This was one long day that started in Moroni. I was ready to get to the hotel and sleep, but this was not the case. We got to the next school and there was a proper baraza here. Everyone was sitting outside under tents, dancers welcomed us, we were dressed in mushaino (glitter ribbons.) An announcement was made about the project we were working on. I was called to the podium and gave a 2 minute speech about our project – as best as I could without any preparation. Some prayers started and ended the meeting. Though I didn’t quite understand what was going on, I was able to understand a little more when people mixed French and Shikomori. For my benefit they called the English teacher at the school to the podium to give a speech in English. It was so unfortunate. His speech in English was worse than my speech in French – and he was the English teacher….An interesting thing I noted was that in Comoros most of the school directors were women. I remember looking it up later and realizing that though the island is still plagued by issues such as child marriages, girls not being educated as much as boys etc, in certain spheres of society there is more equality among the sexes than one would expect.
On our route home, we passed by the Ylang Ylang forest from my previous post. It was magical – even at that late hour and after a physically exhausting day. Driving through the mountains though was a bit scary as the roads are very narrow and full of turns – at each turn, the driver would hoot to alert other drivers that we were coming. I think the reason we didn’t see any accidents though was because in Moheli the number of cars I saw during that full trip would not fill a small mall’s parking lot. The island also does only have less than 50,000 people.
We got to our hotel at 8:30pm and it was a wonder – not in your typical way. There was no internet. Gosh – I am clearly a millennial if that was my first complaint….The toilet did not flush. There was a bucket of water by the toilet to flush it. The showers had no water – there was another bucket of water for showering.
Dinner was amazing though - despite all the other challenges. I had fish and potatoes for dinner. After dinner, when we got to the doors of our rooms – the local consultant hugged me goodnight. It was very strange, but I chose to assume that this was a norm in Comoros.