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DRASTIC CHANGE

It was one of those long tiring days. I guess that I should be use to it. I leave my home every morning at 6 am to go to work. It’s tough to work for a textile company; especially when you didn’t finish school. So you have to accept any job they gave you. My parents and I lived in an isolated countryside. To go to the nearest market; we had to walk for hours on a dirt road. When my parents saw that I could read and write a little; they told me to stop and help them out with the farming. I didn’t have a choice. Later on I met my husband. During that time; he helped his boss who had a small truck to load in goods. It was love at first sight. He promised me that he’ll take me far away from this deserted place if I followed him. I did accept. So I left my parents at an early age. When we moved into town, we didn’t have a luxurious home. It was just a two roomed place and the kitchen and toilet was outside. I had to help my husband earn our daily bread. That’d why I decided to apply for a job in a textile company. I guess I was lucky that I got hired right away. I didn’t want to be someone’s housekeeper. They make you work real hard and hardly give you food to eat. At my job now; I’m in the “Pressing section”. You stand there during the entire day just ironing. I always have to bring a bottle of water from home to drink when it gets too hot. Some of my co workers just pass out. They’re probably too exhausted or it’s the heat they can’t support. I wish I could bring my own lunch from home but I don’t want to be different from the others. Everyone eats lunch there. The food is terrible. Some say that the cooks mix baking soda in the rice when they cook it to make it more. Often I get heart burns.

My husband runs in the house breathlessly: “Put your shoes on and let’s go!”

I obeyed not having a clue where we were heading to.

“Where is our son?” I asked him; while trying to catch up with his pace.

“He’s still with my mother. Hurry up!”

We got to a place where there was a crowd of people already there. It was pitch dark and cold. Some guys were prying a department store doors open. I was shocked. People were over excited and pushing each other to enter it. My legs became weak.

“Noro! Get in before everyone gets the good things!” my husband yelled.

When we got inside it was horrifying seeing people run everywhere and steal all they can. Some took off their own clothes and put on new ones. Others brought a plastic bag with them.

“Woman, why are you just standing there? If you’re not going to take anything. Get out of my way then.” a man said; pushing her aside. I didn’t know where my husband had disappeared. It was a total chaos. I was running up every floor to search for him; but no luck. I heard someone downstairs shouting: “Get out! Get out! The store is burning down”. That’s when I really panicked. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. The smoke was blinding me. I hardly could breathe. The place was falling apart. I heard screams from all directions. I thought that day I was going to be burned alive. My son came to my mind. I don’t want him to be an orphan. I tried to drag myself out. Some parts of my clothes were on fire. When I reached the entrance door; I could see the people trying to open it. It was blocked. I know I had to find another way out. I got up as fast as I can and went back upstairs. Some of the stairs were already crumbling but I didn’t care. I finally reached the second floor where I saw a gap big enough for me to squeeze through. All I wanted is to get out of this building. I fell and hit the hard ground. There were more screaming.

I’m not sure for how many days I was unconscious. I was relieved that I was still alive but the hospital bill worried me more. My mother in law was next to my bed with my son.

“Where is Terry?” I asked her. She just bursted out crying.

“He couldn’t come out the building. He was stuck there with the others who were burned alive.”

At that time I was devastated; thinking about what would become of us?

Weeks passed and I decided to go back to work. I still wasn’t strong enough. My boss noticed that too.

“Look! I know what you’ve been through. I’m sorry that you lost your husband. We have a lot of work now. You can hardly iron more than 10 clothes. I want you to leave right now. As you know that time is money. I have no time to waste.” The boss hollered.

I didn’t want to cry in front of him. I took my bottle of water and followed him to his office. He gave me my salary just for two weeks. I didn’t know what to do. It has been awhile that I couldn’t even pay our house rent.

My mother in law didn’t want anything to do with us since her son died. I wanted to go back home to my parents. I knew if we did; we’ll just be a burden to them.

