06 janvier 2014

Overseas Women

                        There was a national photography competition in France not long ago, whose title was: "Overseas Women". As the Mahorese people didn't like the results, saying they weren't representative enough of women in the French overseas territories, they had their very own competition, open only to those who lived in Mayotte. This was the winning photograph. A young Mahorese woman, smartphone in hand and laptop... well, on lap. Busy... [Lire la suite]
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30 décembre 2013

Sleeping Bouéni

            In England or France, shopkeepers and shop assistants are always on their toes. And on yours, half of the time. They're always alert, they're always looking for something to offer you to make you stay a little longer and buy something else. They'll say hello, they'll ask you questions, they'll offer to take your things for you and they'll find stuff you can't. Then, when you've bought whatever it is and are ready to leave, they'll wish you a nice day and request that you come again, as your... [Lire la suite]
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16 décembre 2013

Idiots

           I read an article the other day which began like this : "When you’re driving, everybody else on the road is an idiot and it’s your job to watch out". In Mayotte, driving is more than just a daily occurrence aiming to get a person from point A to point B. It's a full-on, head-to-head, protect-your-teeth rugby match. Everybody else (who shall be termed from now on "the idiots") isn't necessarily aggressive. They don't particularly want to push you off the road or to smash into you, but... [Lire la suite]
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02 décembre 2013

On the Art of Little Pots

                         In Mayotte, one of the most useful things you can buy in the local supermarket is a Tupperware (or similar) container. Here, the brand is Eda, so they're Eda containers. They come in all shapes and sizes and are absolutely wonderful. The reason for this is that anything that is sold in paper or cardboard packaging needs to be removed from its packaging upon arrival at home and instantly transferred into a container. And, in turn, the reason... [Lire la suite]
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18 novembre 2013

Striking Teachers.

            Before the school holidays, the French authorities started talking about their civil servants. Specifically the civil servants working overseas. As you already know, all French civil servants receive bonuses for working in the French overseas territories such as Mayotte, French Guyana or New Caledonia. These bonuses are calculated according to the civil servant's salary: at the start of your career, you get a 10,000-euro bonus, at the end of your career, you're closer to a 35,000-euro... [Lire la suite]
11 novembre 2013

Breton Rock

                     I've been playing quite a bit of music recently. You see, a group I'd never met and I were hired for a "Breton rock concert" at a bar. We were hired on Sunday. The concert was to be on the following Friday. The group was already formed, and I was supposed to join it just for this concert. This got off the ground because I happened to know one of the musicians. Out of six musicians, only two had ever played rock before. Two others were classical musicians,... [Lire la suite]
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04 novembre 2013

Chicken wings again

           Mayotte is a French department and therefore receives all the French adverts. The TV adverts stay exactly the same, advertising things that haven't made it as far as Mayotte yet, but the paper adverts are tailored to local taste, one might say. You might remember the Ramadan adverts I put on the blog a few months ago. The one above is a current ad by the Orange phone company for a new phone plan. Its slogan is "Pay less, that's more chicken wings".         
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07 octobre 2013

Those who can, cook. Those who can't, eat.

         I've been teaching my students about food recently, as you saw in the recent blog post about the European classes. They love learning the English words for their local fruit and vegetables: cassava, breadfruit, chicken wings... they're shouting over each other to get the answers out. Unfortunately, they shout it out in Shimaorese first. When I complain, they shout in French. So I point to the giant "WHAT'S THE ENGLISH FOR...?" sign at the back of the room. Everybody suddenly goes quiet, you can... [Lire la suite]
15 juillet 2013

Tsumu n'djema wa aïd m'baraka

            Ramadan started last Wednesday. People started rushing into various markets and supermarkets to buy the necessary food for the feast before the fast. In Mayotte, celebratory foods include mabawas (chicken wings), green bananas, cassava, breadfruit, goat meat and alcohol. Mothers spent ages cooking for their families, and the evening before Ramadan, everybody got together to have a whopping meal. Rice isn't a popular food any more, as it's considered as a "staple" food and therefore not... [Lire la suite]
01 juin 2013

Bigfruit

        I just thought I'd show you the rather large papaya I bought at the market in Coconi this morning. It measures 42 cm, the size of a smallish baby, and it's about the same weight at 3.3kg. It's not ripe yet, but you're welcome to come and share it in a few days!                     
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