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#373
Madagascar
Keymaster

As stated in previous Notes, Europeans are not content to rebuild the city. They do much to beautify it. While there is almost no tree in the city in the past, they teach people how to grow beautiful trees, shrubs and exotic flowers. Eucalyptus, filaos, bougainvillea, Cape lilac are planted from 1865.
“And twenty years later, we meet everywhere,” writes Sibree quoted by S. Chapus. The taste of vegetable gardens and the cultivation of flowers spread very quickly among the inhabitants of Antananarivo, from cabbage, lettuce to plum and peach, not to mention roses and carnations. Everything is immediately searched, planted, diffused and enthusiastically adopted by the Merina. Many elders living in the 1950s retain the memory of their appearance.
Initiation to new cultures is largely the work of the Catholic Mission of Ambohipo.
After the refusal of the royal government in the last century, the first Catholic missionaries, such as Weber and Jouen, finally settled in Antananarivo in November 1861. “Their task was not easy in the presence of the
Coldness or almost general hostility. But they were able to show a warm solicitude for the wretched population. Weber devoted himself devotedly to the care of the sick and was, in a way, the first to give medical care without being a doctor to the population of Antananarivo.
Finally, the pomp of the Catholic Church made a great impression during the Christmas of 1861, when one heard both a harmonium and a piano. The consecration of the Mission on June 3, 1864, brought together an enormous crowd that went in a grand procession from the place of Andohalo to the farm of Ambohipo. In 1870, the Catholic Mission has four parishes in the urban agglomeration of Antananarivo.
It is necessary to insist on the Catholic domain of Ambohipo because this is where we see the projects of use of the trees in view of the urbanism. The park, which is set up on the lake alluvial fields, where forty-seven European and exotic tree families are tried, will supply all the parks and gardens of the capital. It is here also that these novelties that a windmill, a suction and repression pump and plows can represent for the Tananarivians.
But it is also in Ambohipo that they make the habit of going to get the first potatoes, lettuces and carrots as well as the first cabbages, celery and artichokes. For their part, English residents compete for the best seedlings and seeds.
In 1895, after the last thirty years of efforts to develop the merina monarchy supported by European lay and missionary craftsmen, the dominant feature that is offered to the traveler arriving in Antananarivo is the large number of religious buildings.
“Whichever way we turn, when we are at the top of the hill on which the city is built, the churches and temples stand out and give the impression of a people profoundly religious in appearance,” writes The architect Pool. The city extends towards the West and the North. It is already almost entirely built. And apart from the school building of Andohalo that does not exist yet, the glance from afar does not change noticeably.
However, the development of roads and town planning do not go hand in hand with the
System of architecture and construction. The streets are non-existent. Only trails and potholes allow communication from one neighborhood to another and move from one building to another. Despite the royal orders, no maintenance, no cleaning is carried out by the inhabitants whose social education remains to be done. Garbage, piles of manure and clogs arise at every step. No public utility working for cleanliness, they do constant and considerable havoc.