Madagascan Magic: Frontier’s Community and Conservationist Projects

 260 total views

During the summer, I dedicated two months of my time in Nosy Be, Madagascar. Here, I worked through a company known as ‘Frontier’, and my role was to work as a field journalist. This entailed a set of experiences across the corporation’s three central projects:  teaching and community, forest conservation, and marine conservation. From this, I was to produce social media and blog posts in order to aid promotion of Frontier’s ongoing efforts, hopefully raising awareness about the current environmental states and issues the Madagascan teams out there were having to face day-in, day-out.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank
Credit to Ruth Wallbank

Whilst this cause for concern and how to create a certain attentiveness to it was my official role, it also meant I spent an entire two months attached to my trusty camera, attempting to capture the vibrant and rich culture around me, as thoroughly as possible. A lot of the photographs I generated were for social media purposes only: images designed with the sole purpose of clasping the surveillance of Instagram users. However, some of the images I did capture, I kept for me, and now I thought it time to share some.

Trying to cram a very incredible couple of months, having met some of the most amazing people, into a simple dialogue, is something I cannot imitate – and so I will allow the photos to do some of the talking for me.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank
Credit to Ruth Wallbank

Upon my first day in Madagascar, I tagged along with some of the teachers heading to the local school. A group of us were trying to teach the kids basketball, but the hoops became a little problematic in terms of their height contrast to the six-year-olds. Now having to compromise, we decided to just have some fun. I couldn’t help but notice the significance of the shadows in the shots from this particular day, specifically those that had cast beneath the hoops and of the children walking along their edges and borders.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank

Now, Divana. Divana was one of the orphans at the local, Sainte Maria institute. She was stunned by the camera, fascinated by her image on the screen. Her footsteps followed me around on every visit I paid, refusing to smile until her picture had been taken for the one-hundredth time. One of my favourite portraits of her is the moment I captured as she reached through a chair to grab my hand. It’s those simple things that made me smile.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank

Within my stay on the island, I was lucky enough to get the chance to experience the Somaroho Festival. It’s one of those weekends where the whole of the local town, Hell-ville, becomes ignited with exuberant, energetic colour and life. A parade promenaded from one side of town to the other, with a celebratory party at the docks to finish. Everyone was fully clad in multicolour, all of us dancing for six hours straight in the midday heat. Some of the dancers sported the most elaborate dresses and masks; just one of the many extravagancies that made the weekend so memorable.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank
Credit to Ruth Wallbank
Credit to Ruth Wallbank

As part of Frontier’s marine conservation project, I met a local fisherman who ran the boat for us. His name was Viktor. Viktor lived in the village adjacent to our camp, placed at the edge of the national park sector of the rainforest. His character was humble and friendly, always trying to learn as much English as he possibly could. Even when we weren’t diving, Viktor was always busy fixing nets, fishing, and simply making his living. On one of the evenings, I took a series of shots when the tide was out. Viktor was sat in the mangrove sludge repairing nets: an effortless reminder of a simpler life.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank

And could I have done an article about Madagascar justice without mentioning their famed Lemurs? Some of my most-loved photos are those I took of these beautifully, fluffy mammals, looking as though they’re having a deep moment of contemplation amongst the trees. Nosy Be is home to three of the Lemur species, one being the black lemur; the only nonnocturnal lemur there is. As you can imagine, this state of being was fairly advantageous to the likes of us who like to get a good shot in the day time.

Credit to Ruth Wallbank
Ruth-Anne Walbank

My name is Ruth, and I'm the Editor of SCAN for 2019-20. I have been the Arts and Culture Editor in 2018-19, and the Deputy Arts and Culture Editor before that. I've written over 80 articles for SCAN across a variety of sections.
If you have any questions about the newspaper, feel free to message me!

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from