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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11 mai 2015

Market Day Has Gone Forever

                     There used to be two markets in Mamoudzou. The official one, and the clandestine one. The official one is under cover, in a fairly recent building where sellers rent out spaces the size of your average garage for 120€/month. Pretty expensive by Mahorese standards, and difficult to cover when your only customers are tourists who want to look round but would rather buy cheaper and better-quality clothes online. Add to that the fact that every seller is... [Lire la suite]
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20 avril 2015

UNICEF Heroes Day

              Yesterday was UNICEF Heroes Day: a worldwide, running-applications-and-various-other-gadgets-connected run whose goal was to raise money to vaccinate children. The idea was to get everybody to run 10 kilometres and connect via various running or fitness-based apps, GPS watches or whatever to the UNICEF Heroes website, thereby tracking all their practice and the run itself. There was no specific time for the run to start: you could do it at any time on that given day, even in... [Lire la suite]
09 mars 2015

The Nutrition Transition

            A rather interesting article turned up in the newspaper this week. Mayotte has been in the middle of a nutritional transition (poetically put) for quite a few years now. From not having enough to eat and suffering from various lacks and deficiencies, the Mahorese people now tend towards something called metabolic pathologies, said the article. In Mayotte, food is generally associated with conviviality and hospitality. There's none of the eat-on-the-go style of doing things: a Mahorese... [Lire la suite]
02 mars 2015

Grating coconut

                     In Mayotte, coconut and coconut milk are frequently used in cooking. Mataba, one of the most common dishes here, is made by mashing cassava leaves and mixing them with coconut milk, sometimes adding meat or fish later on. Fish and chicken are regularly cooked with coconut and coconut milk to make poisson coco or poulet coco. Kakamoku is soup made of fish heads cooked in coconut milk. You can eat that in most local restaurants, and you might... [Lire la suite]
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22 décembre 2014

It's a beautiful place, really.

                 There have been a couple of rather pretty-pretty series of photos of Mayotte around recently. Two projects, in fact. The first was the Vanilla Islands project: an effort to put forward Mayotte, Reunion and the Seychelles on the touristic scene. We did actually have a visit from a cruise-boat full of American tourists. The photos of their arrival were all over the newspapers, so exceptional was this. No more news filtered out, so we never learnt what happened to... [Lire la suite]
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03 novembre 2014

N'Gouja at sunset.

              The place goes crazy about once a year, fighting over things such as salaries, football matches and the price of chicken wings, but Mayotte can also be a very beautiful place when it sets its mind to it. These photos were taken last week at the most touristic beach in Mayotte, down south. It's called N'Gouja. The white beach. It's where all the m'zungus go on weekends and Wednesday afternoons (no school) to swim, laze on the beach and look at the turtles.      ... [Lire la suite]
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22 septembre 2014

Here we go again...

                      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... [Lire la suite]
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28 juillet 2014

This Little M'Zungu Went To Market... and she bought...

                    This is the outdoor market in Mamoudzou. Pretty much a permanent fixture, currently augmented reality thanks to the Ramadan market which has appended itself on top of the original. I'm quite pleased with these photos because photos of the market are hard to get, assuming you're being relatively polite and actually asking permission before getting the camera out... which is usually my case, but not this time. Three markets are pictured above, all in a... [Lire la suite]