11 juillet 2015

Kwahéri Maoré

          When I arrived at my Mahorese school, I met several teachers who were in their last year in Mayotte. And universally, they told me that when you're in your last year, you're already at your destination in your mind. One, named Henri Denglades, was going back to his native French Guyana at the end of that school year. From September until the end of the year, he was mentally already there, thinking about how he would see his family again and reclaim his house. Every month of his last school year,... [Lire la suite]
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15 juin 2015


               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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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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04 août 2014

Mayotte has a brand new airport.

            Above, the old airport arrival hall. Three hundred people in a very small space with a small conveyor belt, and one or two men in the middle of the conveyor belt, pushing the bags together in order to fit more bags on the belt. You see, the belt would quickly become full up, and the owners of the offending luggage would always arrive last. A couple of fans in the middle of the ceiling would distribute the bad spent-the-night-in-the-plane-and-could-do-with-a-shower smells as evenly as... [Lire la suite]
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02 juin 2014


           I'm currently writing a lesson plan on graffiti and street art, the idea being to teach the kids what the point of each is and how to tell the difference. As there are a lot of tags here, I wanted to start off with pictures of graffiti around their home village in the hopes that they would recognize some of it and be able to find the rest pretty easily. What started off as a short trip down the main road turned into a two-hour photo safari throughout the village, with cries of "Miss... [Lire la suite]
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29 mai 2014


           There are lots of cars in Mayotte, many more than the roads can provide for in terms of capacity and maintenance. But one is above all. One car to rule them all. One car to find them. One car to bring them all and in the potholes bind them. In the land of Mayotte where the flags and doll-heads lie.                          Apparently a long time ago, before most of the ornaments were added. Still worth remarking he... [Lire la suite]
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03 février 2014

Total Jumbo Strike

            There are two big strikes going on at the moment. And being Mayotte, where nothing really ever goes as planned, they're both worth a mention.                                 The first - and bigger - is the Total strike. Total is the one and only petrol provider in Mayotte, the group has a complete monopolis over the island. But the problem doesn't come from Total itself. The problem comes from the Overseas... [Lire la suite]
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16 décembre 2013


           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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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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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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