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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10 juillet 2015


                  On my last day in Mayotte, I returned the flat keys in the morning, then went to see the man who was buying the car from me. When he had come to my flat to test-drive the car, he had brought a young mechanic with him, and hadn't actually driven the car at all. Today, he asked to drive the car round the block, and exclaimed vigourously at each noise or unusual movement in the car, such as the gear stick which was slightly loose. He then walked round the car and... [Lire la suite]
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06 juillet 2015

La Mangue Bleue

                  The Blue Mango now has t-shirts.                
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29 juin 2015


                      I've been fascinated by the mangrove since I arrived in Mayotte. The mangrove goes pretty much all round the island. From most points on the coast, you can either see it or smell it, or both. Mangrove trees are salt tolerant, and they have an very simple way of coping with the salt they're immersed in all day: they're mostly impermeable to the stuff, so it doesn't get much farther than the tree root. They also limit the amount of water lost from... [Lire la suite]
25 juin 2015

First Moon of Ramadan

  Seen from Mayotte, the moon looks like a smile.                      This is the first moon of Ramadan this year. Ramadan, or a period of roughly one month when Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, but gorge themselves on fried food and sugary treats at nightfall, comes a fortnight earlier each year, so you can predict its arrival to within a day or three. However, as with all important Muslim calendar days, the actual beginning of Ramadan depends on... [Lire la suite]
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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]

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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08 juin 2015

Protests in the Classroom

             Recently, just for the fun of it, I thought I'd get my kids riled up about something. So I started a nice, light and cheery series of lessons about world problems: racism, discrimination, poverty, starvation, the environment, war, deforestation, animal cruelty, you name it, we talked about it. After a brief spate of "this isn't our problem, why are we doing this, miss?", they got really into the subject and started coming up with interesting ideas. I taught them a few expressions... [Lire la suite]
01 juin 2015

Nanny, you probably don't want to know what I did last weekend.

             I recently had a couple of acquaintances over. The sort of people who'll give you absolutely no news for a year or so, then suddenly pop up out of the blue saying that they've bought plane tickets to Mayotte and can I put them up. They'd timed their visit to be here at the same time as a friend of theirs, a hiking guide on tour in Mayotte at the time, so they were off with him most of the time, which was fine as far as I was concerned. They didn't have anything planned for the... [Lire la suite]
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11 mai 2015

Market Day Has Gone Forever

                     There used to be two markets in Mamoudzou. The official one, and the clandestine one. The official one is under cover, in a fairly recent building where sellers rent out spaces the size of your average garage for 120€/month. Pretty expensive by Mahorese standards, and difficult to cover when your only customers are tourists who want to look round but would rather buy cheaper and better-quality clothes online. Add to that the fact that every seller is... [Lire la suite]
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