Elisa

Madagascar

This is
Elisa Ramanantenasoa (1969)

Country of origin
Madagascar

In the Netherlands since
1977

Profession
Personal ambulant attendant

Misses
The fruit Lychees

Still would like to

Go to Zeeland, the only province she doesn´t know

Madagascar in Amsterdam
The Tropenmuseum

“I was born in Tana, Madagascar’s capital city. I was adopted when I was four. I remained in Madagascar until I was seven, and then moved to the Netherlands. I can still remember the day of my adoption very clearly; a big white house with coloured things on the ceiling which ended up being festoons. And I got a cake, which I had never seen before.

Am I happy that I live here and not there? I don’t know. Often yes, sometimes no. Seven years ago I went back to Madagascar for the first time in twenty four years and at first I thought, “Yes, I’m home. I look the same. This is how it’s supposed to be!” I was worried I wouldn’t feel like I belonged. Since then I’ve been back four times. Materialistically I have a great life in Amsterdam; Madagascar is a very poor country. Emotionally, life can be less satisfactory as these feelings can be seen in a number of ways and be confusing.

It’s a cliché, I know, but I miss Tana’s weather; not too hot, just right. And the food. I can clearly remember the food from when I still lived there. When I arrived, I went to the market to get a ‘nemmetje’ which is a sort of spring roll with zebu mince, the Madagascan cow. And when I drink Fanta I call it ‘tropic’ Fanta, as it tastes so much different than here. It tastes exactly how I remembered it. From November to February you can get lychees at the Amsterdam markets. They come from places like Madagascar. I scour all the markets looking for crates marked ‘Madagascar’. I used to think this was a strange hobby, but I don’t anymore.


I really wanted to live in Amsterdam. I was tired of living in the provinces. I enjoyed my school years in Deventer, but everyone spread their wings and I wanted to too. I found myself a job in Amsterdam in 2008 and came here to live. I already knew Amsterdam from day trips. My first impression of the city was that it was busy and huge. The trams were strange, but I also thought, “Great”. In my first six months here I must have got lost at least ten times. I really had to spend time exploring and enjoyed doing it. Amsterdam is a city full of possibilities. But there’s also another side to it. It’s a very individualistic city and you really have to make an effort to find friends. After living in Bijlmer for the past fourteen years it has become almost like a village to me. But once I shut the front door, that’s it.


6 people in Amsterdam have the Malagasy nationality

180Nationalities.TextByStorySupply

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