Madagascar presidential elections offer hope

A lot has transpired on the island nation of Madagascar since 2008. That’s when 24 students in the Madagascar Presidential Scholars Program graduated from Abilene Christian University, anticipating roles in the government Marc Ravalomanana had formed in 2002 to lead their homeland to brighter days, or to use his considerable influence to secure careers in the private […]


Home again

The remaining two flights are uneventful, thankfully, and it’s 2:30 a.m. Tuesday when we land at DFW International Airport. Dr. Strader and I keep each other awake on the drive home back to Abilene, arriving about 5:30 a.m. I spend most of Tuesday sleeping. Upon returning to the office, I am amazed at the number […]

Category: Madagascar


Lemur of the Day: Tuesday

Category: Madagascar


The doctor is, uh, not in

[Monday] Dr. Jerry Strader, pictured here in happier times, became the third victim of intestinal drama on Sunday afternoon – the day we left Madagascar. He had gone to a nearby church and then to meet with Malagasy Scouting leaders – one of his chief objectives for this trip. A longtime Scouting leader (and former […]

Category: Madagascar


Lemur of the Day: Monday

And this is also about how close we had to stand next to our hot, sweaty, tired, fellow travelers for three hours in the Paris airport.

Category: Madagascar


De Mess at de Gaulle

[Monday] Upon entering the lower level of the terminal where we we need to secure our boarding passes, we find a large crowd of unhappy people who have been standing for two hours in the non-air-conditioned entryway while French security cleared the terminal because of an unattended piece of luggage. Babies and children are restless […]

Category: Madagascar


The long ride home

[Sunday] We spend the afternoon and early evening re-packing, say our “good-byes” and head to the airport at 9:30 p.m. to begin the trek home. Joe Powell is delighted to discover his long-lost suitcase at the airport as he prepares to be ticketed for the Air France flight. It takes several hours to wait in […]

Category: Madagascar


Presidential Palace

[Sunday afternoon] Ninety minutes of walking later, we ride by motorcade (and a lot slower, thankfully) to Iavoloha, where we are eager to visit the Presidential Palace – Madagascar’s version of the U.S. White House. It too, is white, built by Madagascar’s previous president in the 1970s, thanks to North Korean funding. It is spectacular, […]

Category: Madagascar


Village tour

[Sunday] After church, we are greeted outside by the mayor of the village, who invites us to tour the neighborhood of houses linked by narrow passages and foot-paths where chickens cross and children play. No doubt Ravalomanana’s close connection to this tiny community of his boyhood roots has colored his resolve to help lead his […]

Category: Madagascar


The president’s church

[Sunday] An hour after leaving the hotel, we arrive at the red-brick church building atop a mountain offering spectacular views of the countryside. The narrow road up the mountain has new blacktop, hairpin turns and no guardrails for our going-too-fast-for-comfort motorcade. The quaint house of worship is known as “the president’s church” in part because […]

Category: Madagascar

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