Heavier Concerns

Valerie Wayson


“Heavier Concerns” is a chapter from my memoir about Peace Corps in Madagascar, an ongoing project. Cold Noon Journal published this chapter in 2017. In it, I try to show the prevalence of death in Madagascar, its constancy and visibility, juxtaposed against my own concern of trying to lose weight in a culture that associates weight with wealth. 

This is a different region and landscape than the one in the Sowell Conference/Collection, but the link is the emphasis of place, and how the place affects its peoples. Madagascar is beautiful, but it’s also deadly: its water carries schistosomiasis and giardia; its mosquitoes transmit the type of malaria that affects the brain and kills within days; its rutted, unpaved roads and lack of infrastructure cause accidents. This essay aims to show Madagascar’s beauty as well as its dangers to engender a more nuanced understanding of the role any landscape plays in the lives of its people.


Madagascar; Peace Corps; Memoir

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Copyright (c) 2019 Valerie Wayson

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