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Thursday, August 26, 2010

25th Stop - Antananarivo, Madagascar

It seems as though the length and extent of my posts are a good indication about the quality of the destination, people, and experience. Madagascar is no exception to this rule. It’s really been a fantastic time, much more than I could have ever hoped for.

I had a nice long drive back to Tana, sitting next to a young girl who was vomiting every 45 minutes or so. No worries though; she had a stash of plastic bags and kept things rather clean.

I went back to Paul’s place for one more night. He had a prior engagement and ended up not coming home, so I went to bed early to get some sleep before the training I was giving the next day.

Wednesday was a great day. I trained five colleagues on how to use Wordfast Pro at a beautiful venue overlooking the entire city. This venue was a Catholic seminary and one of my trainees pointed out that the church has some of the best property in the city.

Wordfast trainees
After the training, I met up with Paul and his colleague Cédric for dinner at the Shakamanga restaurant downtown. Cédric has been living in Mada for two years now, working as a graphic designer for his brother’s IT business. He’ll stay at least another year before trying to work in the United States. Interestingly, Cédric’s mom used to be a member of the Junior Chamber in France; I’m glad I got a chance to tell him more about the association and hope he hooks up with some of the great people I met last week.

Dera came and picked me up at the restaurant, we grabbed my things at Paul’s, and then went back to Valérie and Dera’s home. Dera shared some photos and videos with me of his trip to Mauritius, and we enjoyed some nice scotch from his exceptional collection. We also talked about future business opportunities and parenthood. Thanks again Dera for the interesting conversation!

I got up early the next morning to have breakfast with Dera before he left for work, then I went with Valérie to her office for a couple of hours. Valérie has an off-shore call center called Ma Dactylo that offers solutions for data entry, accounting, administrative assistance, hotline support, and sales calls. Feel free to contact her on my behalf if you need any of these services!

View from the seminary
We both finished up some work, spoke to Fred in New Zealand on Skype about surfing when I'm out there in November, and then went for lunch with some of Valérie’s friends. It was very interesting to meet and discuss politics with a judge and Hérisoa, a JCI Senator and advisor to the Minister of Finance. Unfortunately, it was getting late and I had a plane to catch, so we ate and ran to the airport. Got there just in time!

Thanks to all the JCI members that met up with me. Another big thanks to Paul, Dera, and Valérie for hosting me a few days during my stay in Tana. Thanks also to Wordfast who will be buying a bednet for every trainee I train during the trip. That makes 8 bednets altogether, 8 more families protected from malaria for the next 5 years. Thanks to all of you and best of luck until we meet again!

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