Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yet another day in Tana

Tana is a city of 2 million plus people and a zillion vehicles, yet there are no stop lights. At some of the busier intersections there are officials directing traffic. Earlier today two such officials instructed 1) our driver and 2) a man on a scooter to cross the complicated 5-way round about intersection simultaneously. So, we were then involved in an MVA.

I never did learn the man on the scooter's name, but I will refer to him as MVA from here on out. MVA ended up perpendicular to the front of our SUV and the impact knocked him and then his scooter to the road. Our vehicle impacted with his upper body, and his opposite hip impacted with the road. The scooter slid under the SUV, but just barely. MVA was able to get up, but was in a lot of pain. The police wrote a receipt (which of course was stamped) for the MVA's scooter and we all piled in to go to the hospital. It is a 15-ish minute drive across town with super bumpy impossible roads, completely congested traffic, thousands of scooters/people/dogs/chickens/gendarme's with AK-47s, and of course, no stop lights.

We got to the hospital and waited. MVA was examined and X-rayed. Luckily there was no internal damage, including broken bones. He was given a prescription for topical anesthetic and some sort of pain killer.

Next, we all rode over to the Tsimbazaza Zoo (15 minutes away) to pick up another vehicle and then all the way back to the scene of the accident (30 min away) to pick up MVA's scooter. We were planning to help load the scooter into vehicle number 2, but it was a bit too sketchy an area for us (vazah) to be getting out of the car. We were right near the mouth of one of Tana's two tunnels, which are notoriously dangerous for both Malagasy and Vazah alike. MVA and his scooter made it into vehicle number 2, where we parted ways.

Through a translator, MVA apologised to us (vazah) rather profusely and thanked us repeatedly for our time, which made me feel horrible. Foreigners are placed on such a pedestal in Madagascar that everyone involved was most worried about us being inconvenienced. The man was plowed over by a 6000lb vehicle, yet was sorry to of taken our time.

On another note.... WE GOT VISAS!!!!


  1. Perhaps MVA can go with you to Tsimanapetsotsa and be your research assistant. He sounds very resilient, which as you know, one must be in the field. Imagine the adventure that awaits you now that you have your actual visa!! Did they simply pardon the fact that you didn't have a police report from Canada??


  2. Yikes! Poor guy.
    I really think you should be a writer, you can make anything sound funny / interesting:)
    Sure miss you....