Mayotte being tiny, and affording few of the attractions of city life (for lack of sustenance, shopaholics simply wither away), the main weekend activity is the beach. The Mahorais tradition is to flock there for a voulé, which is basically a giant barbecue. Branches are cut, fires lit, pans of food prepared. The main staple is chicken wings and breadfruit. The chicken is bought in supermarkets by the carton: origin Brazil, 3 euros a kilo. Not exactly free range organic. The breadfruit is healthier, picked straight from the tree and either deep fried or tossed in the embers and baked.
Allah, of course, disapproves of alcohol, but appears to turn a blind eye at the voulé. Perhaps this explains why a couple of weeks ago, a young boy, whose parents were busy with the chicken and breadfruit, wandered off on his own and nearly drowned. One of the party later complained vociferously. “Beaches should be supervised! How can parents be expected to keep an eye on their children when the voulé is in full swing?” A voulé in Mayotte is a serious affair.