Welcome back to Mafate for another Mafatenglish. It’s been another great couple of days. I think the thing that stands out for me here in Mafatenglish is in fact having three different roles when I come down.

First of all as a teacher, first and foremost. It really is a great pleasure to come here and see the progress that the people of Mafate are making. Yes, their level is not fantastic – we’re talking false beginners, pre-intermediates, but they so want to learn. And let’s not forget, here in Mafate, they need it so much more than other people around the coast who may never see a tourist in all their lives.

The second role that I feel I’m playing here is also one of a tourist. Because when we come down and do our Mafatenglish sessions we do a lot of roleplays and dialogues, pretending that I’m the tourist, and they are themselves of course, and we enact the dialogues to see how they’ve learned their vocabulary. And as a tourist I look around and I think ‘wow, this really is exceptional.’ It’s a beautiful place, it’s clean – really clean! This always impresses me. Even though there are some people who may criticize certain parts of Reunion, saying it’s not clean – here, everything in Mafate I’ve seen has been spotless.

Let’s not forget that I started in Le Maido, I’m in La Nouvelle, going to Aurere, going to Lataniers, so I see pretty much a lot of the main footpaths…… Another thing I notice is that sometimes people say that La Nouvelle is too touristy. Well I think, yes, there are a lot of gîtes being opened, but I think the fact that we have so much choice now is wonderful. We have different choices of beer, different choices of wine, even champagne if you want it – we saw that this lunchtime. Cobie did want to buy a bottle but I persuaded her not to. She’s probably got one in her bag, though…

And I think the third role for me is as a runner, a mountain runner. I wouldn’t describe myself as an athlete – my years of athletics have gone, but the fact of running across Mafate gives one this sense of liberty, a sense of freedom. Sometimes people say “God, are you crazy? 10 hours or 15 hours of running, doing sport?” Possibly, yes! But some people like paragliding, some people like collecting ceramic unicorns, I just love running in Mafate. So once again, it’s been a wonderful experience, and I look forward to coming back here as soon as possible.

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