10 times my Grandma is my Shero

We should praise people we love and admire when they are still alive. So, I want the world to know that I love my grandma and the reasons why she is my shero … there are a lot of reasons, but I decided to stop at the 10th.

1- She wakes up every day around 6 o’clock and she makes her bed every morning.

2- She was married for 60 years to the same man – Yes, Diamond Marriage – I believe not many people can affirm that. Not only is she proud about it, but she also praises my grandfather’s kindness, how she never suffers with him and that she was very happy.


My grandparents at their 60th wedding anniversary

3- She had two kids when she started studying to be a midwife (she had eight children in total). And she succeeded. She went to provinces, towns we wouldn’t recognize the name, all over Madagascar working, alongside with Grandpa (he was a teacher). Once she retired, she continued practicing in her home. She was so successful that people knows us kids as “the grand-kids of the midwife”.

4- She has more than 70 grandchildren and she assisted all their births.

5- I helped her to choose an outfit for an event very recently – I know – shocking, I am Jon Snow of fashion. Nevertheless, we went through one of her wardrobes, she has many. And, she has the most stylish and class suits I ever seen. If I get her wardrobe, I won’t have any trouble suiting for an office work anymore.

6- She has the highest recognition title in our country, the same title as the president’s himself. When military personnel see her, they salute.

7- She has strong opinions and she is not shy to tell them out loud.

8- She is a family person. She always attends family gathering, she shows her sympathy when there is a death in the family. Even though every family has quarrels, she never stops talking to anyone and in contrary, always try to reconnect.

9- She has a large collection of flatware and cutlery, enough for many generations.

10- I had a traumatic experience with burglars (refer to my last article). So at night, I have light sleep and almost jump at every sound. I had my glass window open that night; the wooden part outside was locked, and I could hear all noises in the street, from the dog barking far away to a conversation from passer-by. I was about to sleep when I heard loud and clear steps on a sheet metal roof. Underneath my window, there is a roof, the metal roof of our aunt’s kitchen. I turned on the light and the steps seemed to stop. I didn’t sleep all night and I let the lights on until sunlight. Before you panic, it was the roof of our neighbor and it was big cat… My point is, in the morning, I told everybody what I heard, they noticed it too. Before we knew it was a big cat, my 81 years old grandma’s reaction was: “I am not afraid, I dare them to break in, I’ll scalp them!” … with a big smile on my face, I strongly stood next to her and said “I’ll scalp them too”. Since then, I am … less scared. I do not have her courage … yet!

I understand my peer’s envy when I mention my grandmother. I am lucky indeed, because I know I have a home I can go to.



On the night of December 17th, early morning of December 18th at 1:30 am, a big “bang” woke me up. And then I could hear steps outside my house. I stood up and switched the lights on in the next room. I had a sneak pick on the door and windows, I could see flashlights through the window. I switched all the lights on in the house except the one near the door, in the living room. And I waited, wishing, whoever was outside to leave.

I was about to dial the number of my aunt living next door, when I heard a second “bang”. “They” decided to break into my house, knowing there was someone (me) inside. One, with his face covered, went straight to me, grabbed the phone in my hand.  I couldn’t press the button call. He told me with a lower voice “Stay still and sit in silence”; I executed. Another one came in, first sight on my tablet, the second one on my other phone charging near my night stand.

The first one still looking around, seeing there was nothing valuable anymore (I have a lot of junk stuff home …)  He started “Where is your money? someone like you must have money! Where is it?” I answered “I don’t bring money home”; He repeated his question, I repeated my answer. He asked a third time, I knew I couldn’t give the same answer, and I needed to give him something. I showed the money in my wallet (which they  already took; looked inside, and tossed away without noticing the money  … stupid they!). I asked them to leave my papers, they tossed the wallet outside. He continued “Where else?” By inadvertance, I looked at my backpack on the floor. My computer, my two … yes 2 Hard Drive of 1 Tera each, were officially stolen.

I was now sitting near my night stand where I put the gun. My hand was few centimeters from the drawer. First, the gun was rusty, would it still work? second, I’ve never used a gun, what if they take it from me?  Third, Am I really ready to shoot someone?  I gave up any idea of rebellion.

At some point, the lights outside were all on. My cousin living next door noticed something was wrong, my door was open, three masked guys came out of it. The whole compound had it lights on. The robbers left my house with my stuff. I screamed “Mpangalatra eee” many times, as loud as I could. My aunt and my cousin screamed too from their windows. I took the whistle and blew in it like if it was my last breath.

I could feel my heart beating very fast. I needed to sit down. All my uncles and my aunts were now in my house, panicking, screaming : “Are you ok? did they touch you? What did they take? How does they look like?” I barely answered, my head was in a slow mode. I was shaking, literally shaking, It was not cold, the weather was warm. I was just in shock. I sat on the floor, I didn’t move. They looked around, looked at the door slammed, the door that I clumsily closed that night … all of this wouldn’t have happen if I put the bar on the door …

I was lucky, they didn’t “touch” me. No physical harm, but a lot of psychological damage. “Don’t stay here tonight, they might come back”My uncle said. A home is where you feel comfortable and safe. They broke into my house while I was inside. My house wasn’t my home anymore. I spent the rest of the night at my Grandma. I couldn’t sleep. I though about my mum and dad abroad, how they worried about me being alone . They broke into my house while I was inside alone. I couldn’t sleep, I waited the morning to come.

