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How random encounters can make a difference:

(Photos via Luke Freeman, BBC)

We had an exchange awhile ago with fellow contributors to this blog (Harinjaka, Jogany…) on how little things can sometimes make a major difference. It is called the and it is also the subject of a book, « the tipping point », by Malcom Gladwell (« le point de saturation » in French). Hjk wrote about it ( For the life of me, I cannot retrieve the link), Jogany eluded to it in her last « Thank the skope » post and it is also a part the of underlying simple idea of this blog (right Tattum ?): the people we meet along the blogopshere can lead us to achieve more (cf Many, Tovamanana and Hjk’s wordpress malagasy project).
The reason for this post is that this concept is most certainly not restricted to the blogging communnity. Here is a story that you may find interesting:

Writing for Madagascar’s president »
By Luke Freeman
Antananarivo, Madagascar

Luke Freeman is an an anthropology lecturer in London who « set off microphone in hand to Madagascar to live the life of the young cowboys who drive herds of long-horned, hump-backed zebu on foot across this vast Indian Ocean island. »
In Madagascar, he taught an English class and met a certain Marc Ravalomanana who was one of his student. The rest,as they say, his history. As Luke described: « One night I was a dusty cowboy surviving on dry meat and rice, sleeping on a bed of straw on the starlit plains of western Madagascar. The next evening I was dressed in a dark suit and flying over the same plains in the presidential jet. »
Yep, in this new trend of globalization, life happens at rabid pace.
An interesting piece is the description of the president and the way he operates from his point of view:

« Although he may be politically inexperienced, 54-year-old President Ravalomanana is no hothead.He had established his dairy business by taking quick decisions and seizing opportunities. He had seen in me somebody who could solve his communication difficulties and help him address the English-speaking world, with whom he is keen to forge political and economic alliances.On a domestic level he had found someone who knows the Malagasy people from the bottom up, and who, unlike him, lives with cattle drovers and rice farmers.He saw my use to him before I did. It may just be that the cowboy who wandered in off the plains could be the person to help him. »

On a personal note, I was struggling to decide what to do with my life after school. Fundamental research lacked a certain practical aspect to me. I was wandering the laboratory facilities at school when I saw an article about a project called « X » designed to make affordable diagnostic tools for HIV in Africa. The next morning, I took the elevator with a man who looked just like the person in the article. I stepped out of the elevator, introduce myself and the rest is history.
Take home message ? Keep doors open and network agressively. « Ny gasy tsy tia misehoseho« . This is very true and don’t get me wrong, I value humility as a great trait of character. However, seizing opportunities is not antonymous with being true to oneself and making things happen.


8 commentaires

  • Tattum

    Great post, Lova, thank you. And thanks to remind WP Malagasy also, we are waiting for them to introduce it here! 😉
    Well I’ve tried to find some words, but it seems that I’m not really effective…

  • rotsaka

    Belle histoire et magnifique coup du destin…

    Toutefois, toutefois, un petit démon me trotte dans la tete, n y aurait il pas des malgaches capables d etre des Dircom tout à fait pros et efficaces et surtt bien plus au fait de la réalité quotidienne des malgaches que notre lucky americain ?

    Après les conseillers plus ou moins occultes venus de France, du bloc de l Est, maintenant des States et d Allemagne. Le tour du monde continue mais apparemment avec toujours un objectif : eviter au maximum de mettre en valeur les compétences endogènes, dommage.

    Ce n est pas sur que ce soit comme cela qu on reconstruira une fierté malgache parfois bien mal en point.

  • tomavana

    Mitovitovy hevitra amin’i Rotsaka aho, raha mbola talenta sahala [compétence égale] tokony ny Malagasy no fidiana 🙂

    Raha tsy izany lasa « valalan’alika ka ny tompony aza tsy tia azy », hoy ny Ntaolo 🙁

  • lova

    Absolument d’accord avec Rotsaka et Tomavana. Il y a certainement des experts en communication Malgaches aussi capables que Mr. Luke Freeman. Helas, il est fort possible que le fait qu’il soit anglais lui ai donne plus de credibilite aupres du prez. Triste realite des choses…

  • Fanilo


    For me it’s a pretty story, between Brokeback montain and Robert Drury …

    Fanilo the coder.

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