As I walked in the street; I couldn’t hold my head high anymore. I didn’t even see the little dried tomatoes that I bought rolled out my bag. There’s a nice lady behind me who picked it up for me.

“Nowadays; people don’t smile anymore. This political crisis really destroyed each home.  Some parents can’t send their children to school. Everything you buy in the market is expensive. Some just eats rice by itself. They can’t even afford to buy leafy greens to eat with it.” The woman said sighing.

“Madam, can you please help me. My son and I don’t have a place to stay. My husband died in the terrible fire at the department store.” Noro pleaded; tears falling down her face.

“That’s kind of difficult because I don’t even know you.” The woman replied.

“I’ll work for you as maid.”

“That won’t be possible. I already have one.”

“Or I can wash your laundry. Just anything to have a home for us. I don’t want my son to live on the street.” Noro told the woman.

“Look what I can do for you. I have this little place. Actually; it’s where my pigs used to stay. I had to sell them all because of this crisis. You have two choices. You can stay in my pigpen or out in the street. Don’t worry you don’t have to pay any rent. I give it to you for free until now. The only condition is that you don’t bother me and my family. You find your own food.”

After several days; I went back to see the ruins of the burned building that caused the death of so many people. I brought a flower that I found in the public garden. There were other families of the victims throwing flowers into what was left of the burned department store. That’s how they paid respect to their loved ones. I kissed mine and layed it on the ground.

I can never forget the day when we moved in the pigpen. It was filthy and stank. We didn’t have any bed to sleep on. We had to use our thin old mats.

That night I layed down and thought: “Even though I didn’t have much before I had a home. Now I have nothing. The change was too sudden and cruel. I believe that I’m not the only one who is suffering because of this crisis. We never know what would occur the next day of our lives. Too many innocent lives were taken for the greed of the others. Here is the country now; sinking in the blood of its people that were killed.”

MY WORLD

Early in the morning; it was already drizzling. The kind of weather that doesn’t make you want to go outside. Late at night; is the only time there is peace in the tunnel. Even before the sunrise; people and cars are rushing through it. I couldn’t sleep well last night. I guess because the ground seemed too cold as usual. The boxes that we found in trash bins didn’t help much. We had to flatten the boxes, so everyone could have a place to sit. I leaned against Soa who was lightly snoring. I tried not to wake her and her little son 3 yrs old son Patrick up. As I got myself in a more comfortable position. It has been a longtime; since I have been with Soa. We’re not related. Us being inseparable made us close as a family. Sometimes I have this urge inside of me to call her Mama like little Patrick. But I don’t dare. She’s not my mother. Just someone who found me in a trash bin by chance when I was a baby. She told me that I was wrapped in a plastic bag; crying weakly. She didn’t know how long I was there. What surprised her that I didn’t suffocate with all that trashes on top of me. She said that I was around 6 months. During that time; she was still childless. So she took me and tried to raise me as she could. When I grew up; once I called her Mama but she got very upset and yelled at me that she wasn’t my mother. Since then I called her by her name. Sometimes I ask myself what did I do wrong to make my real mother hate me so much. That she was capable to try to kill me. I was just an innocent baby for goodness sake. There are times that I would make up stories in my mind that she’ll come back to look for me. But she never did and I know she never will. I have to quite fooling myself. It isn’t easy to face up to reality. There’s no other choice. Patrick’s eyes open slowly and he begins to fidget. I remember the time Soa was pregnant. I never figured out who was the father. She always left me alone in the tunnel while she went to do her business. I knew that I’ll be lonely more than ever; especially when the baby comes. She’ll think more about her child than me. Soa didn’t go to a hospital to give birth. She couldn’t afford that. The night; she gave birth it was only me and her. She was screaming with pain. I didn’t know how to comfort her. I saw the baby head appear. She told me to make sure that the baby doesn’t fall on the ground. She handed me a sharp broken glass. She told me to use it to cut the umbilical cord. I did as she told me. The baby was fine. Soa was weak from a lot of blood loss. She told me not to worry just take care of the baby. After a few days; she got better. We solemnly get sick from the way we live or the food we eat. We’re use to it.

