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Sandi Toksvig
is joined by former head teacher Andrew Folker who made good use of his new found leisure time when earlier this year he decided to set off for Senegal in West Africa with the idea of seeing the end of the Dakar car rally.  In the event it was cancelled but instead he found a country that was both fascinating and welcoming. 
Peter Flynn
and Catherine Foulser are two volunteers who went to Madagascar to be involved in very different tasks - one working with animals and the other building latrines and a hospital well.  They share their experiences in one of the lushest countries in the world, famous for its unique wildlife but still among the least developed nations.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Photo:  Antananarivo, Madagascar

This week’s guests:

Andrew Folker
, a retired headmaster from Wiltshire, had been thinking on how to use his expanded leisure time; he first took a trip to China, and then decided, with another retired friend, to go to for six weeks to Senegal.  This under-visited destination is fairly easy to get to and politically stable.  They organised their own trip and their flight via Casablanca landed in the capital Dakar, where they stayed for a few days.

They also travelled to St Louis a French colonial town on the north part of the coast and took a six days cruise up the river Senegal on the border with Mauritania; including a visit to a sugar cane refinery.  They even broadened their experience with a couple of days in a luxury holiday complex.

Peter Flynn is a teacher of English as a foreign language and has also recently written a novel.  Peter had previously travelled to Spain, China and Peru where he worked for a charity for street children.  He wanted to do some work involving animals and went to Madagascar with the organisation i-to-i which offers opportunities to work abroad on a variety of volunteer projects from animals, children, building and conservation, usually involving TEFL.

Peter stayed in a guest house in the capital Antananarivo and spent his mornings with a number of keepers at the zoo, learning about lemurs, the fossa - a kind of Madagascan wild cat - and many other native animals.  In the afternoons he taught the zoo staff English. Peter also travelled to the forests to see wildlife in its natural habitat.

Catherine Foulser was working in publishing but was keen to travel when she read about a scheme in Madagascar run by Azafady, a charity and Malagasy NGO “working in partnership with disadvantaged communities to improve living standards and quality of life in positive coexistence with the fragile and unique local environment.”

Catherine went there in January this year for three months and was involved in a three part programme around Fort Dauphin on the south east coast. With her six member team she helped to build loos and also dug a well. They stayed in tents and had to fetch their own water.  She also taught English to Azafady workers; tended a tree nursery and did ‘community mapping’ a kind of survey which involved going into people’s houses and talking to them in particular about the way they cooked.

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info
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