Went to Diego airport today to see friends off.
Any visit to the airport means seeing familiar faces and them seeing you.
I realise I’m already getting used to the fact that this is a small town and your life is on show. In London people would know what I was doing because I told them, not because they saw me do it. So different people could know about my important professional milestones, drunken nights out, visits to the doctor, tripping over in the street, personal relationships etc.
In Diego, it’s always safest to assume that everybody knows everything.
An unsuspecting visitor, used to a cosmopolitan environment, may just see a sea of anonymous faces and not realise they’re all part of a closely linked net.
How are we all connected to each other?
Well, the fingers of large extended families reach far and wide, feeling deftly for information and gossip.
Also, the upstairs, downstairs phenomenon of domestic staff provides both the means of gaining inside knowledge and motivation for sharing it.
The itch to gossip about celebrities, so prevalent in the UK at the moment, is satisfied in Madagascar by gossiping about the better off – Vazaha or Gasy.
In a country where all regular forms of communication are mind-bogglingly ineffective (internet, post etc.) bush gossip, i.e. word of mouth, seems to race around Madagascar with death defying speed and accuracy.