A small logging site near VOI land; loggers abandoned one tree after revealing its hollow center, leaving behind a rum bottle.
A young porter takes a rest from carrying cut timber from the forest into town.
Extended families share a gas-powered table saw for the occasional construction project; here, president Rajao helps straighten a floorboard for his sister's new home.
WE BUILT THIS HOUSE LAST YEAR. WE’D DREAMED OF BUILDING IT FOR A LONG TIME BUT DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY. NOW, WITH VANILLA SO EXPENSIVE, WE COULD AFFORD IT," –DARY PAUL, VOI MEMBER
Yet Roger and his coworkers are making strides toward financial independence: In October, the VOI signed a contract with a Swiss development organization called Helvetas, who offered to pay an extra 1,500 Ariary (about $0.50) for every kilo of vanilla sold in town. The raised money will go back to the VOI office and augment their other funds, enabling the community to build larger town projects and sustainability initiatives. Assistance from international organizations like Helvetas is invaluable, but the question of salaries (and higher accountability associated with them) remains unsolved.