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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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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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]
08 mai 2014

Salouva Deba

          Most Mahorese women dress in a salouva, which is a big cotton tube knotted around the chest and which falls down to the feet. Underneath the salouva, they usually wear a sparkly t-shirt, or one with artistically cut-out pieces made to resemble flowers or geometrical shapes. The most traditional ladies - generally the older ones - also wear a skirt underneath, which has a recognizable jagged bottom made of lace. The traditional Mahorese salouva is worn with a kishali on the head or over one... [Lire la suite]
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15 juillet 2013

Tsumu n'djema wa aïd m'baraka

            Ramadan started last Wednesday. People started rushing into various markets and supermarkets to buy the necessary food for the feast before the fast. In Mayotte, celebratory foods include mabawas (chicken wings), green bananas, cassava, breadfruit, goat meat and alcohol. Mothers spent ages cooking for their families, and the evening before Ramadan, everybody got together to have a whopping meal. Rice isn't a popular food any more, as it's considered as a "staple" food and therefore not... [Lire la suite]
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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23 juillet 2012

Ben and Toirfia

                                  We went to our Very First Grand Wedding on Friday. Just part of it. Grand Weddings in Mayotte generally take place in the austral winter months, read from June to September. Weddings here are very ritualised occasions. For months before the wedding, the girl's family must completely furnish a house for her, the boy's family must prepare a suitcase full of clothes and accessories which he will give to the... [Lire la suite]
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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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02 décembre 2011

Playing dress-up

          I went to the Mayotte M'Gombani Fashion Salon today, as you can probably see from the photos. Different creators were holding stands with their various wares: trousers and tops, colourful dresses, earrings, necklaces, oven mitts (rather the odd one out), one stand of local food and one of beauty products. Beauty products here are henna and m'dzindzano. Henna is used to decorate girls' hands and to dye hair, and m'dzindzano is the local beauty mask. It's made of sandalwood... [Lire la suite]
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28 novembre 2011

What Not To Wear

               Before coming to Mayotte, I’d looked them up in books and on websites, talked to people about them, looked into what was available locally. I’d looked into the materials that went into making them and how said materials would stand the test of time, humidity, dust and daily use. I’d asked about religious customs, what was acceptable and what wasn’t. I’d bought plenty over the Internet and in shops in Poitiers. I felt ready, or if I wasn’t, it’d... [Lire la suite]
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