As you all know 1st of December is World AIDS Day everywhere. This week i decided to let you into our "love life" a little bit! :) Hope you enjoy my topic this week!
A lot of people do not know anything about this still deadly disease in Madagascar especially people from rural areas, or if yes, people do not care.They think that AIDS is all about government politics: they just frighten people to start using condoms as protection.
Sadly or not condoms are a big enemy in the rural areas where giving birth as many children as possible is still the most important thing in the lives of the families. And since condom does not allow people to have kids using a condom is almost a sin. I'm sad to say this but this is the reality and i think it is completely wrong. We even have a saying in Madagascar: using a condom is like when you eat banana and you don’t remove the banana peel, the taste is not that good at all!
In Madagascar the percentage of people who have AIDS is very low (0,5%) compare to some countries in mainland Africa. Although in reality numbers can be absolutely different. According to health officials 90% of the population has never been tested due to the bad health infrastructure around the country. Most of work done by international NGOs who work continuously to educate local people.
Despite slow economic growth, the population is growing rapidly by 600.000 Malagsies each year. By the year 2050 it is expected that the population of Madagascar will be doubled! The reason is easy: Malagasy families are usually very big. According to our traditional culture a couple must have 7 boys and 7 girls which is in total 14 children at one household!!!
To understand it better here is few reason why people may have so many kids at home:
About 80percent of Malagasy are farmers and modern equipement are not available,so people need a lot of hand to work on the fields. More children more helping hands on the rice fields
Farmers don’t get pensions after they get retired: they can only count on their children to take care of them when they get older
Lack of education infrastructure:most of of them do not receive any education so at the age of 15 or 16 girls have to get married and build family cos that’s the main thing to do if you area girl
If one girl get pregnant in a rural areas and she is not yet married yet, abortion is not that common. They family of the boy must give an amount of money to the girl's family to take care of the newborn or in case the girl wants go on with abortion she usually keeps it a secret even in front of the family because we think it is a shame.
Abortion is usually done alone in the shadow of a closed room using special plants and lots of physical exercises. Noneless to say it usually ends with death.
People think that to have a lot of kids is a benediction and a chance given by God and our Ancestor Spirits so refusing such a wonderful gift is a shame especially from where I from (the north). Having a boy is always more appreciated than a girl because boys have more strength working on the fields.
Understang our different cultures is extremely difficult. Even here in Madagascar. People in the big cities have an absolute different mindset then Malagasies living the rural area. Like two completely different worlds live next to each other. However we try to respect each other we all know that Madagascar needs to find a solution: in a country where food is not enough, cultivated lands are shrinking due to the erosion of the earth Madagascar will face very soon an extreme overpopulation.