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Mud, mangroves and new Leapers in Madagascar - Ellie Harland

Week 4 is drawing to a close which presents mixed feelings as the Marine Team prepare to move on to our next projects - community and forest. We also welcomed our 3 new Leapers: Cor, Juliette and Daisy & were reunited with the Island Outreach group.

For some people, namely the 6 weekers, there is little time left so Jess and Tilly are preparing to go out on a high by spending a leisurely weekend at Nosy Sakatia.

Our time here has definitely flown by following our first week and it’s easy to forget that soon we will have less time remaining than what has been. We have already had many incredible experiences such as planting 3000 Mangrove plants (trees that provide natural protection against cyclones) outside Hell-Ville in knee deep swamp mud followed by a mud race which got us all filthy, but some more than others such as Arthur who decided to do a belly slide. However, Cressie, who had opted to wear a white t-shirt on this particular day resisted hugs from our muddy teammates.

Another highlight so far was pre-Island Outreach where we spent the morning at a school near Hell-Ville for the opening of a new classroom. We all participated in a football match which dissolved into a game of tag and tickling. We were severely outnumbered as there were about 180 children and we were burned, sweaty and exhausted by the end but it was still great fun. Many of us took part in the Church Walk that afternoon, which I highly recommend, where we spent the night off camp and were presented with an incredible view from the highest point on Nosy Komba, plus freshly made Lemon juice from the Juice Bar, a night walk and an evening meal.

Here at camp on a weekly basis we like to recognise achievements and that is why Ben, Arthur and Cressie have had the privilege of being Dick of the Week in Marine, and each was well deserved. Hettie was also volunteer of the week, although this is arguably because she is the loudest person here, someone has to be.

If you do decide to come to Madagascar, take advantage of the weekend trips such as those to Nosy Sakatia, Ankorana, Lokobe National Park, Nosy Iranja etc. Some of these are on the Island Outreach but they are worth visiting more than once.

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