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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19 janvier 2015

Lille

                   Two British Rail trains, four Underground trains and two Eurostar trains. I don't mind travelling, really. I'm not keen on all the waiting around that has to be done in airports and train stations, and I'd rather not have to justify my identity and defend my presence every ten seconds, but the actual act of travelling - the sitting down, eating, reading, playing silly games or watching incomprehensible films - is fine. I also very much enjoy the arrival at... [Lire la suite]
24 novembre 2014

Transfer time.

               It's transfer time. The server opened yesterday, so I've been busy choosing where I want to go next year. Not that I actually get an awful lot of say in the matter, but I do get a chance to express my wishes, if in vain most of the time. In French education and civil servancy in general, transfers are based on a points system. You get points for staying for chunks of four years in the same school, as they don't like it when you move around too much. You get points for being... [Lire la suite]
06 octobre 2014

Salon du Tourisme

                              A few photos from the Salon du Tourisme which took place this weekend. Mayotte is involoved in several programs such as the Vanilla Islands Program, there's one about the Indian Ocean as well... the general idea is to try and convince tourists that Mayotte is a nice place to spend a holiday. Unfortunately, this point of view is not shared by most of the population. Most white expats would like to turn Mayotte... [Lire la suite]
10 février 2014

Dancing Nyota

           There's been a folk-dancing workshop for the last few years here. It started the year I arrived in Mayotte, and was under the name of the Bretons de Mayotte association. Now, it's led by a man who has lived all over France, travelled all over Africa, speaks eighteen languages such as Indonesian, Malagasy, Bislama, Dioula, Wolof, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, Fulfulde and Quechua along with English, French, Italian and Portuguese, and who seems able to do anything from plaiting leaves to make... [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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13 janvier 2014

Pink bags and blue boxes

            In Mayotte, people don't fret about big travel bags, careful packaging, luggage straps and padlocks. They don't worry about their big black case being indistinguishable from everybody else's big black cases on the luggage carousel. They don't bother repackaging their stuff so that it all fits nicely together. Quite the contrary. The ideal luggage here is ready to be transported, solid and re-usable upon arrival.                    ... [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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10 août 2011

Numbers

          Mayotte, Maoré or Jazirat al Mawet (the Island of Death - very reassuring) is the 101st French department, as from May 2011. It's a collection of several small islands in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar. Its total population is 209 530 mostly spread over two main islands, "Petite Terre" and "Grande Terre". The small island is 6km long. The big island is 20km by 40km. The total area of Mayotte is 376km². We're leaving for Mayotte on 14th August 2011. The train... [Lire la suite]