It has been said that Madagascar is where Asia meets Africa. Although it is just off the east coast of Africa, it is believed that people from the continent of Asia were actually the first settlers. The Malagasy people have been found through recent DNA testing to be about half Southeast Asian and about half East African descent. When you see the people, that is the best way to describe them. They don’t look quite Asian, but they don’t look full African either. It’s a beautiful combination. Since Madagascar has large Asian roots, rice is a staple here and you can see rice paddies everywhere as you drive through the countryside and even in the city.
Madagascar is a very peaceful country and even though there is a coup d'état going on right now and rumors of another coup, you really wouldn’t know it from the pulse of the community. We have been surprised at how genuinely nice everyone here is. We feel very safe and go out quite often on our own. Besides a few curious stares because we are obviously foreigners, we are treated with respect and kindness on almost every occasion.
The Malagasy language is the most common language, but most people here also speak French. It is one of the few countries we have visited where English is almost of no value since most people neither speak nor understand it. This makes it fun to practice the little French we know and try to learn a little of the Malagasy language.