The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

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Rolling with that Cultural Flow...

Saturday, as I intimated in my "Here by Glimpses Known" post, mana_triniand I got to go to Lake Dziani. We did not go alone, nor did we go with the three kids we were planning to take to help them discover their island (despite the lake being only +/- 2 miles from here, the kiddos have never been). We also thought such an outing would give their mothers a "break."*  But things don't always go as planned, and instead of five adventurers, we ended up as a group of 12.

Around 9:30am, J and I went next door to get the kiddos. We came bearing a camera to record the big event,  brownies, and a couple of bottles of water, as well as a tupperware of brownies for the mothers to eat in peace. We asked if it would be okay if, after the hike, we took the kids to the ferry to eat manioc and grilled chicken wings. Sakina (mother to Florine, age 4) looked really confused, a bit upset, and then resigned and sad and said, "If you want."  Welllll, obviously something was wrong. After much questioning, we figured out that Sakina had misunderstood and thought "everyone"*** was invited. 

Say what?

So, we naturally closed our gaping mouths and mumbled, "Okay. Sure." Then comes the logistics, i.e. shuttling five adults, three kids, and two babies around. First, J took me to Dziani with Zelda, Naïm, and Florine. (Yes, people acturally trust me with their children.)

Then went back for the other adults and kiddos. He came back with three moms, two older girls, and two babies. 

And not only did they think we were going to walk up and look at the lake, they understood that we planned to have a collective voulé (cookout) on the beach. Er... So after a quick hike to the crater bottom, slip-sliding down the steep sere path and into the jungle of banana, coconut, mango, manioc, pineapple, papaya...

...we again did the taxi business to Badamier Beach. Once we dropped everyone off, we went to buy already-cooked chicken wings and soft drinks, and with the rice and boiled manoic leaves (stewed with coconut milk and fish) provided by the neighbors, we had a nice picnic. After eating, we swam and played cards and chinese checkers. 

(The trees with the russet leaves are badamiers.)

A good time was had by all, and whenever the mood strikes again, we'll do the real thing: a whole day spent at the beach, peeling and frying manioc, plantain bananas, and breadfruit, and grilling fish, chicken, and beef brochettes...

* When I explained this to the mothers afterwards, I realized what a foreign concept it was to them. They leave their kids with a friend/neighbor/relative when taking the children on errands is not pratical or possible, but they laughed when I said maybe they need a break.**

** Another parenting difference is the "protectiveness factor." In our street, of course they make the kids be careful when cars are coming, but in hiking down into the crater, Sakina was telling Florine (age 4 remember) to climb by herself (i.e. not to hold my hand) and to hurry, hurry, hurry down a steep, dusty, potholed path, when I know an American mother, say, would either be helping the kid or cautioning, "Slow down! Slow down!"

*** In the Mahorais culture, everything is group/family-oriented, and they always make enormous portions of food. It is not unusual to be invited by perfect strangers to share a meal, etc.

Tags: life in mayotte, mayotte, pics: mayotte, straddling that cultural divide

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