A big topic of conversation has been how FAT I am… Some people have said it to my face and others have said it to Jean.
“Oh she’s been eating cake” “Oh she’s been eating too much sawaba (sweet dish with coconut milk)”.
It doesn’t really work to say “Well I’ve had a baby” as local women don’t tend to get fat. I noticed a local woman breastfeeding her baby, 1 month younger than mine. She pulled up her top to reveal a flat stomach. I chose breastfeeding tops that open only at the breast to keep those rolls of fat covered
To put this in perspective for Westerners I am at most a stone (14 lbs or 6 kilos) heavier than when I left. This is not unusual for Western women who have had babies.
But a splendid source of conversation for Malagasys.
Most English women would be horrified for someone to say this about them. Luckily I am used to Malagasys commenting on weight and am not sensitive about it. If Malagasys come into contact with Westerners a lot, someone normally needs to point out that it’s not acceptable to talk about someone as fat.
It’s not that fatness is revered here – people appreciate a fit, slim figure in both men and women. It’s just not seen as such a highly sensitive issue. Also people point out things that are obvious but undesirable (such as spots).
I expected to lose weight here but I seem to be gaining it. This is a mix of not being very active, Jean cooking big meals and me sucking condensed milk out of the can. I read today that condensed milk has 8 tablespoons of sugar in one can.
Can I possibly claim that I’ve just swollen up with the heat?