Magical Madagascan Water


There is a saying in Madagascar that you’ll never be able to leave the country if you drink the enchanting water. Andrianina, Quality Control Assistant at the chocolate factory, left her home in Madagascar for studies abroad… but she’s back. We wanted to know if it’s the magical water that brought Andrianina home to her native country so we sat down with her to get to the bottom of it.

What was it like growing up in Madagascar and how was it to go abroad?

I’m obviously very biased, but I think Madagascar is a really special place. While the country is about the size of France, Madagascar is an island so there is a really strong sense of kinship between Malagasy people. Each region has different foods and a different dialect of the Malagasy language, but at the end of the day we’re united as one people and this translates to a real sense of kinship between us.

The customs, food and people of Madagascar were all I knew first hand for most of my childhood so when I moved to France for my university studies it was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Immersing myself in a new culture, I had to learn a whole new way of being: new food, new weather, a different social system and a different pace of life. Once I got the hang of my new life, I really loved the experiences, insights and perspective that a new culture brings.

What did you study abroad?

You will laugh because Madagascan folklore speaks of a magical water that enchants people so they never want to leave. I went to France to study hydrology!

Besides knowing a whole lot more about water, what are the most valuable things you brought back to Madagascar?

Perspective and new ideas. I think perspective is crucial for countries to develop because humanity moves forward when we share ideas and getting perspective is seeing life through another lens. I don’t mean to say that all of the answers are abroad, but I do believe that having two views of a situation is better than one.

On a completely different level, I remember how much I missed some of my childhood foods when I was abroad. There is an amazing meatball dish in Madagascar (petis / boulette de viande) that I can taste as I say the words. But it wasn’t until I was abroad that I truly realised how special that childhood favourite was, and that really wonderful Malagasy values of patience, forgiveness and family were a true strength our country possesses. None of this would have been possible without perspective.

Now that you’ve seen another world and come back, what vision do you have for Madagascar?

Everyone who visits our country speaks of the tremendous natural resources and the amazing potential. We do truly have a blessed land with cash crops like vanilla, coffee and cocoa as well as a huge diversity of flora and fauna and thousands of kilometres of pristine tropical coastline. I envision a Madagascar where more and more entrepreneurial ideas take root to transform these natural resources into sustainable livelihoods and a more engaged population.


I feel really blessed to work at a chocolate factory where we have a chance to make bars that compete with the fanciest French, Belgian and Swiss brands at shops in NY, Paris and London. This is a priceless feeling that everyone should have. If we can take this approach to other sectors then we’ll solve a lot of the challenges that we face vis-a-vis unemployment, lack of skilled jobs and independence from international aid!

And, finally, a question we’ve been waiting to ask. Is it true that there is magical water in Madagascar and is that what brought you home?

Madagascar has some very special springs and we have our own spring water in shops and restaurants around the country. I have to admit that it is some of the sweetest water you’ll ever taste. Come and give it a try 😉