Ruby Boom Town
By Vincent Pardieu With Richard W. Wise
Moramanga mining village, Andilamena region, Madagascar, June 29,
It is 4 a.m., and I can=B4t sleep. It=B4s been two hours since the loc=
nightclub has ceased churning out the pop music that can turn this
jungle city into a disco. The neighboring movie theater closed a few
hours ago, and the choreographed grunts of the latest Kung Fu movie
have faded into the darkness.
Still, the jungle night in this mining village is far from quiet. In
fact, it sounds like a battlefield. By day, this shantytown of
15,000 is the kingdom of men, but the night is ruled by rats -
thousands of them, perhaps millions. In each wooden shack, dozens of
rats run over the sleeping bodies of men, women, and children. I
don=B4t like rats, so I=B4ve made a small fire and installed some
candles; that way I can at least work and think...
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