I’m originally from Highland Park, MI, a small suburb surrounded by Detroit on three sides, a town that, when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, was like Oz, only better. We didn’t know it at the time, but this tiny Highland Park, MI (2.9 sq miles) was one of the most integrated cities in the entire nation, and growing up in a town where dozens of nationalities and religions were practiced was the norm, provided me with the appreciation of a more global perspective than, say, a friend who grew up just a few miles away in Detroit.
Highland Park was an amazing little town, and in 1970, Alex Haley visited there, on a speaking tour touting his landmark book, “Roots,” where he told about all the years of research he’d done researching his family all the way back to the village of Juffureh in what is now known as The Gambia. That talk he gave changed my life (I was 14) and you can click BELOW for an excerpt of this amazing presentation.
The entire 35 minute long presentation is located on my other Web site, GotGenealogy.com, and goes into much greater detail about how determined he was to find his family in Africa, way back in the days before personal computers, before the Internet, and the only U.S. Census available at that time was the 1880. He broke through more walls than many of us can even imagine, yet he persisted and was ultimately rewarded by a warm welcome home. Alex Haley introduced me to genealogy, but it took years before I really got back into it and eventually became a professional genealogist.
I don’t know what the Malagasy infrastructure will be like, but I’ve been told there is Internet pretty much all over the island (Madagascar is the worlds fourth largest island), but electricity not so much. I’m in the process of procuring solar chargers for all my electronics to I can stay in touch, and so you can follow along on my journey. There are three official languages in Madagascar, English, French and Malagasy, which is unlike any language to which I’ve previously been exposed. The words seem to have lots of syllables and lots of vowels, and there are some words I look at and think, “I have no way how to even begin to pronounce that one,” but there is a great Facebook Malagasy group I’ve joined and they have some great “Learning Malagasy” videos that should help me get used to how the language sounds.
The clock is ticking, I ship out in June 2017, and still have SO much to do. The details of my preparations are posted on this site. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and that you will be able to share my experiences vicariously.