22 octobre 2012

Turtling

                         We've had friends from France over this week. This is the first time people have come into my flat to stay, but everything went well. After taking them to a beach near our flat for starters, we went to N'Gouja beach to go turtle-hunting. N'Gouja is about an hour's drive from the flat, it's the main "white beach" of Mayotte. Almost everybody is white and armed with a mask, tuba and flippers. The beach itself is well-known for its turtles,... [Lire la suite]
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15 octobre 2012

The Second Annual Folk Ball

                           We held our Second Annual Folk Ball in Mamoudzou at the end of September. Good fun, and much better organized than the first time. The first time we tried to do this, there were three different groups : Philippe and I, called "Philem", the group I showed you a while ago, called "Folkylang", and a group composed of various musicians from all areas, called "La Mangue Bleue". We played one after the other, danced quite a bit, but didn't do... [Lire la suite]
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08 octobre 2012

Let the Teacher do the Work

                  Recently, I've been taking my kids into the computer room. For a start, there are 15 computers, 4 of which don't work but which all the kids absolutely want to try anyway, "I'm sure I can make it work, Miss". Of course, they can't, so we all get frustrated.        Instruction n°1 : Switch the PC on. "Miss, what's a PC?" "A computer." "Miss, I haven't got a username or password, last year's don't work." "That's OK, use the ones on the board." ... [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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17 septembre 2012

Daytime Fireworks

            In a tropical country, I have just found out that this is the single most important item to have in the house. It's light, it's colourful, it plugs in and it produces fireworks. It's wonderful. Buying a mosquito racket does strange things to the mind.                         
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10 septembre 2012

Sea's out.

      Last weekend, yet another beautiful day, how tiring ;). School has been back for three weeks, so like every other teacher on the island, we went to the beach. At low tide. Very low tide. So low that we could actually walk right up to the coral reef drop-off, the part where the coral suddenly falls away and you can see a lot of coral and fish. A little hard under the feet, because there were bits of coral and various assorted rocks everywhere, it was a case of finding the least pointy bits to walk on, but... [Lire la suite]
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20 août 2012

M'lima Choungui

              Last Sunday, we did a very touristy and rather stupid thing. We decided to go up the Mount Choungui, known as M'lima Choungui. We'd seen it plenty of times from a distance, we have friends who've gone up it, and it was starting to seem as though everybody had gone up except us. So we dragged a friend into the bargain - Franck, he of the sailing boat, who had taken us out in his boat the week before to try out his new sail. He brought his 15-year-old son, and we all drove down... [Lire la suite]
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06 août 2012

Population Study episode 1 : Bouénis

              Bouéni means "madam" in Shimaoré. It's the name given to all married women, or those who look old enough to be married. It's more than a name, though, it's a way of life.                 Bouénis are the ones who have all the power in Mahorese societies. They're the ones who own the houses, do the shopping, look after the children, work at the markets, they're the ones you see most of, with their brightly-coloured salouvas and sparkly tops.... [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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