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]

26 mai 2014

Kids

         Adults in Mayotte don't really like the camera lens. There is a belief that being photographed removes a part of your soul, but it's usually closer to not liking white tourists taking photos of "locals" doing "local things". Which is fair enough and perfectly understandable. Most people probably wouldn't like a foreigner pointing a camera at them while they're just going about their business as usual. However, the kids love the camera. They'll play up to it, smile, group together and make signs... [Lire la suite]
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19 mai 2014

Repoblikan'i Madagasikara : a visiting vazaha.

                   Just spent a week in Madagascar, and absolutely fell in love with the place. It's beautiful. It started off with a rather strange idea of going to Antsiranana - more pronounceably known as Diego Suarez - to learn to kitesurf. One of those all-inclusive holidays where you have a bed, food and kitesurfing lessons all rolled into one package, and they even send a taxi to fetch you at the airport. The airline company for Madagascar is Air Madagascar.... [Lire la suite]
30 septembre 2013

Parent-Teacher Meeting

                       It was National Parent-Teacher Meeting Day on Saturday. You can thank the Vice-Rectorate for that. What a mess. It started off innocently enough. Instead of each school organizing its own PT meeting, the high education authority in Mayotte decided to set one morning aside for all the schools to have their meetings at the same time. Saturday 28th September, from 7.30 to 11.30. So far, so good. Our school had planned on getting the teachers to show... [Lire la suite]
23 septembre 2013

National Horse Day.

              Yesterday was National Horse Day. No, I hadn't heard of it before either. The one and only horse-riding club in Mayotte had put balloons up everywhere and was having a field day, showing off its good pupils and taking kids for rides on small ponies. It's quite a big place, actually, with a big paddock and apparently ten horses, of which we saw four. All the kids who were going anywhere near a horse had helmets, jodhpurs, boots and whips, which surprised me for Mayotte. Then again,... [Lire la suite]
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01 avril 2013

It's raining.

                 Tropical rain isn't anything like European rain. It's not cold, for a start, there's none of that freezing drizzle that bites into your skin and makes you huddle inside your anorak. You can go out in the rain here and actually stay under it for as long as you wish, it really isn't cold. The cold comes if there's wind, or if you come into an air-conditioned room once you're soaking wet. Because soaking wet you inevitably become. There aren't stages of rain here, going... [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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17 décembre 2012

Please do not spit in the hospital. Thank you.

               We went on a boat trip the other day with our friend Franck and a friend of his, a doctor named Brigitte. We now know that... The most wide-spread illnesses in Mayotte are high blood pressure and diabetes. However, the women may be fat, they never suffer from varicose veins. In Mayotte, the women carry anything that needs carrying (boxes, shopping baskets...) on their heads. This leads to strong straight spines and heads held high, no spine deformations originating... [Lire la suite]
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06 août 2012

Population Study episode 1 : Bouénis

              Bouéni means "madam" in Shimaoré. It's the name given to all married women, or those who look old enough to be married. It's more than a name, though, it's a way of life.                 Bouénis are the ones who have all the power in Mahorese societies. They're the ones who own the houses, do the shopping, look after the children, work at the markets, they're the ones you see most of, with their brightly-coloured salouvas and sparkly tops.... [Lire la suite]
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