According to Malagasy legend, the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew, it noted the colorful flowers, large leaves, and slender trunks of the trees around it. One day the wind died away, leaving the water as smooth as a mirror. When the baobab saw its reflection, it was shocked to realize its own flowers were dull, its leaves were tiny, and its trunk grossly fat.
The baobab complained to the creator, who responded by yanking the ingrate from the ground and replanting it upside down so that it could not see its reflection or complain. Since then, it has worked in silence, paying off its ancient transgression by providing fruit, medicinal leaves, and shelter for those who live nearby.
Photo © 2011 Amber Davis Collins
Peace Corps Volunteer, Honduras 2002-2004


Southern Africa

Area 587,041 km2 (RANK 47)

Arable 5%

Capital Antananarivo (1.8M)

Population 22,005,222 (37/km2)

Literacy 65%

Life expectancy 64 yrs

HIV/AIDS 0.2% (24,000 adults)

In poverty 50%

Military 1% of GDP (RANK 130 of 195)

Languages French, Malagasy, English

Religions Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%

Gov’t Republic

GDP/capita $900

Agriculture coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava, beans, bananas, peanuts, livestock products

Industry meat processing, seafood, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, auto assembly plan, paper, petroleum, tourism

PCVs 1993-present, current 130, TTD 1,020; education, environment, agriculture, health, business

Focus word for 2014 - "Home"

Malagasy: Trano (tron-oh)

indigenous design from Madagascar

Copyright © Julie Olsen

Map of the world


Dzaomalaza and the Blue Sapphire.
Directors: Mamihasina A. Raminosoa; Rado Andriamanisa (2010)

Angano…Angano, Tales from Madagascar.
Directors: Cesar Paes; Marie-Clemence (1989)



The Eighth Continent, Life, Death, and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar
by Peter Tyson, 2000
Book Description
A rare view into one of the most diverse and fascinating places on earth.

Kids' Books

Lemur Landing: Story of a Tropical Dry Forest
by Deborah Dennard (Author), Kristin Kest (Illustrator)
2001. 36 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1568999784
Ages: 4-up