Sunday, February 28, 2010

News Update

I realize that now more than ever, I need to be checking up on the news from Madagascar as often as I can, not as often as I remember to check. With only 29 days left until departure, I find myself wanting to be as "in touch" with things there more than ever.

The most recent news story I found while reading today was one about how the textile industry has all but collapsed. Recently valued as a $600,000,000 annual operation, this industry is just one more casualty of the current political regime in Madagascar. Because of the current crisis they have been shut out of not only foreign aid, but an end to a preferential trade agreement with the U.S. This has resulted in a slow down of exports and the closing of factories, leaving approximately 150,000 people unemployed.

In a country that already struggles with extreme poverty (not like poverty in the U.S.), this leaves even more families alone to fend for themselves. The result of the factory closures in the capital city, Antananarivo, has led to a flooding of the public markets with people trying to sell their textile related handiwork. Obviously the market can't sustain the influx and many people are left making a small fraction of what they did before. It will be hard to see what is happening in these markets with my own eyes. Too bad my mom will be so far away for my "why is humanity/life/circumstances so cruel/sad/heartbreaking" talks.

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