This semester, my studies at Stony Brook and my business ideas have successfully been merged. I’m staying in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar at Centre ValBio (CVB). CVB is also currently hosting students who are in the same study abroad program that I was here for in 2014. This fall, I’ll be participating in the first business internship approved by Stony Brook for doing work in Madagascar. My focus is on essential oils that are produced from local plants. I’m going to be developing a business plan and helping to implement it over the next 10 weeks. I’ll also have time to continue working with my friends at Varibolo Resto on kayak tours in the rainforest.
I arrived on Monday in the capital of Antananarivo after flying from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, then switching planes to reach Madagascar. I stayed for one night in a hotel before departing for the rainforest early on Tuesday morning. The time in Madagascar is seven hours ahead of New York, which I am still adjusting to after completing the journey. Our bus arrived at CVB Tuesday evening and I was happy to see many familiar faces. A few local bands played music to welcome the study abroad students. As this is my fourth time visiting Ranomafana, I feel comfortable here, and I’m looking forward to seeing even more people in the village soon that are my friends here.
I typically do not use my phone or computer much in Madagascar. The best way to communicate here is to interact face to face with people. Relationships become more meaningful this way, as everyone is fully engaged and present in their surroundings. There aren’t nearly as many distractions, technological or otherwise, as I find in New York. I’m going to be traveling to a few places in Madagascar on this trip that I’ve never been before to see how the essential oil industry is doing in locations where they have been established for a few years. I’ll do my best to post updates occasionally and I’ll include pictures when I can. I know this is going to be another great opportunity for me to learn and grow.