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This post is maybe Afrigadget-able :) Yes, people from Africa are amazingly resourceful, they can always create new nice items really useful for everyday life with something that others prefer to throw in the trash bins.

Saturday, just in front of my bus stop in Ambodifilao, I saw a man selling bases for pots which I really need for my new home. While coming nearer, I got immediately an idea. Why don’t I blog about this? I asked if the man didn’t mind and he nicely agreed.

Hery was his name. He was making a candlestick when I was talking to him.  Next to Hery, on the ground, laid a cloth where several items were diplayed: candlesticks, bases for pots, bases for irons, coffee strainers.

The raw material is the iron which is used as a embeddings of second-hand-clothes packs. And the  tools: a nipper and creativity. 7 minutes are enough to make a candlestick, 10 to 15 minutes for other items.

After beeing a jobless, he had learnt this job from a friend and practices for three years now. He moves a lot and doesn’t have a permanent place for selling. This day, he has stopped in Ambodifilao because “I felt a little bit tired so I wanted to take a rest. Plus, the streets are kind of crowded over here so, we never know… this may be good for my business“, Hery said.

Enjoy the video :)

My husband and I had recently lived in Andoharanofotsy, 12 km in the South of Antananarivo. It’s quite far from our offices where we had to leave home at 6 am and arrived back at around 8  or 8.30 p.m. This didn’t let us have much time to prepare foods cuz we were always too tired. We then were attracted by this little shop selling “Vary amin’anana sy kitoza”. That’s a typically Malagasy food; a mixture of rice and anana (difficult to explain in English if you guys can help :) ) some of my friends call it grass some other green vegetables, dictionnaries online said there’s no translation for brède French – that we eat with smoked beef. Yammeee!

Last Friday, I was on leave and then decided to make a short video about this. Mrs Raharimalala was so enthousiatic about the report. After selling the same thing in Isotry and Ambohimanarina, with her family, they have moved in Andoharanofotsy 20 years ago. Regulars, mainly taxi be drivers and conductors, early in the morning, come and eat there. Taxi brousse drivers and travelers from Antsirabe or Ambatolampy also stop by. Saturday is the busiest day.

The Vary amin’anana sy kitoza is available from 4 a.m to around 9 p.m 24/7.  Guess what? Mrs Raharimalala cooks around 40 kilos of rice and 30 kilos of beef everyday.

Enjoy the video!

During my stay in Antsirabe, I had the opportunity to visit a little workshop named “Garage Vony”, a rickshaw manufacturer.

Since 2003, rickshaw as a mean of transport has been considered as not respecting human rights. So the Commune of Antsirabe launched the “cyclopousse” – a rickshaw pulled by a bike -, and the taxi “Kinga”. Yet, “traditional” rickshaws are the mainly taken by the Antsirabe citizens. A reason why I was interested in visiting a rickshaw manufacturer.

I tell you, everything I saw in this Garage Vony amazed me. The little workshop was a mess :D because everything was made in it… I mean EVERYTHING (well… almost) even the wheels,  the screws, the welding…

Enjoy the pics ;)

The couple, Emile and Vony are the owners of the workshop, they prefer to call it Garage since rickshaws are mean of transport in Antsirabe. They started this business in 1990. Emile’s parents were carts manufacturers in the beginning. Then, Emile, a self made man,  took over from his parents, and began to make rickshaws.

This “Garage”, with 6 workers – all relatives – (including Emile and Vony), can sell around 10 rickshaws per month. A rickshaw costs Ariary 180,000. They mostly make rickshaws for customers outside Antsirabe since the market there had been closed by the Commune since 2004. During my visit, they were contracting for the Red Cross. 24 rickshaws will be distributed in some cut-off areas to transport sick people to the health center (there is no hospital).

They mostly make rickshaws for customers outside Antsirabe since the market there had been closed by the Commune since 2004.

As I mentioned earlier, the Commune has decided to launch the cyclopousse and the taxi Kinga in order to  eradicate the traditional rickshaws which show image of slavery. Since 2003, each rickshaw must have a registration number, have a license, pay taxes and the driver must pass an exam of the Highway Code. No more licenses nor registration numbers were delivered by the end of 2004 which explains that only a few people still buy new rickshaws. These few customers come to Garage Vony because their rickshaw needs some repairs or is completely ruined so they need a new one but will keep the same registration number and license.

Now, the main customers, most of the time  individuals  or hotel owners, of the Garage come from Antananarivo, Farafangana, other places but Antsirabe. The family can not save much money as before but have only enough to buy basic needs. Vony sincerely hopes that this market in Antsirabe will open again.

Want a lil ride, Gilbert? :D

Want a lil ride, Gilbert? :D

 I was… uh… AM among the people who dislikes taking a rickshaw ride because I sincerely believe it is inhuman. Then I met Gilbert, a rickshaw driver, who explained that he really enjoys his job and without passengers he would come back home in the evening with nothing for his family. “This job made me strong and stay young (… laughs… ) because of the physical efforts. I can’t find a better job than being a rickshaw driver”, says Gilbert.  Unluckily, some of his “friends” could not get registration number nor license and now, became smugglers.

 

 

We never know, you may be interested in contacting Garage Vony for another report or for ordering a new rickshaw. Here is the adress: Ivory Lot 17 A 116 C Antsirabe I. You can also call the number            +261 32 49 643 34        . You will see, they are really nice and are doing great work.

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