“Amy, you are invited to my orange party, will you come?”
“yes of course”
You don’t always know what you are letting yourself in for and the beauty is that you learn not to care. Just to embrace all that comes along and dive into the fun that awaits you. So when asked if I wanted to go to an orange party that I had no details for whatsoever, then of course the answer is yes. I wear as much orange as I can find…. better to be safe than sorry… and head to the beach. That is where all the best parties start. With a haze of uncertainty and a beach. A long and beautiful beach.
The next ingredient: friends.
We meet and laugh, lie and get sand where sand invariably ends up, regardless of the fabric carefully lain under you and the fight to keep it at bay. Once all friends arrived we confidently marched to the road and hailed Tuk-Tuks to take us to our unknown destination. Our Tuk-Tuk driver liked to forcibly ensure us his hand was firm on the accelerator at all times, that was until Romance joked that perhaps his hand was a little heavy. The 5 of us were tossed and thrown like our ship home off the coast of Namibia.
It appeared to be a taxi rank, a line of Toyota hatch backs fenced off the road from the piece of land that had street sellers, men drinking home made rum and the familiar sight of chickens in search for snacks. I left my Malagasy friends to negotiate a price and tried to change colour so that they didn’t have to pay for my skin. They huffed and sighed and the negotiations continued, I started a Toyota adventure of my own and sat in the boot of the closest one. Its roof was held up with an old stick resting between the windscreen and the boot floor and a cloud of dust awoke as I slumped down. The drivers started to get upset that there was a white girl in their boot and a price was soon confirmed. The driver then walked us to the proposed car, that led to the mamma of the group erupting into laughter. It was apparently not suitable, I nodded and smiled and didn’t mention that I have traveled in much, much worse. And so we settled down in a different car in a comfortable tetras of hips and elbows that became more and more packed and inseparable with each bounce and bump.
Once the driver had reached into each door panel, closed the doors with the screwdriver found the ignition wires and put them together, we were off.
With some speed.
Past the fruit sellers, the wood sellers, the geese sellers, the yogurt man and the pousse-pousse lines, around the slow cars and the trolley walkers we eventually got out of the city and into the edge of Eden. The roads emptied and became greener and quieter until we stopped next to a road side store.
More friends marked the stop and the home of the orange party that would ensue. First was the difficult activity that I met with a bizarre mixture of both, adoration and disgust. Peeling your skin off of the person next to you and uncovering a layer of sweat and dust but….. freedom followed and legs moved and arms flung. Relief.
We met the neighbours, shook hands and gave our greetings, then in Jehnnys small wooden home, once all 12 pairs of shoes were kicked off outside, we gathered on the massive corner sofa for a kabari ~(speech). It was then we heard what an orange party was. Jehnny spoke Franglasy – our language of English, French and Malagasy combined. She invited us in to her Orange forest for a feast …… no hesitation came.
Jehnny led the way and we followed, Romance took the bicycle, much to Jehnnys dismay and rode through the forest, over the tree roots and columns of wood that joined pieces of earth over the streams that crawled through the luscious land. Vallentina, Romances young daughter clung to the back of the bike and occasionally limbs would fly off her mums back and reconnect just at the right moment. The rest of the tribe walked swiftly as they raced against the mosquito clock. We came to a clearing with a few wooden houses, a lady preparing some food and a boy sleeping up high in a tree, a boy that Vallentina mistakenly took for a lemur. He woke up to her scared gasps as she realised he was just a boy.
We continued to the orange forest. Fruit trees littered the land, oranges of many types grew on every piece of earth, no leaf diseased. Guavas, bananas, lychees, Chinese lychees, satsumas, tangerines, oranges grew with out borders. In harmonious bliss.
I presumed the party was to go, find and eat. I had been trying to reach the most beautiful orange I had ever seen, it took a while to break it off the tree and to choose that particular orange- with choice comes difficult decisions. Then I turned towards the shouting I could hear, it sounded like Jenny. She was sat beautifully on a Malagasy blanket full from corner to corner of brightly and perfectly displayed oranges. She then laughed as all our friends had dispersed throughout the forest.
The orange party had began, people came back towards the dance floor and left their chosen fruit on the branches, their perfect selfie spots abandoned and gathered.
Together we shared fructose like I have never experienced before and can only dream of again.
This was my most favourite orange party……..of all time.