22 juin 2015

Girls, tyres and ministers, oh my!

                  Last Saturday was the tyre-race. Just to be different, I'd decided that this year, I wanted to run with a big tyre, a lorry tyre, one of those huge things that come up to about chest level. I knew the time-keeper for the tyre race, so I talked him into creating a category for me and letting a team of girls run with the big tyres, which has never been done before as only men have attempted this feat in the past. However, we did adapt it just a little:... [Lire la suite]

25 mai 2015

Salouvas for All

    Clockwise from top left: Samianti, Nisma, me, Nadhrati, Moinécha, Moinécha's boyfriend Matthias (who ended up in the photo for some reason), Hoby, Chaharazadi, Djaha, Nabaouya, Laïla and Nassifanya. And the odd unrecognizable fuzzy student.                    My kids have been lovely recently. Some of them, anyway. It started off with Fatima, who gave me an envelope at the start of one lesson, saying that I absolutely must wait until I got home to open it. Inside... [Lire la suite]
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30 mars 2015

Dictionaries in an English lesson.

                This is what happened when I asked some of the girls in my class to give out the dictionaries. They walked all round the classroom with a couple of dictionaries on their heads, handed the dictionaries out to the other students, went back to the cupboard and put another couple of dictionaries on their heads, then started again. Keeps your hands free, you see.            
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05 janvier 2015

Bangas

                  Another fairly recent series of photos by a local magazine called 101 District. Mayotte is France's 101st department, so that number comes around quite a bit. Above are the boys' lodgings. At age 17 or so, the Mahorese tradition wants boys to build a cabin out of wattle and daub, or, more recently, out of corrugated iron. They carefully and brightly decorate these cabins, which then act as a home to the boy and his friends. He will bring girls back to this cabin... [Lire la suite]
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23 juin 2014

Les Bigoudènes En Folie

                           It's tyre-racing time.  The Bretons of Mayotte have two teams, one all-female, one all-male. The leader of the Bretons works in the police station and usually manages to rope in a team of policemen/women. He'd managed it last year, and had seemed to manage it this year as well. He'd asked me if I wanted to take part again, and I'd said yes please, and I have a friend who'd like to run as well. He therefore left two spaces in... [Lire la suite]
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15 avril 2013

Who let the kids out?

          Last Thursday, I was called in to replace a sick colleague on a school trip. The idea was to take a class of 14-year-olds to visit the remains of a sugar-cane factory, a copra dryer and a museum about ylang-ylang flowers and vanilla. Two teachers, twenty-nine students, one bus. Should be interesting. The class was - and still is, for that matter - my worst class, which didn't help. They were the other teacher's worst class too. Bright kids, but just so noisy... the sort of class where you can... [Lire la suite]

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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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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02 août 2012

M'biwi Contest II : been there, done that, the t-shirt didn't fit.

               Thought you might be interested in seeing what the m'biwi contest was actually like. Quite impressive actually.             M'biwi contest
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09 juillet 2012

M'biwi Contest

                   On a Sunday at the end of last month, there was the 2nd M'biwi Contest. M'biwi is a ceremony which is generally practised during weddings or other big occasions. It's a women's ceremony. They sit on the floor and bang two pieces of bamboo together to emit a clacking sound, and by hitting the sticks twice or three times each, they create various rythms, ta-TAC-ta-ta-TAC or TAC-a-tac-a-tac. They often sit in a ring, and two women at a time get up and dance facing... [Lire la suite]
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