Mirror Reflections – Mayotte & Russia


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Life in Mayotte

Comoros is one of the poorest countries in the world while Mayotte, 70km away, is part of the European Union (EU) and is rich. With the economic disparity between the two islands widening, an increasing number of impoverished Comoran migrants are braving the ocean swells in search of a better life.

The voyage in rickety wooden vessels, known as kwassa-kwassa, is not without risk: Although there are no reliable statistics, most estimates put fatalities at between 200 and 500 a year.

“Many children try to get across, often alone – they are sent by their families. Some are as young as 10 or 11 but it is worth the risk, because here [Mayotte] they can have a life,” Hamada Bouhoutane (not his real name) told IRIN………..

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Life in Russia

Russia is a mysterious place which makes Moneron Island just that more of a mystery. This “small and lifeless” island is the only island of the Kuril archipelago that is washed by the warm, narrow Tsusima Stream coming from the subtropical south. The history around this little paradise dates back to the 1700’s before this time it’s like it never existed. It was first discovered by a Japanese samurai by the name of Murakami Hironori who put Moneron Island on the navigation maps of Japan. Then again in the 1800’s it was rediscovered by by explorer Jean-François de La Pérousewho put it on the navigation maps of Europe. When Count de La Pérouse came across the desert island, in his ships the Astrolabe and the Boussole during a expedition for France, he named it after his officer Paul Moneron who was an engineer on-board. Moneron was given the task to map the island that named after him…………

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