Within arid depths of a land below
abides the humble village of l’Ambaro.

A world where clothing is prized but threadbare;
a world where meals are luxuries proved rare.

A world where days with famine are fraught;
a world the remaining earth long forgot.

But this is a place where
pure are the hearts,
simple are the joys,
the love of each part.

Where drums hum daily
their languid song,
enchanting the children
all the day long.

Where families dance into
the hallowed night,
merriment echoing
under faint moonlight.

Where sand curls freely
about their feet,
naked, synchronized,
stomped to each beat.

Until finally twilight
snatches the hills,
descending upon them
a shuddering chill.

Then filled with cheer
they part by the number
into their huts to
unite in deep slumber.

This is the place the world left behind–
a place that will always be in the back of my mind.

•      •      •


 My host village of Ambaro, Southern Madagascar

40 replies »

  1. Phoebe,

    Thanks for leading us back to this post. It has taken me a little while to even begin to understand why I would want to blog, to put my words out there in the world for people to own for themselves. In those early days, your blog fascinated me with its breadth and depth and honesty and compassion. Knowing that your day job keeps you busy. both physically and emotionally, uncovering this human with such a deep connection with something greater in our own collective humanity spoke profoundly to me. Leading all of us back to this post, lead me to that understanding for myself.

    I write because I feel some deeper connection with what we are as humans and need to find a vehicle to express that. You do it very well and it shows in the profundity of your words. Here, a village the world forgot, but without the world they still fill their lives with love for one another and dance and family. They are more community than our fractured ones that we leave behind as we head out into the world.

    Let us remain in touch, as I continue to weave my deeper self back into the words I write and out of the traps set by the day-to-day world of meeting others expectations, I know I will continue to learn from you and hope you accept me as a pupil to help me broaden and deepen my understanding our greater humanity.


  2. What a great experience ! You must have a different view of the world than most after these experiences ! I know my brief visit to the Philippines opened my eyes to the ” real world ” too ! 😉

  3. This is the beauty of life unencumbered with too many things, that can focus of those that really matter:

    Where families dance into
    the hallowed night,
    merriment echoing
    under faint moonlight

    Wonderful, Phoebe.

  4. Phoebe, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never heard of Ambaro. However, I’m so glad for your beautiful post since it has introduced me to this precious land and its people. This is the great thing about social media, I think — the ability to educate and reach out in such an incredibly efficient manner. Your poem tells the story, and it tells it well. Thank you.

    • Hi Deb! Ambaro is a very, very small village in rural southern Madagascar. I wonder if anyone has heard of it. But it is the home of some very precious people that I had the privilege to know…and I just wanted others to know a little about them also. 🙂

      • Arrggh. I don’t think my first response went through (if it did, sorry about the repeat): It’s great that you’ve shared info about Ambaro and its people. As I may have said before, the wonderful thing about social media is its ability to easily and quickly disseminate information to so many people. You’ve done an even better thing by taking an action step and actually sharing this info (I’ve just read it). I hope more people will follow your lead and share what needs to be shared. Have a great Sunday, Phoebe. I’m drinking my elixir: coffee (please, doc, don’t tell me it’s bad for me, for I so love it!!!). 🙂

  5. I looked at the other photos – the thing that stands out to me over and above how little the people have in the way of “comforts” is the expressions on their faces – happiness, joy, fun, and love. In this way they are rich beyond words. Your poem is a reflection of that……….


    • Yes, you are so right, Pam. The families living here were so precious…simple…appreciative for what they had…not sorrowful for what they didn’t. Living with them opened my eyes to many things…and I do think about them often… 🙂

  6. It seems these simple villages are strongest. The people are self sufficient, and happy with gifts they have.. well written ! I am sure you miss them.

  7. A beautifully written, with an enchanting story, i know there are many villages as such, some with just children play adult…

    Thank for writing piece of poetry..

    hugs & kisses chris

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