Happy 2012 Everyone!
Alastair and I are in New Zealand now, after a very successful and inspirational field season in Maromizaha Forest, Madagascar.
I hope you are all healthy and happy wherever you are 🙂
Since my last update we have had two more meetings with the 2011-2012 Zaza Scholars and their parents/guardians. These kids are SO keen to learn! They spend 20 minutes observing every detail of a page in an illustrated animal encyclopedia! They are also impressive artists and drew many colourful pictures for you. We also helped them write a short letter to each sponsor in English. I took photos of their letters, the kids themselves and their art to show you. If you sponsored a student for the 2011-2012 season, I will send you their specific letters/photos in a separate email. Below, there is a group photo of the 10 Scholars from this year and a photo of the Grade 5 students who will be taking their final exams in June, to see if they are admitted to highschool for the 2012-2013 school year. They seem a super bright bunch and I ended up donating all of my animal encyclopedias to their class along with pencil crayons, markers and a few other resources. We hope to be able to sponsor another group of students from this class towards their highschool education and so far we have money for at least three, 2012-2013 Zaza Scholars :):):) Our goal is to be back in Madagascar late June, 2012 to resume our study of infant development in lemurs and to present scholarships for the next round of Zaza Scholars. We will also be supporting the first 10 through their second year (this is already covered through your generous donations), assuming they keep up their grades and continue to take part in our monthly meetings in Anevoka 🙂 I ended up purchasing most of the actual school supplies for them (using their scholarship money) because you can’t actually get these things anywhere near the village, and they received cash for things like school fees, uniforms, room & board etc. It still blows my mind that $100 allows a kid to go to highschool for a year (room & board and all!!!)
Overall, we are absolutely overjoyed at the support and encouragement we have received from people all over the world towards this project. It makes us feel SO good to be able to be the conduit channels of goodness from all over the world into a tiny, very poor village bordering a rainforest in Madagascar. I absolutely glow head to toe when I shake hands with a child who is getting to go to highschool thanks to our friends and family. I think I glow because this project makes me realize that ” with all it’s sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world”. At our last meeting, the kids brought us bananas and dried beans as gifts of appreciation. The elders of the village made us traditional hats.
Smiles and heartfelt thanks to you from all of us,
Best wishes for 2012!