always stop what you’re doing to welcome strangers

Here’s a revised edition of one of my favourite stories gathered from the tumblr blog of our 2012 trip to Madagascar.

We clambered up from the Manampanihy River after an afternoon boat ride with our host and his over-excitable duck-crazy dog.

A game of ‘le ball” was being played among the young men of the district on a decidedly uneven pitch defined only by the corners of the field dug out in the grass.

The children watching the game came scrambling noisily down the river bank with much hilarity to meet the vazahas.


After watching the game for a while, we began to make our way towards the path to our bungalow. Suddenly there was a voice calling out to us.

It was the match referee.  Noticing that we were leaving, he had blown his whistle and stopped the game.


He approached us, gave us a welcome handshake and a warm smile and thanked us for coming.

Then it was back to his work as a referee. Another whistle and game on. 

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