The King’s Son and the Changing of Opinions


Madagascar is one of the most impoverished nations on the planet with the majority of its citizens, both noble and common, trying to find ways to subsist. 

Pascal is 41 years old and another one of the individuals hired in the early days of The Eden Projects’ mangrove restoration efforts within the Kalamboro estuary. Pascal is married with 7 children. He is also one of the sons of the local Sakalava tribal king. When The Eden Projects first launched the mangrove restoration work at Kalamboro there was a great deal of suspicion regarding motives. Who in their right mind would come from the outside and offer cash paying jobs to restore mangrove trees? Many of the community elders did not trust Eden’s intentions and Pascal’s family reprimanded him for working for an organization that was supposedly buying up and stealing their tribal land. Nevertheless, Pascal stayed with the opportunity because he was receiving a steady income that enabled him to meet his family’s needs and even send his children to school in the next village. Pascal’s fourteen-year-old son soon graduated from the close-by elementary school, which meant he had to transfer to a school located in a more distant village. The commute required the boy to walk 4 hours one way on Monday, stay with another family for the week, and then walk home for another four hours on Friday after school. The long walk was both rigorous and potentially dangerous. A better and faster solution needed to be found. Since Pascal had a cash-paying job with Eden, he was able to purchase a bicycle for his son to make transportation to and from school easier and quicker.


Seemingly small benefits, like buying a bike, along with the positivity of time, eventually moved Pascal’s father, the king, to change his attitude towards the strangely motivated outsiders. Today, the king is a huge and vocal supporter of The Eden Projects’ efforts in Kalamboro because, over time, he has seen first-hand that Eden’s goals are pure. We are working to improve economic life for the Malagasy people, to restore the environment back to health, and find other holistic ways to make life better for the villagers. One example of holistic improvement includes a series of fresh water wells that were constructed in Kalamboro in 2014. Fresh water is just one more solidifying factor that has moved the king’s opinion away from suspicion and towards full support.  The king recently remarked, “No organization has ever positively impacted our community this much”.  Pascal sends a special thanks to Eden and the Claremont Rotary Club who funded the well project. He never imagined he would be able to purchase a bicycle for his son and that life could be this good.

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