I’m woken in my tent by the sad and gentle singing of a man in prayer. The man told our guide before we set up our tents that he hoped he would not disturb us with his praying late at night. I have no idea what his beautifully sung words mean in the local Malagasy dialect of Tsimihety, yet they gently pierce the Nylon Fabric of my tent in a soothing, melodic and sad voice that awake something deep inside me. I am touched, and I am afraid that the meaning of the songs, if I could understand them would lose the magic of the music that transcends the words they contain.
My mind is filled with thoughts in this still, starry night, being here in this extraordinary country, and feeling compelled to capture our journey on film. This seems all very sentimental as I write it, yet I’m certain that a tale that has not been told in our human history wants to be told. The unsaid wants to be exclaimed, it is now ripe for the picking and it wants to be shared with those who are listening. I am drawn to be the picker of that fruit, through words, and through images on film.
My thoughts turn to people. Mosesy, our dedicated guide, a man of huge integrity and inspiration in his own right, and our soft-spoken driver Fabrisse, accompanied by his smiling young son, Milandro, the suave and talkative Faustin, and the porters and others giving so generously of their time to assist us in our mission. These people, and the places, and our own journey are conspiring in a mysterious way, and preparing us for the message that will move the hearts and minds of all those who come into contact with it. I personally feel humbled to be the conveyor of this message, one that I do not fully understand myself, yet I have the certainty that it exists.
The images and the opportunities that have presented themselves to us in the past few weeks up until now have been aplenty. We have discovered something that for us is unique, and it remains to be seen whether the inspiration exists in the other regions we will be visiting, or even beyond this country to others. Chances are this inspiration has existed for millennia, but I am only seeing it now.
My sense is that this abundance is not new. It has been passed down through many generations. Madagascar is a place that has embraced the diversity of its ancestry – the blend of African and Asian roots, and perhaps it is the unity of spirit that speaks volumes, and which these evening prayers have chosen to awaken within me. Who was this stranger that was sent to sing to me, like a child being sung to sleep by a loving parent. Who sent me this stranger to sing such beautiful and moving melodies in a language that I thought I could not understand…?