Each time that I look at Patrick; there’s this jealous feeling inside of me. I have to admit it that it hurts me a lot how Soa is so affectionate to him. I know that it’s her kid. Now; she treats me like I was just a puppy that tags along. I want to be loved too. It’s tough being 12 yrs old girl and lonely. As usual Patrick wanted to be paid and attention too. He howled.

Soa is startled: “What did you do to him?”

“Nothing! He just woke up and started to cry.”

“How much did you get till now?” Soa asked.

“People just pass by and no one drops any money in the can.”

“Peta, you don’t just wait for the people to read your mind. You have to beg.” Soa told her annoyed.

Sir! Madam! Please give us money we haven’t eaten for days.” Peta begged. No one cared. People tried not to step on them. It was probably because they didn’t want their clean clothes to get dirty.

“Stay here! We’re going for a walk.” Soa said.

“I don’t want too. I’m going too.”

“Not with us; go somewhere else. You better bring back the money you get and not eat it all yourself.” Soa warned her.

Peta had no choice but to obey her. At night; it’s a jungle out here. There’s no safety for anyone; especially little girls like her. People think that bad guys don’t mess with homeless people like us. Even though we have nothing to offer them. We’re not safe. Once after midnight; the silence in the tunnel was disturbed by a group of guys. They were very rowdy and drunk. They kicked us repeatedly while we were sleeping. One guy pulled me and forced me to follow him. I was terrified and screamed. Soa hollered at them to leave me alone. She got punched in the face. The guy who was gripping my arm so hard; looked at me and said: “Do you think I want you? You stinky, dirty rag!” He threw me against the wall. I didn’t pass out. Just in terrible pain. I heard them laugh hysterically while they left. That wasn’t the first time incidents like that happened to me. It was always Soa to protect me. I’m grateful for what she has done for me. As she said that I owe her.

People don’t like to get near me because I smell bad and really filthy. I can’t help it. Here in town it’s difficult to find to water and soap to wash ourselves. The disgust look on their faces really breaks my heart. I want to shout at them and say: Don’t look and treat me like that. I’m a human being like you. I have blood circulating in me and organs like you. We came into this world the same way and we all will die one day too. The differences between us are that you have a roof over your head; good food to eat; education; money and clean. What do I have? Nothing compared to you. I live under a tunnel. I’m stepped on everyday. No one bothers to apologize. The air I inhale is pollution from the cars you have. I dig into the trash bin to survive from starving. A rotten fruit is one of the best foods we can find. You throw away your leftovers. When we find it; it’s like we found a treasure. When your clothes are torn or old ; you throw it away. We gather it and wear it again. It helps us from being cold and naked. The things you consider as garbage. We take it and cherish it for the rest of our lives.

I’d been walking for hours now with a growling stomach. I begged people to give me a piece of what they were eating. They ignored me. Or the usual answers: No! or I have nothing to give you!

I was totally exhausted and sat on the grass near a bench where there was two girls talking. They were complaining about their parents not giving them allowances to buy clothes. Not having enough money to watch the concert during the weekend.

I sighed and thought to myself that everyone has their own problems and worries. It was getting dark and everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get home. For me; I don’t have anything special waiting for me at home. No hot meal nor a cozy bed nor a television show that I don’t want to miss; at home. Tonight will be like one of those other nights that I would go to sleep with an empty stomach. Hours passed but Soa and her son didn’t come back yet. I didn’t worry about them. Soa knows how to take care of herself. All I have is my dreams to create a world that I know will never exist for me. I dream at night and face reality in the morning.

Days, weeks; and months passed. Soa and little Patrick never showed up again. Peta looked around everywhere but couldn’t find them. She became a loner in a cruel world where you have to fight for survival. She had no one to lean on too but herself. “That’s my world which differs from yours!”

