01 décembre 2014

The Fashion Salon

                          The Fashion Salon was last weekend. Not usually the type of event I go for, but there are few enough events of any sort in Mayotte for me to try and go to the ones there are. On Saturday evening, there was the fashion show and competition. Every year, they organize a competition around one particular type of material. Two years ago, it was Mahorese chiromani, a type of material often worn by ladies here. Last year, it was jute.... [Lire la suite]
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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]
03 novembre 2014

N'Gouja at sunset.

              The place goes crazy about once a year, fighting over things such as salaries, football matches and the price of chicken wings, but Mayotte can also be a very beautiful place when it sets its mind to it. These photos were taken last week at the most touristic beach in Mayotte, down south. It's called N'Gouja. The white beach. It's where all the m'zungus go on weekends and Wednesday afternoons (no school) to swim, laze on the beach and look at the turtles.      ... [Lire la suite]
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27 octobre 2014


        "Salam aleikoum." "Aleikoum salam. Gawamnono?" "Ndjema, hamdulillah!"   I've just got back from a week's holiday in Ngazidja, the largest of the four Comoros islands. They are known as Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli), Ndzuani (Anjouan) and Maoré (Mayotte). The last one is the subject of quite a lot of debate, as Mayotte belongs geographically to the Comoros archipel, but is administratively claimed by France. The Mahorese have taken this opportunity to lord it over the other... [Lire la suite]
20 octobre 2014

The Gesture Festival

          I'm a member of a community called Couchsurfing. The idea is to put up travellers and backpackers on your couch for a night or two, show them around a bit and make their stay more interesting than if they were in a hotel room on their own. It also works the other way round: you can "request a couch" wherever your next destination is. You tell the person when you will be arriving, they have a look at your "couchsurfing profile" and decide whether they want to put you up or not. There are usually... [Lire la suite]
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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]

15 septembre 2014

Cats and Miss.

             School's been back for three weeks now. I've met all my classes, and there's everything from sweetness and light to ear-splitting caterwauling in there. These are some photos of my school. Right at the top is the tropical almond (Terminalia Catappa, if you're interested) tree. Everything happens under that tree. That's where the kids line up to be taken to their next lesson, that's where they go when the fire alarm rings, and that's where the parent-teacher meetings begin... [Lire la suite]
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08 septembre 2014

The beginning of the end: my last back-to-school rush in Mayotte.

            School started again on August 25th. In Mayotte, the teaching profession has one of the highest turnovers I've ever seen. This year, only three new colleagues joined the English-teaching ranks in my school. Two had been teaching in various lycées before this year, and were still recoiling from the shock of collège. The kids are small... energetic... very noisy... don't understand this... aren't mature enough for that... and the new colleagues weren't quite sure what to make of them. The... [Lire la suite]
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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28 juillet 2014

This Little M'Zungu Went To Market... and she bought...

                    This is the outdoor market in Mamoudzou. Pretty much a permanent fixture, currently augmented reality thanks to the Ramadan market which has appended itself on top of the original. I'm quite pleased with these photos because photos of the market are hard to get, assuming you're being relatively polite and actually asking permission before getting the camera out... which is usually my case, but not this time. Three markets are pictured above, all in a... [Lire la suite]