02 mars 2015

Grating coconut

                     In Mayotte, coconut and coconut milk are frequently used in cooking. Mataba, one of the most common dishes here, is made by mashing cassava leaves and mixing them with coconut milk, sometimes adding meat or fish later on. Fish and chicken are regularly cooked with coconut and coconut milk to make poisson coco or poulet coco. Kakamoku is soup made of fish heads cooked in coconut milk. You can eat that in most local restaurants, and you might... [Lire la suite]
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15 décembre 2014

The teacher is in the hammock.

             A colleague used to draw these cartoons about Mahorese women, known as bouénis. This is one he drew for me, turning the bouénis into English teachers... hard at work!         
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06 janvier 2014

Overseas Women

                        There was a national photography competition in France not long ago, whose title was: "Overseas Women". As the Mahorese people didn't like the results, saying they weren't representative enough of women in the French overseas territories, they had their very own competition, open only to those who lived in Mayotte. This was the winning photograph. A young Mahorese woman, smartphone in hand and laptop... well, on lap. Busy... [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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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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25 septembre 2011

Dress codes

At the airport          The traditional dress here is called a salouva, and they have a turban on their head, known as a kishali, often just worn as a scarf over the head. It’s all very colourful, though probably not terribly practical. Salouvas are made from three lengths of material sewn together, basically a long tube of material which is about 1m50 in diameter. Girls and women here wrap themselves in this material, knotting it in front. The salouvas don’t seem to stay up that well, as... [Lire la suite]
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