The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer
mnfaure

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Addendum to Choungi

For what was, I think, the first time, I got a distinctly unfriendly vibe from the Mahorais during the Choungi outing, aside from the rude woman at the roadblock, I mean. Because we didn't take the same path down the mountain, we obviously didn't come out of the forest at the same spot. Instead of happening on the road, we came out in the middle of Choungi village. We got several hostile looks and no one responded to our hellos (to be fair, the man who lived at foot of the path on the village outskirts *was* friendly). As we were walking the kilometer or so back to our car, a group of five teenaged boys were giving us the evil eye and looking a bit too longingly at our camcorder. I thought Julien was going to have to use my newly-found quern stone* to defend us. Who knows what they would have tried if the village had been out of sight.

Many people (French and other non-Mahorais folk) have commented on the lack of welcome they feel here in Mayotte, on the rudeness, or lack of hospitality on the part of the natives. J and I haven't ever really remarked it; perhaps because we pretty much keep to ourselves and tend to treat others as we expect to be treated. Anyhow, the south has a reputation for being more authentic culture-wise (hence more closed), but we haven't gotten this impression from villages down there before. However, Choungi is a bit isolated, so perhaps there are few foreigners living there (yet I know plenty of mouzoungous pass through to climb the peak).  

Sadly, there was no "Look at the people with a different skin color" feeling to it. It was very aggressive. Julien summed it up perfectly when he said, "I feel we aren't wanted here."

*I've been on the lookout for a good quern stone ever since Sakina showed me how they make their masalas. Mortars and pestles just don't cut it, or grind it, as the case may be. Luckily I spied the stone near the bottom of the path. ^_^ Now I need to find a nice rounded handstone and I'm in business.
 
Tags: hiking, mayotte
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