Leaving Manchester

Greetings or ‘Manaonu’ from Madagascar! We’ve made it as far as the Indian Ocean, and have a few days in the small town of Mahanoro before heading into the isloated district of Marolambo where our real work starts. The cyber cafe I’m writing from is a wooden hut on stilts, surrounded by chickens, children and dubious smells. Needless to say the connection isnt brilliant, the keyboard is pretty dodgy, and we want a stroll along the beach before the sun sets ever-so-quicklily, so heres a brief bringing of things up to speed.

The last couple of weeks in Manchester were completely manic. Finalising Madagascar came at the same time as all of the end-of-year activities – final exams, moving house, goodbyes, barbeques, parties and cricket matches which couldnt be missed. Around this we had to make sure all plans were watertight (or thereabouts). For me sorting out our methodology this included ordering urine filtration kits from South Africa, antigen testing kits from Seattle, and sending pots of staining chemicals to Madagascar via DHL special delivery, and I lost track of the host of other logistics that Hannah Steve and Anthony had to sort, from finalising permits, to working out where we could find a generator to lug around with us once in situ.

Finally the day came and we set off from Didsbury on Monday 8th June, leaving a post-parklife and pangaea Manchester.

My sister Ellie came to see us off at Heathrow, surrounded by our 9 enormous bags of luggage (looking like silk-wrapped hobbits in their protective clingfilm packing to avoid being tampered with enroute in Nairobi).

Very excited, pretty nervous, fairly confident we’d forgotten something, but also elated with the realisation that there was nothing more to could do until we landed, we had a last Cafe Nero chai latte before boarding the plane for the Land of the Lemurs.

Ciao for now, James

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