06 avril 2012


                 There are a few strikes going on at the moment, mostly led by the local health authorities. As we saw with what has come to be known as the révolte des mabawas, or chicken-wing riots, people who go on strike here tend to block the roads and throw stones at anybody who tries to come too near, especially policemen. The current strikes are about statuses. Mahorese health authorities want to have the same civil servant status as their French... [Lire la suite]
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14 février 2012

Inspector Valentine

I’m being inspected today. Inspections in the French education system aren’t like Ofsted ones: there’s only one inspector at a time, usually, and he or she’s only coming to inspect one particular teacher over one hourly period. The teacher is warned a couple of days in advance, and has to do all sorts of paperwork and preparation to be able to present a full lesson plan and a full sequence plan to the inspector. I’ve got to show mine everything I’ve done since August briefly, and the sequence of lessons I’m doing at the moment in... [Lire la suite]
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19 novembre 2011

The Motorbike Saga Begins

        First motorbike lesson today, called an evaluation lesson. First, the monitor sat two of us down and talked us through why we wanted to drive a motorbike, what were the pros and cons, what protective material we needed and what the exam was like. I now know that I’ll need to buy a motorbike jacket with good shoulder, elbow and back protection, as well as a pair of boots and a pair of gloves. I’ll buy those in France this December, they’re very expensive here. The monitor said that plenty... [Lire la suite]
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06 novembre 2011

Music in Mayotte

             This is the music group I’ve been with for a month so far. The level isn’t brilliant, but we get on well and are happy playing together. The group is called L'Amicale des Bretons de Mayotte. Marion plays the flute, the accordion and the piano. She started off with the piano years ago, went on to the accordion, but when she joined this group, there were already two accordions. She wanted to try a new instrument, they advised her to try the flute or the recorder,... [Lire la suite]
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20 octobre 2011

Opting out

 Mad at CRS riot police. This morning, while setting off for school, a colleague rang to say that he'd heard that there weren't any lessons today. Once there, some said that lessons should continue as normal - public service - whereas others said that it was too risky. So far, a 9-year-old boy has lost an eye, courtesy of a gendarme armed with flash-balls, and a 39-year-old man died yesterday while fighting against the police. There was a riot yesterday, which blocked all Mamoudzou (capital) and nearby towns. I was told it was... [Lire la suite]
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29 septembre 2011

He runs... he strikes !

               It was the school cross-country race today. All teachers and staff had to be present, even those on their day off, which happened to be my case. We were sent into the undergrowth to cheer the students on and to give out water and sugar where necessary. However, there was a strike the day before and today – they plan to go on for three months if they need to – the water bottle delivery hadn’t arrived, so there was no water to give out. The sports... [Lire la suite]
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24 août 2011

School has started.

         School started today, with the teachers getting together and meeting the heads. Quite an exotic-looking school, with coconut trees and banana trees growing in the playgrounds. The rooms themselves are pretty run-down, with flaking paint, windows that either don’t open or don’t have any glass in them, fans on the ceiling which don’t work because the fuses have blown and there aren’t any spare, no curtains on the windows because the school doesn’t have enough money... There are two TVs... [Lire la suite]
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