By Pritika Kasliwal
Having drunk our way through copious amounts of Eau Vive water we had four bottles at the ready. We found the rest of our materials at the local market, which has everything you could need from solar panels to fresh fruit and veg. It is hard to not get distracted by all the beautiful lambas they sell here. Lambas are the long pieces of patterned cloths the women wear, often with a cheeky phrase printed on such as ‘as pretty as milk’ 😉
Sorry I got distracted by the lambas again.
Once we had the materials we set about making the first of many buoyancy vests in Madagascar. You only need 3 things to make our vest: one rice sack, four 1.5L plastic bottles and rope.
The rice sacks which are abundant here have a great picture of a zebu-led cart printed on. Zebu are the highly prized humped cows found all over Madagascar. The bottles are sewn in to the rice sack, with one behind the neck and three on the front of the body. Here the rice sacks are made of woven polypropylene making them strong and water resistant. The woven nature of the sack allows us to easily sew in the bottles to form the shape of the vest. It is the air in the plastic bottles that provide the essential buoyancy required to keep the fishermen afloat. Finally the rope then tightly secures the vest on to the body.
Next we will be testing out the buoyancy vests with fishermen from the local village – Ambalahonko!