I'm just back from a trip to Madagascar, where I participated in a fundraising event called "Hike4Life" for Focus Humanitarian Assistance. FOCUS is an international group of agencies established in Europe, North America and South Asia to complement the provision of emergency relief, principally in the developing world. It helps people in need reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid and facilitates their transition to sustainable, long term development. FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network. The establishment of FOCUS by the Ismaili Muslim community was a result of a history of successful initiatives to assist people struck by natural and man-made disasters in South and Central Asia, and Africa.
Eighty people joined the hike, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for this worthwhile organization. We were from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France. The pictures above show our lead guide Roland, as he taught us about local wildlife, and also some our group as we hiked through Isalo National Park in south central Madagascar. (And to answer your question, yes, this activity accounts in part for my reluctance to make blog postings during the past two weeks. Web access is not so ubiquitous in Madagascar . . .)