Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Princess for a Day or Living Doll???

I could not resist it. Not long ago there was an advertisement on the American School notice board asking for girls to pose in Barbie dresses for a catalogue. Payment in kind...in dresses! I figured it is every girls dream. It was mine when I was her age.

Barbie Princess for a Day
Madagascar has a relatively well developed textile sector, and some big French brands have factories here. One such factory manufactures high quality, branded children's dress up costumes for Carnival, Halloween or just for fun. The creme de la creme is a Pink Barbie Dress with lots and lots of sparkles and a hoop skirt. After a casting session Soleine was selected and today was the big day. A little bit of make up, hair in curls, pretty slippers and she was ready to be Barbie princess for a day.

No-hair-extensions pledge
It was fun but I could not help thinking of that movie Living Dolls, showing the lengths to which some parents will go to ensure that children win these horrific beauty pageant. So I hereby pledge: I WILL NEVER SUBJECT MY DAUGHTER TO HEAVY MAKE UP, FAKE TEETH OR TANS, HAIR EXTENSTIONS, SHAVED LEGS OR PLASTIC SURGERY ! - yes it happens at the age of seven)....
until she's twelve and probably will want all those herself ... ;-)

A little touch of Make Up

Hair in the Curl

Et voila, Barbie princess for a day

To see the end results you will have to go to the toy store some time later this year.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not a Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's day is usually a day of surprises. Well, so was this year's 14 of February in Madagascar, but not happy surprises. In stead of postcards with hearts and roses and lovely-dovey SMS'es we got the following messages:

Monday 13 February 2012

4:46 PM: From French Consulat: Strong wind and rainfall, French schools closed.
4:50 PM: Airport closed until further notice.
5:07 PM: From American Embassy: Embassy Closed tomorrow. Stock up on supplies.
6:12 PM: American School Closed, everyone advised to stay home.
6:35 PM: Cyclone will hit at 3 AM with 275 km wind speeds on north east coast, more than 200 mm rainfall
9:33 PM: From Malagasy government (better late than never!): Imminent Danger. All establishments in Tana closed by decreed.

Tuesday 14 February 2012, 8:35 PM
Happy Valentines Madagascar. Candle light dinner for everyone because no electricity, no Intenet either. Very strong winds, and a lot of rain, but thank goodness not too much damage in Tana.

Personally I was not in Tana but in the field some 400 km inland from the coast. I did get a little nervous of all those messages, but in the end it was not too bad where we were. Here's some action pictures I took.

Tree falling on road sign (one of the few left in the country)

Oops! There goes a roof. sheet.

Thursday 16 February 8:30 PM: Internet is back on. The sad balance of Giovanna is 19 dead and 17.000 affected. Many rice paddy fields or inondated and crops destroyed. A lot of trees, already scarce in this country, did not survive. Nor did some telephone poles, houses, rooft tops, publicity signs and bus shelters. 

Giovanna, I wish you a very unhappy Valentine's day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ewe..and Frenglish

It goes without saying that I am very proud of our trilingual daughter Soleine. She speaks - in order of importance - English, French and Dutch. We're equally proud of Antoine who is now studying at the American School of Antanananivo where every single subject is in English. Coming from Belgian Fench-speaking country-side catholic school, the contrast could not have been bigger. For a guy who has never spoken English during more than an hour, and had not written more than a few lines, he now has to write essays in English about Jane Eyre and Colonial Trading posts in America.

But when you're children are starting to correct you....hmmmm that is different kind of feeling. Last night Soleine corrected my French! We then practized home work spelling words and the word 'ewe' came up. "Eweeee, I said, as in..Eeks, Yukkie, as I believed that is what it meant.

'It's a female sheep mama', Soleine said. 'Duh'

Soleine and Antoine in Nosy Be 2CV last year

Personally I find myself speaking way too much Frenglish. I can start a sentence in English and finish it in French. Sometimes I even pronounce English words with a french accent! Ai Ai.

So when I saw this list I had to smile...

Ail ou radis? Are you ready?
Débile - The bill
Mords mon nez - More money
Qu'on gratte tous les jeunes! - Congratulations!
Marie qui s'masse - Merry Christmas
Oui Arlette -We are late 
Il se pique Germaine - He speaks German 
Youssef vole ma femme au lit - You saved all my family
Sale teint de pépère - Salt and pepper
Six tonnes de chair - Sit on the chair
Dix nourrices raidies - Dinner is ready
Les slips tout gais serrent - Let's sleep together 
Âme coquine - I'm cooking
Deux bouts de chair - The butcher
Varices de grosseur - Where is the grocer?