The French kids— Arianne and the two Xaviers (sounds like a band)—set up camp beside us. A kindly couple appeared, spoke animatedly, and insistently gestured to all of us to follow. “We’re going to their house,” said Arianne.
As far as we could tell we received the invitation by default. The mother must have been watching our evening preparations from the window, Gladys Kravitz-style, and was appalled that a young woman was preparing to sleep in a tent with two young men. We were all compelled indoors for dinner, and Arianne was made to stay overnight in their home.
Their modest wooden house had a thatched roof, soccer posters on the wall, and a statue of the Virgin by the fridge. Dinner was Rice-A-Roni, bread and butter, soft cheese and Ritz crackers; we contributed a bottle of Bailey’s we’d been hoarding since the duty free shop in the airport.
In silence after dinner we all watched a VERY weird TV show in Malagasay on their black and white set. When we left, the mom gifted us with handmade place mats, and a kiss on each cheek.
Above: Beach camp, Morombe
A toast: ciel clair!