25 février 2013

Pretty Yellow Flowers

          Yesterday, I went with the association I play music for to a farming establishment which I'd heard about before, because one of the owners has a stall at the big monthly market where she sells fruit, vegetables, juice, jam, ylang-ylang essential oil and vanilla. She's married to a Mahorese man named Fouadi, and they cultivate everything they sell. Every Sunday, they organise visits of the farm, where you can come and see how they cultivate and distil the ylang-ylang flowers to obtain essential oil... [Lire la suite]
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14 janvier 2013

Food Shopping

                   P went back to France at the beginning of December. At one point, he had to go to the local supermarket to forage for food. He went round the supermarket with his mouth hanging open, so many products were there. So many products, and so many varieties of each product. The supermarket was a third of the size of the local Jumbo Score in Majicavo-Lamir, but there were easily three times as many products. Then, he went to pay for his shopping. Second shock. A basket... [Lire la suite]
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07 janvier 2013

Out of Place

                     Mayotte is a strange place to live in. On one hand, the country is a French department and has belonged to France for over a hundred years. You can find La Poste and the Conseil Général, every village has a Mairie (town hall) and often a boulangerie (baker's). Most people speak fairly fluent French. The school curriculum, the police and gendarmerie, the military system and the hospitals follow the same directions as in France. You can live among all-white... [Lire la suite]
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31 décembre 2012

Scenes in Mayotte

             Two Mahorese ladies, decorator and decoratee during a Tourism Committee festival. They draw geometrical figures and flowery shapes on their faces for all sorts of ceremonies, from weddings to end-of-year school parties, generally with a white paste. Sometimes, as they're already wearing their beauty masks, the drawings have to go over the top and aren't so easy to see.                  Typical view of a Mahorese village in the... [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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03 décembre 2012

Saying Goodbye to Philippe

            Before P left, we had a party with the music group and the dancers to say goodbye. Every two weeks, the main dancer holds a dance workshop at his home, where anyone who so wishes can turn up and learn a few traditional dancers. Usually, a couple of musicians from the group turn up as well - whoever's available, really, not usually P and I because it's a bit far away. This time, we rescheduled the workshop so that everybody could be there. We played the pieces we felt like playing, rather... [Lire la suite]
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26 novembre 2012

Things pupils say.

                        I love it when... I love it when my pupils can't quite speak properly, but they try anyway. Faced with a picture of a baby learning to walk, they say: "She is learning to go". Brilliant. Sometimes, this turns into rather long-winded explanations because they don't know the exact English word and are determined to manage with the vocabulary they have, for example "the machine where we put the clothes wash and who turn the powder and the water... [Lire la suite]
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19 novembre 2012

High heels and red carpets

               On Saturday, we went to the annual Fashion Salon in M'Gombani. Except that this year, we didn't just go round the stalls outside which were selling colourful African printed material and bamboo sticks: we stayed for the fashion show itself. It started off with a contest: take a typical Mahorese material called chiromani, which is used for a lot of traditional salouvas here, and turn it into something wearable. Five judges will say what they think.        ... [Lire la suite]
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05 novembre 2012

Dziani Dzaha II

         You may remember a map similar to this one. There's a pretty lake on the small island, and we took our friends round it to show them what it was like. A fairly long walk to get to the top, but definitely worth it once we got there.                       We started off from home in the car - a two-seater, so two in the front and two sitting backwards in the (rather uncomfortable) boot - and took the ferry to the small island. We'd taken off... [Lire la suite]
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29 octobre 2012

Glass-bottomed boats make the world go round

                     There are several companies which offer boat trips in and around the lagoon, generally to see whales and dolphins. We'd heard of one which had a boat with a glass bottom, so we put our names down and took our friends out in that for the day.                         We went over coral reefs, we ate local food on a beach called the Prefect's Beach, or plage du préfet, we went to see a... [Lire la suite]
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