On the New Year's Eve of 2018 cooking Hungarian goulash stew in the garden of Raissa's mother we had no idea what a special year 2019 will be. We had been dreaming, planning and thanks the delicious local rhums we made lots of plans. But one thing sure after looking back for almost 10 months now none of us thought that our dreams may came through: The thought that two average kid from Europe could actually build a school in Africa. This post is about opening our first TSARA PROJECT about 5 months ago: at the end of May.
The road to Diego Suarez is not easy. Getting to Madagascar is quite ok since there is a few daily flight to the capital but due to the distances and the lack of domestic flight it still takes 2 days to get to the northern parf of Mada. Arriving to the same airport for the third time is almost like arriving home. No surprises of the stable-style airport in the middle of nowhere. You leave the airplane on the tarncac, walk 5 meters and then you arrived! After getting our luggages we have dozens of 30-40-years-old Renault 4 taxis waiting for us. But before the transfer: the compulsory rhum story at the airport's bar. The ride to the hotel is quite short. We checked in easily to the one and only proper hotel in downtown.
The rainy season has just ended. In May the weather become dry again with the start of the winter season (28-30 Celcius degress) :) Yeppp, that is winter... We only have one week in Diego this time so we had a tight schedule. So we put the opening of our first project on the second day. By opening we meant we go and visit the site how the building look like and that is all....Netherless to say it happened a bit different :) We were excited to see the fruit of our work especially because the last photos we recevived were far from being ready.
The little village where Tsara was born is a tiny village around 30 minutes drive from Diego Suarez. It is right on the main road that crosses the whole country. Travelling in Madagascar is not cheap. Sadly the tuk-tuks are not allowed to leave the borders of the city and renting a car with a driver is super expensive (expect 40 EUR for a 30 min drive and back. Sadly al tour operators are owned by europeans, mostly french people.) Even though we tried noone would sponsor or even gave discount to go and see our school. Never mind, we solved that problem too! It was a bumpy ride with two large luggage full of clothes we got from our friends to donate to the children.
Raissa also came with us for the opening. We had no idea that there is a schedule and a full program! OMG! I was joking with Raissa earlier that we at least want some zebu and a choir when we arrive but seriously.....i was just joking. :)
Upon our arrival we heard that the director of the local office of ministry of education is coming for our opening! And did i mentioned the local TV??? We were happy meeting the staff of the ministry and I believe we managed to make a great co-operation with them for the future.
After everyone arrived, we started walking to the new kindergarten. In the french educational system it is called école de maternelle. It is part of the school system, so kids above 5 are already start learning reading and writing. While we were walking on the dirt road zebu carts and bush taxis were crossing us we started to hear some singing...We looked at each other and we smiled. We knew this is the celebration of our kids. The whole village came and respected our arrival. It was a moment we will never forget. The smiles, the singing, the welcome was something you cannot imagine. We knew thaat we started worth every penny. The children were quite surprised and had no idea what is actually going on but the the adults were extremely welcoming!
The entrance of the school of Andranomanitry is just a few meters from the main road. We saw our newly built school immediaately! It was amazing! Just fabolous. It's red roof shined from far. None of us thought that Mr. Marcellin and his team will do such a wonderful job! The colour of the building is fixed: this shows to the locals who cannot write or read what type of building it is. The size of the building is almost 60 squaremeters in an octagonal format. The roof was made of wood and tin, fully covered so we can get the bats out of it which causes a lot of problems in the primary school building. Inside 3 walls are made for writing.
After we visited the building we opened it officially! On behalf of Tsara Project me - Peter - welcomed the kids who were all wearing a cute paper-made crown. We thought it is important to highlight and ask the parents also to take care of building as if it were their own. Tsara Project Foundation does not own the buildings. We help the local governmental bodies by building or rebuilding schools. We have no intension of opening private schools.
We arrived with two luggage of used clothes and toys to the village. Thank you everyone who donated these pieces to us so we could surprise our little friends! We brought gifts before (school materials) but bringing clothes and toys seems to be a much much bigger joy to the locals.
After the opening we came back to the school a few days later to make a video shoot and finalize some paper works. We knew that soon we will come back to do something more. And this day is closer then you think!