Occasionally we are asked how the political situation affects us. Usually we say that we have no idea. Things have been the way they are the whole time we have been here. We are told by some people that there are some differences – like you used to be able to get much better ice cream and fresh milk (but the ousted President owned the dairy company – so no more) or that taxi bé drivers drive however they want because they have paid off the police. But others say that not much has changed.
Often we hear things from my dad in the States. He is tracking the political situation on the web. He recently said that because foreign aid has stopped coming to Mada the Malagasy cannot afford to spray for pests this year. So, there is expected to be a huge plague of locusts.
We recently met some other AIM missionaries who work in the south of the country (about 300 miles away). (Geographically and climate-wise think that we live in SanDiego and they live in central Texas.) They said that in the past there was lots of spraying of pesticide (by helicopter) but not really this year. So, they have seen the locusts come before and expect it to be worse this year.
What they say happens is that when the locusts come everyone grabs their mosquito nets or whatever container they can and they run for the fields. They scoop up all the locusts they can, and the children sit and pluck off all the wings. Then they dump mounds of maroon (not green) insects into carts. It's an amazing picture - (I wish I could see it myself) – oxcarts full of wriggling and writhing wingless insects. And where do they take them? To the market of course! They sell them to eat! Apparently, you boil them and then fry them with a few spices. Supposedly, it is quite the delicasie. Many people box them up and send them up country to relatives. (I guess it's like bringing salt water taffy home from the shore.)
We are told that a few people privately pay for spraying in their fields. So, you can buy dead or alive locusts in the market. Of course the dead ones were killed with insecticide.
So, the plague turns out to be a bumper crop of protein for people who get very little meat. But they are well aware that if they are not diligent in catching all the locusts they will lose their planted crops and have nothing to eat later on.
If you want to know more about the Bara people of southern Mada you can check out this link I found: http://cesa.imb.org/peoplegroups/bara.html