Day 253, Year 5 Another Play Session with Lemurs
Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Weather: 16th Gorgeous Day in a Row BUT Cloudy, Cloudy Evening
Location: Ampangorina Village, Nosy Komba, NW Madagascar

Mark and I just can’t get enough of playing with lemurs, so we ventured back into the village late this morning to have another play session. The people at the park office know us so well now that we didn’t even have to pay the fee, but our guide from yesterday, Rio, wanted to go with us anyway. We now know where the different troupes of lemurs hang out, so we went to the closest location and started calling, “maki, maki, maki.” The call plus a little banana and they come scrambling down out of the trees. This time we had one mature female and one younger with three young males. I can’t wait to come back here in September and see the babies. Rio said the babies ride on the mother’s tummy for 90 days and then ride on the mother’s back for the next 30 days. At that time they are weaned, but we are not sure what happens next. We don’t know if they stay with the mother once they are weaned or if they are sent out into the world to be on their own. We think Rio was saying the babies will join a different troupe, but we were not sure. But one thing we do know is that by the time we leave Madagascar we hope to learn as much as we can about these delightful little creatures.

After playing with the lemurs we spent time walking about the village looking at all of the beautiful embroidered table cloths and door and window hangings. We have never had curtains in Windbird and we thought we might be able to buy some of the narrow hangings and turn them into curtains, but we don’t think it is going to work. These embroidered pieces are called recelet. They begin as a piece of plain muslin. Then the women draw the designs on the cloth free-hand. We watched a woman do this today and it was fascinating. Then every drawn design is outlined with an embroidery stitch taught to the women here by the nuns in the missionary. When everything is embroidered, they then cut out the material inside the embroidered designs. The traditional purpose of recelet was to hang the pieces in the doorways and windows of huts to allow for a little privacy but still allow light and air to flow through the holes. Somewhere along the line, the women of the village discovered that they could sell these pieces to tourists in the form of tablecloths, and sell them they do. Since this island is very close to Nosy Be, tourists can be brought in by speedboat and traditional dhows every morning. They stay just long enough to buy recelet and wood carvings and then back to the main island they go. There are also a number of small resorts on Nosy Komba, some in our little village and some on the south side of the island, and these tourists buy as well. Most pieces sell for $25US or under, and in Madagascar $25US is a lot of money.

We added to the local economy today by buying a few pieces, so now we are ready to move on. Tomorrow is Mark’s birthday and he wants to go back to Nosy Sakatia so that we can purchase more food and drink and head ourselves south for a few weeks. So since he is the birthday boy, he will get his wish. We are all set to pull up anchor and move on in the morning, weather permitting. We have had over two weeks of beautiful weather, but a heavy cloud cover came in late this afternoon and we’re not sure what that means. If it is raining in the morning, or the wind is blowing from the west, we will stay here. Otherwise, it is back to Sakatia. Wherever we are tomorrow night, Ed and Lynne have invited us over for a Mexican dinner complete with Margaritas. That will be a perfect way to celebrate Mark’s birthday.

100706 Day 253 Nosy Komba, Madagascar–More Lemur Fun