THE CURSED

Ndimby was the eldest of his 8 siblings and also the dumbest and unluckiest one. The others had the chance to finish their studies until the end. Despite of his laziness, Ndimby couldn’t even finish primary school. So he stayed illiterate compared to his siblings. He always considered school as a waste of time and energy. He’d rather hang out with his jobless and good for nothing friends. They gambled outside until dark. If gambling made him rich, he didn’t live with his old worned out parents in a shack. Ndimby was too stubborn and disrespectful even to his parents.

“Where did you put my gold ring?” his mom hollered.

“How am I suppose to know? It’s your stuff!” he yelled back.

“It didn’t just disappear in thin air or walked out the door by itself. Someone stole it and it’s you. No one else is capable to do that except you!! It’s not your first time to steal from your own home!” she said furiously.

“I sold it because I needed money. I don’t want to be broke in front of my friends.”

“How could you! That ring was a family heirloom. Can’t you earn money decently like the others? Instead of stealing from your own family. I want it back now!”

“Well, it’s too late. I’d already spent all the money. I need more!” Ndimby complained.

“Unbelievable! I break my back everyday washing people’s laundry. So I can put bread on the table. We took care of you, fed you, put a roof over your head. This is how you thank us by making our life miserable. I had enough get out of this house, right now!!”

Ndimby laughed hysterically and spitted on the floor: “Darn it woman! Who do you think would like to live in this rotten hut!” he yelled.

“How dare you disrespect me! If you were still little I gave you a good spanking. I don’t want to see your face around here anymore. We disown you as our son. You caused your father’s serious heart problem. You leave this house without our blessings. I curse you that you’ll live a misfortunate life. Nothing but misery and failure.”

“Your curse won’t have an effect on me. You’re just wasting your breath. And also wasting my time. I’m glad to leave this dump and explore this wonderful world. ”

“Ndimby , my heartaches and my tears are endless. I swear that all my sorrow will linger over your head like a black cloud that will darken your life.” his mother sobbed.

“Cry as much as you want and I don’t care even if you drown  in your tears. I’m leaving!”Ndimby said leaving his despaired mother.

As weeks passed, Ndimby couldn’t find a place to stay and hardly ate at all. One day he was starved and roamed through the woods weak of hunger. He spotted a tiny house.

“No one seems to be home. I’m lucky today.”

He broke in the house and rummaged everywhere. He found a box that had a very thick golden necklace.

“This must cost a fortune. Mom’s ring was worthless compared to this necklace.”

He put it on while admiring himself in the mirror.

“I’m exhausted , I’d better get out of here before I get caught.”

When he reached for the door, the golden necklace turned into a huge snake around his neck. Shocked, he couldn’t move. It was choking him to death, while suddenly the door flew open.

“I have an unexpected visitor. It seems that you need help. Who told you to try to steal from me.” the woman said laughing.

“You, witch! Take this horrible thing off me, before I choke to death!” Ndimby pleaded.

‘Not yet. You’re were very stupid to enter a witch’s home. You belong to me now. If you try to escape , you’ll suffer terribly. You won’t die but you’ll wish you could. Now you’re my slave and inheritance.” the witch told him.

“I want to go home!!”he wailed.

“Go home? This is your new home now! If you didn’t mistreat your parents. This had never happened.

Forgive Me!!!

In life , when we do something it’s very important to have self- control. That day i committed the biggest mistake of my life. Like most men I’m nuts crazy about 3 things in life: women, alcoholic beverages and meat. It was a Sunday afternoon, me and my beloved bottle of ” Toaka gasy” which is a strong made malagasy alcoholic drink. I didn’t really care about my family and never was there for them. I’d never entered my home sober. I enjoyed beating my wife and kids. I’d like the feeling being dominant in my life. I love also the seaside; just laying on the hot sand and gulping down the love of my life. The heat made me drunker. Everything I looked at became blurry. I noticed something approaching me from the sea. It seemed to be a very beautiful half naked lady.

