29 juin 2015

Pneumatophores.

                      I've been fascinated by the mangrove since I arrived in Mayotte. The mangrove goes pretty much all round the island. From most points on the coast, you can either see it or smell it, or both. Mangrove trees are salt tolerant, and they have an very simple way of coping with the salt they're immersed in all day: they're mostly impermeable to the stuff, so it doesn't get much farther than the tree root. They also limit the amount of water lost from... [Lire la suite]

25 juin 2015

First Moon of Ramadan

  Seen from Mayotte, the moon looks like a smile.                      This is the first moon of Ramadan this year. Ramadan, or a period of roughly one month when Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, but gorge themselves on fried food and sugary treats at nightfall, comes a fortnight earlier each year, so you can predict its arrival to within a day or three. However, as with all important Muslim calendar days, the actual beginning of Ramadan depends on... [Lire la suite]
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22 juin 2015

Girls, tyres and ministers, oh my!

                  Last Saturday was the tyre-race. Just to be different, I'd decided that this year, I wanted to run with a big tyre, a lorry tyre, one of those huge things that come up to about chest level. I knew the time-keeper for the tyre race, so I talked him into creating a category for me and letting a team of girls run with the big tyres, which has never been done before as only men have attempted this feat in the past. However, we did adapt it just a little:... [Lire la suite]
15 juin 2015

Tsoundzou

               These are some typical roadside scenes in Mayotte. The above photos were taken in the village of Tsoundzou. There's a bridge over a pretty river, where various outrigger canoes were parked.                                The bridge is actually fairly new. It was started about ten years ago, but the soil kept on being swept away by the river and the rainy season, so it only advanced in... [Lire la suite]
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08 juin 2015

Protests in the Classroom

             Recently, just for the fun of it, I thought I'd get my kids riled up about something. So I started a nice, light and cheery series of lessons about world problems: racism, discrimination, poverty, starvation, the environment, war, deforestation, animal cruelty, you name it, we talked about it. After a brief spate of "this isn't our problem, why are we doing this, miss?", they got really into the subject and started coming up with interesting ideas. I taught them a few expressions... [Lire la suite]
01 juin 2015

Nanny, you probably don't want to know what I did last weekend.

             I recently had a couple of acquaintances over. The sort of people who'll give you absolutely no news for a year or so, then suddenly pop up out of the blue saying that they've bought plane tickets to Mayotte and can I put them up. They'd timed their visit to be here at the same time as a friend of theirs, a hiking guide on tour in Mayotte at the time, so they were off with him most of the time, which was fine as far as I was concerned. They didn't have anything planned for the... [Lire la suite]
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