All I knew about Madagascar was that it had lemurs and that it was far away. Then one day I went to an island in the South Pacific and met a missionary nun from Madagascar. Thanks to her and her family, a few months later, in the summer of 2009, I was on my way to this mysterious island.
I had heard that the first impression most people have of Madagascar is the pervasive poverty. My first impression was very different. I saw a profound presence of life. Life in all its roughness, life in full swing despite all the difficulties. I saw mothers, exposed to the scorching midday sun, selling beans and rice on the street to provide a modest dinner for their daughters. I saw fathers working in improvised workshops on the side of the road to earn money for their sons’ school fees. Poverty is the state of things, but I saw life budding … for where else is life more present than where it must use most of its strength to sustain itself?
I spent a month and a half in Madagascar … I experienced unique events, met unique people and ate unique food. But above all, as in the Pacific, I am grateful that I could be a “part of the community” and not just another “vazaha” - a white foreigner. We had a lot of fun … Night showers with buckets under a glowing full moon at the edge of the rainforest, the barefoot walk across rice paddies to waterfalls safely hidden in the jungle on the other side of the valley, endless hours in the taxi-brousse and even more endless savannah around Ihosy, Sunset and magical night in the baobab avenue, surreal peace and tranquility in the Benedictine monastery high in the mountains of Ankazobe, evening with the fishermen on the beach in Toamasina, rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, rice for dinner, rice water to drink. … and if anything is certain, it is that this was not my last trip to Madagascar.
Malagasy is a complicated and expressive, but also extremely beautiful language. As I gradually learned it, I created my personal Malagasy dictionary, which is the first comprehensive dictionary of this language in Czech. To complete it, I also made several hundred pronunciation recordings with native speakers. I am happy to share my work with you on this website.