Welcome to out latest series titled Ry Tanindrazana Malalako or My Beloved Homeland!
Tanindrazana in the grand sense means Madagascar but it also directly translates to “the land where your bones/ancestors lie”. We wanted our readers to rediscover their family ancestral lands and homeland and share with the world why the sense of tanindrazana is so important to maintain.
Today: Baovola shares a beautiful portrayal of her family's hometown in Ambatomanga, a village 24 miles/38km from the capital Antananarivo in the Analamanga region. A city known for its rich fromageries and dairy products, Baovola recounts how the village has so much more to offer than just their products!
Ambatomanga, translates to the “Blue Rock” and is a lovely village in the east of Antananarivo, district of Manjakandriana. It’s about 24 miles from Antananarivo when taking National Road 2.
Ambatomanga was once the portal of the capital. Foreigners who came from Toamasina port had to stay in Ambatomanga and wait for the Queen’s authorization to go to Antananarivo. It is well known for its cheese. Thanks to a fairly developed breeding of "dairy" cows (mixed breed of the crossing of zebu and Norwegian Pie Rouge), the region is characterized by modest substantial milk production.
My family usually goes there almost every Sunday after church to have a picnic. Right after, the adults would take a nap, while the young ones play the guitar and sing. Sometimes we would go for a hike to admire the landscape from a hill. I remember one time, we played by the rice fields and I fell in with my church clothes on. My parents were not happy about it but the memories were all worth it. Right before we leave, we always have to stop at La Fromagerie FI to get some cheese.
I was still young when I last visited Ambatomanga, so my memories might not match the reality. Fixing the roads would make a great change so it would be easier to get there. Another way of supporting the village and its people is to promote the fresh market “tsenan’Alarobia” . They also make some beautiful crafts with Raffia. But most importantly, making sure kids stay in school, although it’s hard because some have to start working to help their parents at a young age. I believe there are always solutions to help those kids.
Overall, Ambatomanga is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you’re into hiking because those majestic panoramas won’t disappoint you. The calm and fresh air will put your mind at ease. Don’t forget to get some dairy products (cheese, yogurt), fresh fruits, and veggies before you leave!