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This time, it all started with a football match. Majicavo and Kawéni, two neighbouring villages, were playing against each other. Majicavo was winning 3 - 0 when the referee gave a player a yellow card instead of the red card he should have given him. The supporters exploded and everyone went wild.

The colour of the card was just a pretext: the two rival villages have hated each other for years, so the two gangs were overjoyed to have a reason to attack each other.

This was on Friday evening. Things have been wild since then. Groups of thirty to two hundred kids have been marching through the villages, burning houses and pillaging shops. Companies and stores have unrolled their iron shutters and barricaded themselves off in the hopes of saving themselves from burglaries. The kids are carrying stones, sticks and machetes, with which they've already damaged several cars and other vehicles. They've burned a good hundred shacks so far, so plenty of people are already homeless. The school buses have stopped running, one school didn't open at all today and my school closed at 11 a.m.

          

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I had a rather long day on Sunday. First of all, my musician friend Franck had finally finished the boat he was making - this is his second boat, he's already been round the world on the first one he built twenty years ago - and, to celebrate, he had invited the music group on the boat to play together. As he was so pleased with finally putting his boat in the water, he had also invited a group of friends to come and drink punch on the boat with us. While it was just the musicians, the boat held up fine. However, when the twentieth person walked across the rather flimsy middle section of the catamaran, the boat caved in and we all fell knee-deep into the water, still supported by the bottom of the boat. Telephones, cameras and musical instruments all got soaked. The violin broke into three parts. One woman got hurt. By the time we had evacuated everybody and got what was left of the boat to the nearest beach to try to put it back together before high tide, it was eight p.m., so I took the ferry back across to the large island and collected my car... which had had its wing mirrors stolen in the meantime.

On the way back home, one of the roads was blocked by the police so I took the other, found the turning blocked by upturned rubbish bins and lines of fire across the road, tried another turning and was met with a group of thirty or so kids no older than ten years old, brandishing sticks and stones. They stopped me, shouting, and said they wanted 20 euros to buy drinks. Before I could answer, one smashed the back window of my car. I got out of the car, rather annoyed, and one of the kids said "Sorry" (I think that was one of my pupils), another said "It wasn't us". Hmmm. Walked back along the road towards a couple of policemen, who checked with me that I was fit to drive, if shaking slightly, and sent me to the police station. When I arrived at said police station, I was told that everyone was busy on the roads and please come back tomorrow morning. Humph. This was all getting a bit much by now, as I was still soaked up to the waist from moving the boat about and still upset about my violin. On the way back home, the roundabout I needed to use to get home was completely blocked by policemen. After a good 90 minutes' wait at the roundabout doing nothing, not even able to read as my book had been soaked, I got home at about 10.30 p.m., grumpy and exhausted.

      

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I tried the police station again this morning, filed a report and was told to take it to the insurance company. Which was, of course, closed and shuttered to save being invaded. Meanwhile, the car is still gaping open with loads of glass inside. What annoys me is that they won't cover the repair without a franchise, which is a pain as I haven't done anything stupid (for once) and this "accident" really wasn't my fault. I was blocked for four hours at the roundabout today. I'm a bit fed up of that roundabout. Traffic loosened up at about 2 p.m., so I went home, had something to eat and then went for my violin lesson, having asked the music school director if I could borrow her violin for a bit. I've also started asking around to find out if my violin is repairable. Apparently not. When the insurance company opens up again, I'll ask them if there's anything they can do to help - it is insured as part of the house and belongings, after all, and it's definitely worth claiming something if I possibly can. Otherwise, I think I know what I'd like for Christmas.

       

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