Thanks a BOMB: VazahaGasy a ‘Best of Malagasy Blog’

I am gratified and honoured that this VazahaGasy blog has been voted the winner of the Society category in the Best of Malagasy Blogs awards.

Society award

I’m resisting an urge not to mention it and hide in the corner in embarrassment, because I’d like to pass on a big thanks both to those who voted and the organisers of the competition.

Projects like the BOMBS (Best of Malagasy Blogs) competition generate awareness and energy around internet usage thanks to the effort of the FOKO team behind the awards.

I’m convinced of the need for countries like Madagascar to embrace the internet and other IT options, in order to be able to develop as fast as they would like.

Clearly, the lack of funds – for individuals and organisations – plays a big part in restricting usage.

However, it’s also awareness and skills that are lacking. People here are bright and eager to learn – they just need people to point them in the right direction.

Unfortunately, at this point, many of the blogs are maintained either by the Malagasy diaspora or, like me, by a Vazaha living in Madagascar.

Let’s hope, before long – all the winners are Malagasys living in Madagascar and that these people are also using the internet for marketing, e-commerce, business-to-business processes, e-learning, transparent government and all the other things that facilitate growth and efficiency.

And please everybody send up a prayer to anyone or anything you think can help – FOR GLOBAL BROADBAND (that plea is both compassionate for the greater good of Madagascar and a selfish one to make my life easier).

So a big thanks again to all those who voted and congratulations to the other winners.

And let’s hope the BOMBS continue to raise awareness around the possibilities of blogging for Malagasys and those connected with Madagascar.

Coconut oil, cradle cap and connectivity

My child no longer smells of olive oil which I was using to treat his cradle cap (and which my mother hated for making her lovely grandson smell dirty). Now he smells of coconut oil extracted by his Malagasy granny from coconut trees planted by his Papa.

So, now he smells like a tropical, Indian Ocean boy.

How to make coconut oil
Incidentally I have discovered how to make coconut oil. Coconut milk is heated for a long time until the oil and the cream separate and the oil is spooned off the top. For those coconut novices, coconut milk is not the liquid which comes out of a fresh coconut – that’s coconut juice and is a refreshing sweet drink. The milk comes from grating, soaking and squeezing the flesh of the coconut. Mmmm – just the thought of coconut sauce is making me hungry,

Quick aside that it was quite confusing deciding what terms to use for Fred’s family members there because Granny in Malagasy is Dady which is what we’re calling her.

To connect or not to connect….
When we talk about slow connection speeds in developing countries, people in the West may not realise just what we’re talking about. I had to wait around a minute just to switch between internet windows or to scroll up the screen. I was in there for 90 minutes and I sent 2 pre-written emails, updated my Facebook status and left 1 message on a friend’s Facebook wall.

This does not bode well for my internet related ambitions….

Stu (ex-Frontier staff who has been in Diego as long as me) has pointed out that it would make sense to get a phone line put in to the flat and get the internet. I think he is wise and have started investigations.