This is the second robbery of my house. The first time was in January this year, and I wasn’t home. I always wonder, if I was there, would they still break in ? Now, I have my answer, and Damn! I don’t like that answer.

The morning is there. I need to go back to the house. I don’t know what to do. All I know is I have to stand up and go take a shower.




I had a friendly discussion with the Team Excell Association about Camp Excell, its organization and Excell community services.

DagoMc: Can you please introduce yourself?

Miary RANDRIANARIVELO (M.R): I am Miary, I was a Camp Excell alumna in 2010, and now I am among the board of Excell association, helping with the organization of the camp.
Fela RAZAFIARISON (F.R.): I am Fela, current President of Excell Association.
Diana RABEMANANJARA (D.R): My name is Diana, I was also an alumna last year, and now I am the coordinator of The Camp 2014.

DagoMc: Tell us more about this famous Camp Excell.

F.R.: For me, The Camp was learning with fun, being with young people passionate about English language. Camp Excell is really an opportunity to improve your English, to develop your personality and your leadership skills as “Excell” stands for Excellence in English Language and Leadership



DagoMc: And who did have that brilliant idea of learning with fun?

F.R.:  Camp Excell was created by Dr. Bert Whetstone known as Captain Bert, Mrs Deborah Orsini and Mrs Voahangy RAMANANARINORO, known as Tatie Voahangy. They are our trainers and mentors before, during and after the camp.


DagoMc: When was the first camp?

F.R.:  It started 7 years ago, in 2007. And we have had a camp every year since then. We are now organizing the 7th Camp.


DagoMc: Where does it take place?

D.R. : We try to find a new location every year. We went to Majunga, Antsirabe …


DagoMc: How many campers do you have every year?

D.R.: Around 30 young people join the camp every year. In 2013, we had 24 campers.


DagoMc: Miary, during your camp in 2010, what was your best memory?

M.R :  Definitely, The World Series.


DagoMc: Were you watching series?

M.R: No, no. It was a competition of Soft Ball. During the Camp, we were divided into teams and we competed against each other. My team won!!!!


DagoMc: Can you tell us more about the Excell Association? 

F.R.: The Camp is for 10 days in which we experience different situations. It is more than just learning English. We also talk about leadership and most of all, community service. So, whatever we are in our community, either student or worker, we couldn’t just go back home and get back to our previous life after the camp. We have asked a bunch of questions like: “what can I do for my community?”; “what can I improve?”; “what should we do?” because we talked about those things during the camp. And, Excell Association was born with those ideas of achieving something in one’s community. Of course, each camper does things at their level: in their home, at school, at work, in the neighborhood. But, we thought that it would better if we gather all campers together, so our actions would be more organized and would have more impact.



Community Service at FAZAKO center.

DagoMc: What action did the Excell Association accomplish so far?

F.R.: As far as community service is concerned, Excellers, (that’s us, members of the Excell Association) we taught English in primary public school, we donated Christmas gifts for children in remote areas. We also did tutoring on a specific subject, i.e. we had a learning session on computers

M.R And reforestation, we plant trees.

D.R.: And organizing the camp is also part of our community services.

F.L : Every year, it is one of the main activity of the Association.

DagoMc: Can we get insights about this year’s camp?

D.R.: It will be in Ambatomirahavavy, Domaine Saint Francois, from August 2nd till 10th. It is a special place where all their benefits go to an association called “CASA”. They aim to help homeless people reintegrate back into society. They teach farming and cropping for 3 years before relocating people in the rural area. The association even provides a home to live in.


Domaine Saint Francois Ambatomirahavavy

DagoMc: Interesting. Here is your chance to promote The Camp 2014. Go ahead!

F.R.: If you are young between 18 and 25

M.R … or at least think you are between those ages (lol)

F.R.: If you want to improve, speak, and even dream in English, if you want to learn about American culture and sports, if you want to know more about leadership,

D.R.: Then, come join us, you will live 10 days of fun but also wisdom! Feel free to send me an email: dagomc3000@gmail.com or call directly the 034 03 320 53/ 033 12 846 45 for further information, and don’t forget check us on Facebook 

 Thank you Excell Team . We wish you the best for this Camp in August and for all your projects.

For more information : 

Excell Fondation 

Excell Madagascar Facebook Page (like us!) 

Camp Excell 2014 Event



After the camp, you got cool T-shirt with great quote on it! Here’s my favorites : 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” –  Albert Einstein


Excell Association will participate to the ICE Games Tournament also ! come join and support them July 19th at Gymnase Ankatso

“Join the fun, Live the game” – ICE CLUB

poster_icegames (1)





Madagascar Independence Day

June 25th, 2012 , I was on the road from Morondava to go back to Antananarivo. I didn’t really realize it was Independence Day’s Eve. I was still sad to leave Morondava so soon, just look at those pictures and you’ll understand why…


Allée des Baobabs – Morondava


Sunset – Morondava

Surpised I was when I discovered that in every single village, town, city we passed by, the streets were crowded : at Miandrivazo, we had to take another road because the main street was too much crowded, they had to cut it off for cars. We could see children holding their “arendrina” (lanterns) and having many stuff blinking on them, and the parents were looking after them.