” Sir, I’m very thirsty , may I please have some of your drink?” she asked me.

I gave her a good look and my bottle of joy.” I’ll give anything else except this!” the man said pointing at his bottle. But the women kept begging him to give her some. The man started losing his patience, and tried to get up. It was a bit difficult to maintain his balance and think clear.

“Shut up women , get out of that water and try to get my bottle if you can.” he yelled.

” I can’t Sir, I’m not allowed to leave the water. I don’t have a feet like you. Only to move in the sea, not on land. Please give me some.”

The man lost his temper , took his bottle and hit the woman’s head while saying:” Here it is , if you want it!!”

Her head cracked open ; blood was gushing out. The man panicked and carried her to land. The man was shocked to see that this woman was a mermaid not human. He listened to her heart, which was faint.The woman told him in a weak voice:” What’ve you done to me is unforgivable. You better listen well and follow what I say. Take me back home , but you can’t go by any means of transport except walking. Where you should bury me , it will take you 3 weeks to get there by foot. Becareful not to follow ; what I say. And when you go back home. Don’t be surprised if you’re entire family and relatives perish one by one!!”

My drunkness cleared up quick as I thought it would. I slowly picked her up and carried her on my shoulders. I left right away ; not evening telling my family where I was going. The journey wasn’t easy, and I had to go through alot of obstacles. The smell of the corpse was unbearable. The amazing part was that no one had noticed what I was bringing. After a few weeks , I finally arrived at the place, and buried the dead mermaid. There’s nothing left to do , just go back home.

Weeks passed and the mermaid’s curse did occur. All of my family and relatives died one by one without a cause. At the end I was the only one left. I tried to have girlfriends but it didn’t work. I learned my lesson in life: you need to think before reacting!!” The only thing I can do now is crouch near my family’s graves weeping. Watch my tears fall on the ground and ask them to forgive me , for my stupidness and not being a role model as a husband and father.

One Night Stand

As I lay on my bed, glaring out the window in how suddenly the weather can change. This morning , when I opened it up to let some fresh air enter my bedroom. It seemed to be such a lovely weather. The sky was blue and the sun shining so brightly. Now , all I see, is the gray sky and a downpour. “Ouch! There it goes again. Always annoying me, practically driving me out of my mind. I can’t do anything about it, now that this “thing” is a part of me now. I have to accept it as a friend even though it’s my greatest enemy. “ Ok!Ok! , I get your point , just stay still. I’ll get you something to eat later.” For a single guy like me, I already have two mouths to feed, which isn’t an easy job. I can’t work hard and earn alot like I used to because I don’t have the energy and the will anymore. I was a very skilled business man. Actually, I did my own business about selling precious gemstones. Now, I lost alot of money and almost half bankrupt . Since this incident occured, my life never been the same again . There’s no choice left then to be this “Thing’s” slave. Always making sure to satisfy it’s needs. So if I don’t it will cost me my life. I’m too young to die, even if my wonderful future already blowed up in my face. How can I forget that day, when I rosed above higher than the seventh heaven and fell down ending up at the bottom pit of hell. Yes , Damien Mino was the man on top of the world. Well-known as Mr.Good-looking, intelligent, athletic, wealthy, and famous. All of that just vanished in a wink of an eye. Retelling my story to people really worns me out. The only reason I do it is just to warn other naive fools like me.

