20 mai 2013


               My school and most of my pupils belong to the village of Kawéni, between Mamoudzou and Majicavo-Lamir. Both village and school have quite a reputation. The village is known for being the starting point of most of the complaints, robberies, strikes and riots in Mayotte, as it's a poor suburb of the capital city. The school is famous for its disruptive pupils who come from extremely poor families. Currently, there are 1500 pupils, and we're expecting another 300 for next... [Lire la suite]

06 mai 2013

Salama Djema

             Mayotte is made up of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Petite-Terre. Between the two islands, the only means of transport is the ferry, known as the barge. There's even a verb for it: barger. Barging costs 75 centimes for a pedestrian, 2€ for a 50cc scooter, 4€ for a motorbike or scooter 125cc or above and 15€ for a car. You can buy books of ten tickets slightly cheaper, for example 7€ for ten pedestrian tickets. Some people live on one island and work on the other, some people... [Lire la suite]
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18 mars 2013

Moving House

                  When P and I came to Mayotte on August 15th 2011, we had only known for a short while that we - I, at any rate - would be moving at all. I remember searching the Internet for possible flats or flat shares, hunting all around the area of the island my school was in, preferably somewhere with electricity and running water, also preferably somewhere within walking distance of the school, just in case. There were two flats that sounded allright, the one I chose and another... [Lire la suite]
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14 janvier 2013

Food Shopping

                   P went back to France at the beginning of December. At one point, he had to go to the local supermarket to forage for food. He went round the supermarket with his mouth hanging open, so many products were there. So many products, and so many varieties of each product. The supermarket was a third of the size of the local Jumbo Score in Majicavo-Lamir, but there were easily three times as many products. Then, he went to pay for his shopping. Second shock. A basket... [Lire la suite]
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07 janvier 2013

Out of Place

                     Mayotte is a strange place to live in. On one hand, the country is a French department and has belonged to France for over a hundred years. You can find La Poste and the Conseil Général, every village has a Mairie (town hall) and often a boulangerie (baker's). Most people speak fairly fluent French. The school curriculum, the police and gendarmerie, the military system and the hospitals follow the same directions as in France. You can live among all-white... [Lire la suite]
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31 décembre 2012

Scenes in Mayotte

             Two Mahorese ladies, decorator and decoratee during a Tourism Committee festival. They draw geometrical figures and flowery shapes on their faces for all sorts of ceremonies, from weddings to end-of-year school parties, generally with a white paste. Sometimes, as they're already wearing their beauty masks, the drawings have to go over the top and aren't so easy to see.                  Typical view of a Mahorese village in the... [Lire la suite]
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24 décembre 2012

Rich gentlemen have it, boys!

                  On the last day of school, my class - MY class, the one I'm the main teacher of, the one I theoretically have the power of life and death over (or at least a say in what happens to them next year) - seemed rather excited. So did everybody. The holidays were to start in four hours, after all. They chatted to each other, both to their neighbours and across the room, got up and down, refused to sit in their places and seemed somewhat disinclined to calm down. ... [Lire la suite]
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18 octobre 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

             Happy Birthday Mum     Lots of love, Emily xxx               
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01 octobre 2012

The Motorbike Saga Ends Here.

            Good morning. Just to say that I passed my motorbike licence last Wednesday. It's a test which is in two parts, half on a quiet track, half on the road. On the track, we had to manoeuvre the bike around cones and sticks, first very slowly around cones which were close together, then a faster slalom over a hundred metres or so. On the road, we had to prove that we could drive the thing carefully and safely. We spent most of the allocated twenty-five minutes in the Mamoudzou traffic jams,... [Lire la suite]
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24 septembre 2012

Miss Mayotte

                      A few weeks ago, Mayotte 1ère, the department's main news and silly programme channel, held the Miss Mayotte for Miss France elections and narrowed the candidates down to five. The five almost-winners have been going round Mayotte showing themselves off recently, in places such as the swimming pool (there's only one, anyway) and the hairdresser's down the road from our flat. P saw them in there, apparently. Such excitement can barely be imagined, and I'm... [Lire la suite]
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