Mango man

It’s been a hard few days, low on money and due to this food has become a scarce commodity. Unaware how the financial and banking system works, I came armed with a recommended travel credit card, only to find out the banks don’t take it, and where we found a bank that could take cards, they only took MasterCard.

It’s been 500km hard km my body has taken a hammering and needs every ounce of energy and food that I can find, but the opposite has happened, our source has started drying up. I have had no option but to try and supplement it from the country side, with the change of climate and vegetation this has begun to offer options, fruit. Massive big wild mango trees, laden with fruit, but unfortunately mostly green as it is the beginning of the season. Secondly, in Madagascar every tree seems to have an owner so you cant just go and pick fruit. As I journey and watch the locals at work I have learnt a lot. The one thing I have seen is how they harvest the ripe mangoes at the top of the tree.

They will pick a green mango within reach, and then with great accuracy they will use this to throw and knock out the ripe ones at the top, catching them and so on it goes. Out of site and in a secluded spot I found a tree and began the process , only to be rained on by more green mangos, a lot of practice was needed, so on I pushed.

Crossing a dry river bed, the banks covered with massive mango trees, the hunger got the better of me. Looking up at the top of the tree, beautiful ripe golden yellow mangoes glistened in huge bunches. Looking around, no one in site, I decided to take the only way that I knew and that was to climb the tree. Up I shot like a lemur. Right into the upper branches.

Ahead I could see the golden glow of the fruit tempting me trough the leaves. I hung onto the branch and leaned out at this massive tempting mango. Just short of it. I wrapped my leg around the branch and slid further out, still short. Unwrapping my leg I managed to slide right to the end of the branch, which was now starting to bend. Hanging on with one hand I leaned out into the crown of leaves, my finger just touched the fruit, but not enough to grip it. I recoiled and lunged out. My fingers finally managed to wrap around the plump ripe fruit, but it held firm. Dangling, one leg on a branch, one arm around another and my hand firmly gripping my prize I tugged.

A crack sent a shudder through me as my body jolted and then held for a second, but the weight was too much and the branch broke and down I crashed and tumbled, smashing through the leaves and destroying branches as I plummeted down.

Hitting the river bank with a thud, I could feel all the air expels from my lungs; I hit the ground with my elbow jamming into my ribs. As I lay there trying to get my breath back gasping, groaning and being rained on by green mangoes, I rolled onto my back opening my eyes, all I could see was big eyes and white teeth of laughing kids standing over me.

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