Monday, January 13, 2014

Cheers, Proost, Sante and SKOL!

Having a blog is fun.

I enjoy it when unknown people contact me with questions or requests. Over the years I've been asked to participate in TV programs, host travelers or send items. Mostly common ones like post cards but also more unusual ones such as tea bag labels and once, really, a bat skeleton. When I can, I happily grant the request, despite logistical challenges.

Post cards are not difficult to buy, but stamps!? I don't even know where the post office is here in Tana, after three years! Neither did I know there are so many we sites by post card collectors. I imagine it to be fun to complete a collection with an exotic card from far-away Madagascar - like this one I sent

Post cards around the globe

A while ago an email of a certain Wilbur reached my inbox. Explaining how he had built up an impressive collection of  beer cans (empty) over the years. And that he would love to add a specimen from Madagascar. Three Horse Beer (THB) is the most classical beer here, and recently we have Madagascar-brewed SKOL beer (our favorite).

I packed the two empty cans with bubble wrap and send them off with a traveling friend. The cans went from Tana to Paris, from Paris to Washington and from Washington to ... Brazil.

Wilbur had over 8,000 beer cans from 91 countries. Now 92!

Proudly showing his Mada beer cans in front of  Oliveira Bridge in Sao Paulo
Anyone willing to send an exotic beer can to Wilbur, contact me.


  1. Hello Susanne! I found your Blog some weeks ago and love to read new postings from you!
    My husband is from Madagascar, but we are living in Austria with our kids.

    So nice of you to help Wilbur, especially when you know how difficult it could be to send something from Madagscar. That reminds me on a little story: when we were on holidays 10 years ago, we sent some postcards from mahajanga and it came nearly 6 month later to our family and friends in Austria. They all thought, we didn't really send it. :D

    I'm looking forward to your next postings, really, really enjoy to read about your life in Madagascar!
    All the best to you,

  2. Once Wilbur have all beer cans from all countries, he can open a "Beer Cans Museum".

    A Malagasy Reader!

  3. Dear Susanne,

    I came across your blog in the course of my research for a television documentary series for the UK broadcaster, Channel 4. I hope you won’t mind me contacting you out of the blue.

    Given your interest in living overseas (Madagascar, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe…), I thought you might be well placed to pass on a few suggestions if I let you know a bit more about the project I’m working on...

    I work for a television production company in London, where we make a Channel 4 programme called ‘Escape to the Wild.’ It tells the remarkable and inspirational stories of British families and couples who have quit the rat race and moved overseas to live a more pared-back existence, off-the-grid, and closer to nature.

    The first series was fronted by the architectural designer and television presenter, Kevin McCloud. You will, no doubt, be able to find the four episodes and trailers on YouTube if you are curious to take a look from Madagascar. Or here’s the official UK link to the programmes from the first series:

    We’re currently gearing up to make a second series of ‘Escape to the Wild,’ so I’m looking for suitable stories and locations to feature in the programmes.

    I wondered whether you might know of any British families or couples who’ve opted to live sustainably, off-the-grid, in the places you have lived and visited? Possibly Brits working in small-scale eco-tourism or in conservation, or on sustainability projects? Even if no one comes to mind, you might be able to give me a few pointers or send me in a helpful direction. Often just spreading the word is useful because somebody might know someone, who knows someone… That tends to be how the best case studies come to light.

    Here are a few criteria we aim to meet in our search for suitable participants for the programme:
    • British family or couple
    • Quit the “rat race” or made the choice to leave behind a conventional lifestyle in the UK
    • Now live overseas
    • Have built their own home, or live in a simple structure
    • Off the beaten track or in a remote location
    • Self-sufficient in growing food, keeping chickens, catching fish etc.
    • Living “off-the-grid” (i.e. not hooked up to mains water or electricity)

    The documentaries explore the appeal of escaping the daily grind in favour of a more sustainable way of life in some of the most breath-taking places on the planet. In the first series, our presenter experienced the new lives of British families who’ve built their own home in the jungle of southern Belize, beside a volcano in Chile, on a tropical island in the South Pacific (in Tonga), and in subarctic Sweden. Think along the lines of: homes crafted from local materials (an earthbag roundhouse, a clifftop home built from beach rocks, a log cabin); growing edible plants, fruits, and vegetables; fishing for supper, harnessing renewable energies, collecting rainwater… a world away from electricity pylons, highways, and shopping malls.

    The tone of the series is insightful and aspirational, and the families with whom we filmed last year found it to be a very positive experience.

    I shall be more than happy to answer any questions (or send our FAQs), should you – or someone you know – simply wish to find out a bit more information, without any pressure to be involved further.

    Many thanks for any suggestions you can share.

    Best regards,