Fomba or Fady? A Guide to Antandroy Culture and Taboo

Fomba or Fady? A Guide to Antandroy Culture and Taboo

While trying to integrate into a new village on the opposite side of the world, it is important to become aware of the customs of its people. Even more important is to adapt quickly and understand what is appropriate behavior and what is not. The Antandroy culture (fomba) largely concerns respecting one's elders. Along the same lines, many of their taboos (fady) involve disrespecting someone. In order to keep these rules straight and avoid an embarrassing and/or offensive slip up (you don’t want to have to sacrifice a cow, do you?), here’s a go-to guide on the fomba and fady in the Androy region.  

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The Postcard Project

As I prepare to leave my old New Jersey home for my soon-to-be island home, I got to thinking about postcards. 

When is the last time you sent a postcard?  We still share our adventures incessantly, of course, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of that.  But it's not the same. We no longer 'wish you were here.' 

When I was younger, I used to be a huge postcard fan. It was fun to write them to my cousins and friends from home as my family traveled cross-country in our motor home. My love for postcards (and snail mail in general) still exists and so I wonder why the act of sending them has died.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service processed 770 million stamped postcards in 2014. That's down from 1.2 billion in 2010. I think it's a shame because a postcard offers a whole lot more than a 'like' on Facebook or a favorite on Instagram. It provides a less narcissistic connection from one place in the world to another and a conversation between two people. And of course a snapshot of the location, whether beautiful, cheesy, informative or generic.

So here's my idea: During your travels this summer (and in the next two years) write a postcard and send it my way. I don't care where you are (whether you never leave your hometown or find yourself in Antarctica), I want to hear from you! I will feature them on this blog and start a collection to show the world through postcards. 

Here's my address during the first three months of my service. (I'll update it once I get assigned my site in Madagascar). 

Olivia Prentzel, PCV
Bureau du Corps de la Paix
B.P. 12091
Poste Zoom Ankorondrano
Antananarivo 101


Oh, and make sure to include your address so I can return the favor. :)