A day with Stefano at Nosy Komba

with No Comments

5:30 am, Nosy Komba slowly reveals ourselves its majestic mountain at the first light of the day. We feel tiny on our sailboat below the old volcano. This island holds an impressive tropical forest that takes root in the water with the mangroves and grows to the center of the island at 600m. The mango trees, the albizias, the gigantic creepers and even the bamboos that compose it seem animated by enchanting ancient stories.

The small village of Antintorona in front of which we anchored slowly wakes up. The sounds of pirogues and fishermen who are working get into the boat's cockpit, this is the signal for us to go fetch Stefano. This sixty years old Italian amazed us during the passed days with the incredible developments that he initiated in his village:
- School campus of 300 students on the way to become a university
- Hydroelectric plant to produce green energy day and night, a sustainable alternative to the thermal power plants widespread in Madagascar
- Workshop of mechanics, sewing, production of local toothpaste ....

This morning, it is to go spearfishing that we have an appointment together, a common passion. Stefano knows where the fishes go around the island. Onboard La Julianne, he guides us to a small drop where the seabed goes up from 30 meters to a dozen meters deep. A group of fishermen are at anchor for angling in the tidal stream. If they are here, it must be full of fishes! We get into the water 150m from them with the harpoon guns. After an hour, a pretty yellow trevally shows itself by 10 meters depth. We are both surprised by the eye contact ... Curious but not suicidal, it starts to make a U-turn but it's too late, the arrow is gone at full speed. It unwinds half of the wire lenght before settling down, victory! We will have a great lunch together! We left with a superb red snapper as a bonus, feeling a bit sorry for the fishermen who seem not to be as lucky as we so far.

At the table, Stefano shares with us the stories of his village and transmits us a part of his life experience with his Malagasy friends who share the meal with us. For dessert, we have the privilege of attending a tooth extraction. Dental infections are difficult to treat and all too often, without proper care situations degenerate. Stefano decided about 20 years ago to take dentistry training to be able to operate for free every Sunday and simply saving lives. Today's patient walked 4 hours from the other side of the island to come here. The diagnosis is made, very big decay on one of the upper jaw molars, that means extraction, not real alternatives for that. We carefully follow each gesture to properly perform the anesthesia and then remove the tooth with several pliers to be sure to leave no piece in. Although brave and seemingly resistant to pain, the patient seems quite surprised by the manoeuver. It must be said that it heavily cracked in the mouth of the poor man! He leaves flabbergasted but with a clean mouth. And for us now, impossible to complain before going to the dentist!

This afternoon, an inter-village competition of moraingy takes place at the school square. After 4 months in the country, we finally have the opportunity to discover what the traditional boxing of Madagascar looks like. At this occasion, it is the party in the whole village, this sport excites the crowds and the coming nite promises to be crazy. The Sakalava music band sets the schoolyard on fire with its rhythms and frantic dances. Festive spectators enjoy the show and gauge the future fighters who parade with the raised fist to impress their opponents. The referee is ready, the fights can begin. They are explosive and violent. Participants fight bare handed. The technique sometimes seems random but one thing is certain, some fight as if their life depended on it and it is those who later emerge victorious and acclaimed by the crowd. Children are also getting their moment of glory by challenging themselves in the middle of the arena like their older brothers, despite their young age! The competition ends with the victory of one of the local fighters born in Antintorona. The wise and notables of the village welcome the performance of the participants. Apart from a broken finger and a few cuts, they got out unscathed. Stefano can wait until next Sunday before re - opening the consultations! And now, place to the party!

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply