the most incredible experience of my life. I saw things I had never seen before and I saw familiar things from new perspectives. I learned so much about the world and my place within it. After Madagascar, I am more determined than ever to dedicate time to volunteering abroad.
Our classroom was on a beach. Outside the window, whales were jumping in the Indian ocean. We went camping, hiking, swimming, snorkling, and caving. We visited beautiful rainforests and climbed the second highest peak in the country.
But the most wonderful part of the experience was the people. The Malagasy are the some of the most warm, welcoming, happy people I have ever known. In the photo above, I am holding a baby girl that was born only hours before. I had helped deliver her when I was staying in an isolated, rural village for a week. The mother, shown in the wool hat next to me, was sixteen. And in Tandroy culture, a woman cannot make a sound during childbirth. She did not cry out once. It was incredible. She gave birth right there in her small hut, with only me, her mother, and her grandmother in the room. There was no doctor and no medications. She did it all by herself.