The Butterfly Kaleidoscope

Madagascar

MacKenzie DuffyComment

Knowing only that I had a calling in my heart to experience the exotic lush beauty Madagascar’s natural wonders had to offer, I booked a flight to explore what I anticipated to be beauty. My experience, vastly different. 
I had a bit of a rude awakening to find Tana, Madagascar’s capital, in rubbles. Prostitutes lined up on the streets next to piles of trash and the scent of urine. Madagascar is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world so you can only imagine what a city full of desperately impoverished people must be like. To see so much struggle was devastating. This land, to me, was suppose to reflect that of prehistoric times. One of Earths great experiments of evolution, that which embodied the ancestors of Gondwanaland. 
2000 years ago , humans arrived to an island covered in forests and huge tortoises, dwarf hippos, lemurs the size of gorillas and the elephant bird. (seriously 3 meters high!) Today, more then 90% of the country has been deforested. What a blatant slap in the face as to what scarcity can bring and at such an alarming rate. 
I’ll be the first to admit I spent many moments locked in my own mind of discomfort, searching for an escape from the madness. Searching for an escape from my own madness because truly, as within, so’s without. I spent many long hours traveling by taxi bruisse, digging deep into my psyche where the dark shadows dwell and aspects i’d tried to ignore remained. 
I learned about the Zafimanaria tribe and trekked through the highlands to sleep in their village. I canoed 3 days down the Miandrivazo river in hopes of reaching the Tsingy Forest. I watched lemurs nestled in the tops of trees, and as times went on, and the days passed, something changed. 
It wasn’t immediate, there was no epiphany or aha-moment to be had. It was more of a letting go, a softening to, an allowance of life’s beauty meeting and recognizing mine. My reactions softened and I started to see the people and a story taking place in front of me for what it really was. THESE PEOPLE WERE HAPPY. There was content and simplicity and laughter in the air. These people had mastered, quite possibly, what I moved half way around the world to achieve, peacefulness in the fluctuation of the mind. 
I find traveling for me as a means of education. There is nothing more awakening then finding yourself on unfamiliar territory and witnessing the people and environment around you. The direct mirrors that show up, the people you meet and challenges you over come. All a direct reflection to exactly who you are and what you are working with at this exact moment in time. No past or future interferes with the equation, just the here and now. 
Thankful for another adventure rich in culture and diverse in its luminous insights. 
Biggest take-away : The ability to be joyful despite poverty. 
Thank you for the light.