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East Sussex, United Kingdom
I'm a 62yr old AOL refugee, living on the south coast of England. I love travelling and sharing my photos. I live with Nina and Katinka, my two Maine Coon cats.


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Crystal Clock

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I decided tonight to add some of my zebu photos. Zebu are African oxen used in Madagascar to pull ox carts. They're also used for their meat, it tastes like a very rich beef. Their horns are used to make kitchen utensils ~ I brought Andy some home ~ and ornaments. I bought a bird made of Zebu horn ~like the one in the photos below ~ and a small dish. We went to watch this man first heat the horn and knock the bone out of the centre before heating it again and shaping it, then dyeing it with natural dyes. It was very clever, an old art dating back many years.

Zebu are also used to measure a mans wealth. When a man wants to get married he must go to his future father in law with a zebu, not any old zebu ~ this one must be stolen! It's supposed to prove he's a man. He gets thrown into prison for stealing a zebu then a while later the brides' father goes to bail him out. Having been in prison makes him some kind of better man! My mum used to tell me to keep away from anyone who'd been to prison! There are a lot of taboos in Madagascar like the one concerning eggs. You aren't allowed to hand an egg to somebody.... as if you would! Lol! If you buy an egg, yes you can buy them singly, the assistant has to put them on the counter for you to pick up. They also have a thing called turning of the bones. Families are buried in tombs; after three years or so they invite all the relatives over and bring the bones of the deceased out of the tomb. They take them around to the town to 'show' the deceased how the place has changed since their death then they're rewrapped in a new shroud and buried again. The old shroud is regarded as a fertility symbol. Brides sometimes lay on them in bed to ensure they conceive, I read that some brides actually eat a small part of the shroud to ensure conception! A big party ensues, this costs around 2,000 euros, which is £1,600 or nearly $3,000! Not so many people do this now because of the high costs, I'm surprised that anybody could afford to do it when I saw the poverty there. I digress........

I loved seeing the ox carts coming along the road, it's a sight we don't see now

At one point in our journey John, our Madagascan guide,told us that being in the middle of the countryside we'd see a lot more zebu soon. Lo and behold, round the next corner were a herd of them in the road! Same again round the next couple of corners
I liked the way this group kept on the right side of the road, I didn't know zebu had traffic sense!
I thought they were magnificent looking creatures. So often you see scrawny looking cattle in poor countries but these were obviously well looked after. The males have a hump on their shoulders as seen in the photo below.

I hope you liked seeing the zebu, I'll be back soon to carry on with the tour in the rain forest. We were lucky enough to see the rarest lemur in the world ~ the Greater Bamboo lemur. It's extrememly rare and in great danger of extinction.
Thanks to Donna for the tag tonight. When I copied and pasted the URL from Photobucket into the Blogger uploader I got 47 frog tags! Lol! I had to delete them one by one, hence the large gap at the bottom of this entry!


gina said...

what a delightful read about the customs! but oh my...i cringed when reading how the shrouds were sometimes eaten to increase fertility. ewwwww!! great pix. can't wait to see the rain forest.

D said...

great shots and interesting stories...
thanks for sharing
love ya

lisa jo said...

i always love hearing about your travels...what gorgeous pics and what fascinating customs this far away country has! XO

Joan said...

Great stories today Jeannette, lovely to see the sunshine its pouring done here today. Love Joan

Julia said...

Love all the shots. Thanks for posting them. I can almost smell the sites.

Jeannette said...

I did enjoy seeing the zebu, as you say, fine looking animals. As for eating a piece of shroud, no thanks, I would rather not.

Chris/cacklinrosie101 said...

I think the zebu is totally magnificent and oh the different and rich. I just love your header with the gorgeous shore. Your pictures are awesome, Jeannette! xx

Linda :) said...

What beautiful pictures you took in Madagascar!!
and I am so glad you got your luggage before the trip was over....
Can't wait to see more....
and hope you are getting used to blogger now...

Lisa said...

Another fascinating entry. I was a little put out by the eating of the shrouds though. I enjoy reading about other countries customs.

Love the Zebus (of course) and the fact the groom to be has to steal one. Yeah, my mom wanted me to steer clear of prisoners as well. LOL

Lainey Laine said...

I think I like Zebu too! Brilliant entry Jeannette. Love Laine xxx

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I loved the photos and tour of Madagascar! The poverty is very sad, and shocking.. Linda

My Creative Spirit award given to me by Gina

My Creative Spirit award given to me by Gina

Superior Scribbler award given to me by Jeannette

Superior Scribbler award given to me by Jeannette

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