We arrived around 00:30 AM in Antananarivo. We could see folks, mainly young people, walking all along the street, I guess to go back home. Surely they had to “walk” because of lack of buses or too much traffic jam, … or both after the fireworks. Some of them were well covered, conscious, even laughing and having fun. Some walked like zombies … sleepy maybe… And one I saw : two of his buddies had him on their shoulders because he couldn’t walk, this time I’m sure he was damn completely drunk !

June 26th, 2012 … well, I slept most the day… but when the sun went down, I went outside with my nephew, niece, cousins to hang their “arendrina” on.



I was a little sad I didn’t have one 😦 . My niece were so kind she said I could have her “magic stick”. It’s a stick with many little lights on it and blinks in a dark … And then we sang the famous song :

“Arendrina taratasy oooo ! may may may !

‘zay tsy faly tsy m’lalao aminay!”

(Paper lanterns! burn, burn burn!  Those  who are not happy don’t play with us)

Actually, one of the arendrina get burned … It was not mine, but it was sad anyway.



Only few people have lanterns in papers with candle inside. Nowadays, they have a plastic lanterns with a bubble light inside … I don’t like it! Those people should sing this instead then :

“Arendrina platic oooo! Lany pile, lany pile, lany pile”

(Plastic lanterns! low batteries, low batteries, low batteries)

After few firecrakers, a private little firework, many smile and laughter, everyone got back to their home.

That is how I spent my National Independence Day. I read a lots of comment saying they don’t want to celebrate the Independence Day because “Madagascar has never been independent, it’s just a disguise to hide the truth that we are still dependant, even colonized in a modern way ” or “why celebrate it? we have nothing to be proud of, just look at our situation right now …”

I don’t give a shit about all those crap! It’s not because some people f*** up that I would hate my country. Plus, it was a great occasion to spend quality time with family!

I am proud to be Malagasy. I love Madagascar, that’s why I celebrated The National Independence Day … in my way!


“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
Ronald Reagan

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
Abraham Lincoln 

“Love your country.  Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love … ”

Giuseppe Mazzini

Picture to make you smile


The Magic Stick

Gimme a smile !

It was hard to find a movie to introduce this subject! Actually, the subject itself would be perfect if we made a movie based on it…

« Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip and other facial deformities for children around the globe».

On May 12th, « Operation Smile South Africa» (OSSA) passed by Madagascar to spread their smiling spirit. They were here before and came back for post surgery check up.

As all volunteers were English speakers, they needed translator in order to communicate with local people and patients. Thanks to Lovah from Carlton Hotel Madagascar, they contacted “ICE CLUB”. When our dear ICE members: Nathalie, Haïna, Ando and Rotsy heard « Operation Smile », they didn’t hesitate to take part of the adventure.

Ready !

And so, for 6 hours non stop, we received families whom a family member had surgery. They were all ages :  6 months old baby to adult person, and came from every part of Madagascar (Tamatave, Antsirabe, Majunga, … ). A family that lived in a deep far countryside, left their home at 5:30 AM to be at HJRA (Hospital) at 8… At the end, we counted more than one hundred people we talked to, get to know, and saw smiling !

“Operation smile” is on its 6th mission in Madagascar, they helped more than 1.200 Malagasy people till now. They are surgeons, dentists, doctors but also photographs, students, workers, simple person as you and me, devoting their time and money to bring hope for unfortunate people to have a better future. They thanked us a lot for our help, but we couldn’t thank them enough for the experience they allowed us to live. We had fun and helped people at the same time. And needless to say that it was priceless to see people smiling.

“Operation Smile” will be back on August 2012, and we will be there to help indeed ! 🙂

Amazing Great Smiling Team !


“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” 

Mother Theresa

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“When I first saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew.”

 – William Shakespeare

Pictures to make you smile!

Fun on the bus

… hum …

N’ICE Teeth …


11 Eleven Day

Do you know the movie : “11-11-11” ? … no? …. Me neither ! lol lol . As far as I know, it is a thriller movie, and the most important is … it is released today on theater … in US!

Another movie that is released today in UK is “The Rum Diary” with the talented Johnny Deep …. check out the trailer

Well, all this is just to introduce you to the main point : 11 Eleven Project

For the occasion, I went around town today 11/11/11 and took some pictures, talked to some folks … So, the main thing I saw was this :

Traffic Jam à Ambohijatovo

And then I though, what do make my everyday life ? … apart from movies … the answer will come soon in video …

While waiting, enjoy those pictures :

Coffee ?

Traffic Jam at Tunnel Ambohijatovo

Cheese !

Today is 11/11/11



From “The Rum Diary”

Paul Kemp: Oscar Wilde once said, “Nowadays, people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

On the street asking people to take people for the 11 Eleven Project

“What is it really about?”

“M’lay kosa zany feeling zany an” (That’s awesome”)