I’m a fanatic about music, especially going to those kind of places where they play music so loud. I always go to the night clubs on the Terrific Friday. Here ,we call our Fridays that because , most people need to find a way to relax after a long and hard work days. I like sitting at the bar stool and , watching those young women trying hard to move every part of their body. What a fascinating sight. They all dress so differently. Some barely wearing clothes that can cover their intimate body parts and others trying to look modest as possible. The barmaid already knows my order, she doesn’t even bother to ask me anymore. I was there sucking in the smoky and sweaty atmosphere. It’s not good for the health , but who cares? As long as I feel happy and at home. The place was crowded, not like usual. I was looking around the place to see if I knew anyone, then suddenly my attention was caught by prettiest girl i’d ever seen in my life. Women are so beautiful and like fire. When you come to close , you might get burned up to your ashes or be able to cool them off. I mean , she was goddess with her long wavy black hair , slim body and luscious lips. What a marvel! Yes, these daughter’s of Eve. They really know how to tempt us weak men. She was sitting there on the couch, smiling at me. I couldn’t control myself. She was like a magnet.

“Hi there, my name is Damien , is there anyone sitting here?” he asked the young pretty lady.

“No, please have a seat.”She answered.

There was something about that girl. She seemed kind of distant but very charming. As for my job, I travel around alot in my country Madagascar. Vohemar is my favourite place to visit. The landscape is breathlessly amazing. The people are very nice and communicative.

“What’s your name? You look pretty young to be here.”

“People call me Aline. I’m only 18 yrs old. Are you married?”the girl asked.

“ Not for now, do you want to drink something ? ”

“No thanks, can you take me home.”she asked.

“ Already? We’re just beginning to know each other. What about if we go somewhere else?”

Aline agreed and they left the nightclub. I didn’t take Aline back to her place , right away, so we decided to go to a little hotel near by.

We were tearing each others clothes off. I never seen such a sexy naked body. My body started to tingle all over . I was so hard , that I was afraid I might hurt this girl. We layed on the bed. At my surprise , she was on top of me before I knew it.

Wow the girl was riding on me, I felt like the happiest man horse in the world. I told her to slow down, but she kept moving faster. I was so thrilled, I didn’t know what to do. What a sensation. I couldn’t move for awhile, I thought I died of pleasure.

“Take me back with you.” Aline said lying by my side.

“ Honey, I can’t . I’m not ready to get engaged. Here is some money and go back home.”

I got dressed and left the girl lying there all disappointed.

“Damien, you can’t just leave like that. My boy friend is a very jealous type. So he put a

“ Fiandry” on me . Aline yelled after him.

“Shut up, you’re just trying to scare me with that bullshit.”

“ Believe it or not , you’ll see.”she told him angrily.

After a day, I did notice that something was changing in my body. One morning, as I layed on my bed , I saw something move under the covers. I was afraid to look but I had no choice. My “ male pride” turned into a snake. Yes, the “thing” started to bite my thighs. I totally freaked out. I heard of other guys victims of these kind of things. But I never thought it would be me.

I ordered food to feed it. It took awhile for the order to come. The penisnake was getting nasty, I guess it was starved. I got dressed quickly and went to back to the nightclub, where I met the girl. Asking the guardian wasn’t a big help. He just told me that , I might find her at the market. It wasn’t really a big place , so everyone practically knew each other.

I saw her at the market holding hands with a guy.

“ You, witch!” I yelled to her.

The guy who must be her boy friend, just laughed and sayed : “ That will teach you a lesson not to mess with my girl.”

“ How much do you want? Take this gruesome thing away from me.”

“ Too late , it’s your companion for life now.” The guy said.

The girl kept silent but looked very pleased at my sorrow. I had to do something , and the first thing was to go to any “Mpimasy” to heal me. Someone at the market told me about Ramahatoko, the famous mpimasy who knows how to heal those kind of witchcraft.

The man’s house was dark and spooky. He was sitting on the floor and playing with some kinds things that look like beans and chanting something.

He just stared at me and said : I can’t help you.”

I knew what he was waiting for and I took some money out of my pocket and gave it to him.

I sat on the floor next to him, waiting for what will happen next.

“ You only have to follow what I say and you’ll be healed.”

I nodded in agreement.

