Memories from my first trip to the southeastern region of Madagascar: isolated villages where time stopped its course; villagers woken by the sun; nights with stars as bright as streetlights; and everything within a walking distance.
The houses were made from clay or wood; the only brick buildings in the village were the mayor’s house and the school building: five classrooms and a proud Malagasy flag. Everyone strongly believed in their country even though everything in the village suggested the country had forgotten about them.
In abundance: generosity and compassion no matter how scarce the food, the water, or the opportunities were. Everyone looked out for each other. Collectivism was more than a political point.
Life: challenging, yet so simple, harmonious. Even enjoyable.
Even death was a celebration of life. Everyone was grateful for being alive.
The photographs from this time were an exercise in mindfulness: focusing on and enjoying the present while understanding tomorrow is another day, an existence that does not worry about the future but embraces the grace that perseveres in the midst of hardships.
Jeni Andriamiseza is a blogger and visual storyteller from Madagascar. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology at the University of Indianapolis (USA). In 2016, she founded a Malagasy non-profit organization, FAKOTÔRY, which promotes a zero-waste lifestyle while creating employment in vulnerable communities. Through her photographs and digital graphic arts, inspired by the resilience of Malagasy people, Andriamiseza explores and highlights her country’s social issues.