Could you introduce yourself?
Marcelia: I’m 18 years old. I am Vezo [Malagasy ethnic group, Ed.] and I live by the sea. I discovered rugby five years ago. It’s not just for boys. Girls also have things to defend on the pitch.
Pela: I’m 16 years old. I am Bara [Malagasy ethnic group, Ed.] and we make a living growing rice. I have played rugby for four years. I’m stronger now. The organisation has helped me grow. I have travelled and I was even able to spend two months in Antananarivo to take part in selections for the Makis, the national women’s rugby team.
Sonia: I’m 18 years old. I am also Vezo. I play rugby at Mikéa Lodge. I have seen my body change with rugby.
Are you nervous about going to Stade de France?
Marcelia: I am proud and happy. I’m not nervous: I am used to busy crowds and matches!
How did your families react to your involvement with the Terres en Mêlées association and this trip?
Sonia and Pela: They are happy as it is an honour for us.
Marcelia: Sometimes my father - he’s a fisherman - tells me that I play rugby too much and that I don’t help him anymore. When I go fishing with him, he says I can’t pull the nets in anymore!
How do you feel when you play rugby?
Marcelia: When I’m on the pitch, I feel strong. I go flat out, no matter my opponent.
Pela: In my head, during a match, I’m there to win. Losing is not an option. I don't care if the person in front of me is big or small.
Sonia: I don’t think so much about whether I am going to win or lose, but I pull faces to scare my opponent.
You train the younger girls in your village. How do you view your role?
Marcelia: It’s good that they see me as a role model. Rugby could give them an opportunity to leave the village, to meet new people. The young people are very motivated. Sometimes they come and wake me from my nap to get training. I love to see them so motivated. Even though I am currently travelling, I know that they are still training.
What would you like to bring back to Madagascar as a souvenir of France?
Marcelia: I would like to bring back all this ice and snow.
Pela: I would like the Eiffel Tower! At least a nice photo of me with the Eiffel Tower and at Stade de France!
What would you say to other young girls like yourself to encourage them to join the association?
Sonia: They could go far and travel through Terres en Mêlées. They could see Antananarivo if they want, they could discover France if they want. So if they’re interested: come on, let’s go!
To know more about this organization : Terres en Mêlées