“ You have to choose between these two things: give me all of your fortune. I mean everything you have. You can’t take nothing with you and you’ll become a homeless person. All the people , you know will recognize you. You will be humiliated in society. You’ll be digging through trash to find your food. Or you live with that thing for the rest of your life until it eats you alive.”Rahamahatoko said to the desperate man.

I just walked out the door in silence. I can’t imagine myself living in such poverty. Especially to be an outcast for my friends and society.

I never saw Aline and her boy friend anymore. I had no choice but to go back home and live my miserable life. I’ve been with “Penisnake” it’s the name I gave it; for months now. It became my pet and just another part of me. I can’t live a normal life anymore, so just Penisnake and I living together until death do us apart.

Unbelievable!!!!

My job allows me to travel alot, especially around my beloved country Madagascar. It’s not great to leave my family behind, but I have no choice. We were just a group of 6 people, heading towards a pretty far countryside , near Mananjary.

” Nina , aren’t you excited about this trip. I never been so far from home.” José told her.

” In a way , I am. I really miss my children though.” she sighed. The road was really dusty and the car was absolutely uncomfortable.

“Why did the car suddenly stop, we haven’t even reached our destination yet?.” José asked their driver.

” Sorry, guys but we got a flat tire, I guess we have to walk by foot.” the driver told them.

” Yeah, right. I’m not gonna kill myself walking for miles in high heel shoes.” Nina complained.

” You don’t have a choice, i’m sure there’s a village near by. Come on , before it gets late. We better go look for help.” the driver told them.

Everyone obediently left the car and started walking, until they found a little village. The village people didn’t look happy to see these bunch of strangers coming towards them. It was a good thing that José knew their dialect, so it kind of relaxed them. They had been traveling since 6 am in the morning , and felt worned out. There weren’t any hotels there, so they had to stay in the village people’s homes. The weather was unbearably hot. The little huts infested with little blood sucking insects like ticks. Nina wanted to leave right away, wishing that she was back home in her comfortable home. It was sad to see such poverty. The village had to walk far to fetch water to drink in a little lake. At the same time , their zebus go there to drink and piss. Women also wash their laundries in the same water.

“Nina, come here, I want to tell you something. I think we came during a bad moment. The woman huddling near the door , just lost her husband.”

“But, José, she seems very poor and depressed. Why is she sitting there and her neighbors not comforting her?” Nina asked.

“They already know. I think they’re getting ready for the funeral.”

“Really, but no one is busy preparing it. It seems that everyone is just staying where they are and not doing anything about it.”

“I know, as you see this woman is very poor. It a great humiliation to be very poor and have someone die in your family. No one cares about you. Even your family members don’t want to bury you themselves.” José explained.

” Why don’t we go to see how the woman is. At least, we can try to comfort her.” NIna insisted.

They went inside the woman’s house and saw her dead husband lying on a mat on the floor. Just a few people surrounded him. No one was crying, just staring at him. A man told them not to sit near the door. So Nina and José took a place in the corner. After several minutes , the dead body started to move. Nina thought that her eyes were playing tricks on her. Suddenly , the dead man was in a sitting position. José knew that Nina was about to freak out. He held her hands to comfort her and told her to keep quiet and just watch. Another man handed the dead man a shovel. Before , they knew it the corpse was running out the door with the shovel. The other people just ran after it and shouting.

“Let’s go, Nina, to see what will happen next.” José said pulling Nina to her feet.

It wasn’t easy trying to catch up with them. By the time they got to the grave yard, the dead man was digging his own grave. It didn’t take him that long. After it was done, he dropped the shovel and fell into the hole. That was when the other village people covered the hole with land.

” Before , you say anything Nina. Let me explain to you that what you witnessed is their custom. Especially when a very poor person dies. They have to bury themselves. None of their families wants to bury them.”

“But , José, as his wife told us that her husband has been dead more than three days. How can he come back alive again and dig his own grave!! That’s impossible”

“Nina, here in Madagascar , anything is possible. You just have to see it with your own eyes to believe it.”