Preserving Endangered Ecosystems or
Endangered Cultures in Madagascar
HERBERT STEPPED OUT OF THE VAN, happy to put his feet on the ground after a long and bumpy ride. Madagascar, he thought, is a much larger island than it seemed on the map. Perhaps its loca-tion some five hundred miles off the eastern coast of Africa gave a false sense of minor proportion when compared to that great continent. And the ride from the airport in the capital, Antananarivo, to this remote village of Ranovao in a celebrated taxi-brousse, a wreck of a passenger van, reminded him just how far he was from his work as a tropical botanist with the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
“Are you exhausted, Dr. Jenkins?” asked Lucianne as she stepped from the van. “The flight from the United States is long and demanding. I know. I've made the trip on several occasions. And having to come straight from the airport to Ranovao is hardly a proper Malagasy welcome.”
“Are my aches and pains that obvious? It would have been worse if I had not enjoyed the fine company that you and Jean-Amie provided.”
“Merci,” said Jean-Amie as he emerged from the open rear of the van carrying several small suitcases. “You Americans are as generous with your praise as you are with your money.”
Herbert laughed. “Well, it's not exactly my money, you know, nor is its source exclusively American. After all, the checks I write draw on the accounts of the World Fund for Nature, which taps into purses from many countries.”