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Séléa

Séléa Bambao The village of Selea-Bambo is situated in the Bambao region in Grande Comore. Bambao is one of the largest and most well-known regions of Grande Comore. The capital of Grande Comore, Moroni, is located in the Bambao region.

Bambao consists of sixteen villages and towns. Many of the villages lie linearly along near the sea. Others lie high the mountains and hills. Most of the region is rural and comprises farm land and forests. Nowadays deforestation for more farmland and housing threatens nature. When Mount Kartala erupts, the effects are observed in the region including Selea.

Grande Comore is the biggest island of the Comoros. It has an area of 442 square miles (1,146 square kilometers). The northern two third of the Island are dominated by rocky plain known as La Grille. The southern third of the Island is dominated by an active volcano, (Kartala), which stand over 7700 feet (236 meters) higher. Kartala's crater is nearly a mile in diameter, making it probably the largest active crater in the world. Since 1857 there have been over a dozen eruptions with lava flows, which covered one part of the Bambao region. The area, which the eruptions of 1857 have covered became the place where the village of Selea is based. The most extensive was that of 1918 and the most recent serious eruption occurred in 1977.

Selea-Bambao is relatively small with a population of around 2500 inhabitants. Half of the village population is young people, mainly female.

The village went through transformation throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The size of the village grew and the population increased very rapidly. Most of the young people tend to migrate in large numbers to go as far as the European countries, particularly France searching job opportunities. However, quite a few numbers of the youth could be found in some Arab countries pursuing education, or even looking for works.

The village has seen a high increase in its population between 1976 up to the present time. One of the major reason of this sharp increase was due to the returning of many Comorian, who were living in the Giant Island of Madagascar nearby. Furthermore, the Comorian families, are quite large for the fact that having two wives ( polygyny) has been widely practiced in Grande Comore for many years. However, these days having two wives has become less practiced and less accepted by many young people, especially those with relatively good standard of education. They see nothing wrong with the practice itself but they are against the conditions in which it is practised especially the poor financial means.

Grande Comore in general has a rapid growing on the population throughout 1976 up to 2000, in every Comorian Town and village, but here we will base our observations and focus mainly on the village of Selea-Bambao.

During the past 20 years at least, a large number of many citizens of Selea-Bambao, young and middle aged, males and females from different background were leaving the village to go as far as the Middle Eastern countries. Some parts of the Africa continent and European countries searching for new life and living. Leaving the country and go abroad to search for life and living is a common practice among many Grande Comorian at large. Perhaps the major reason that although the birth rate is increasing dramatically the population of the Island is growing slower than expected from such high birth rate.

Nearly every Selean family unit has at least three or four members living abroad, mainly in France, in Paris, Marseille or Lyon. Generally the Comorian people, through many generations, have enjoyed a long legacy of emigrating to live abroad. The most popular destination during 1950 to 1972 was the nearby giant Island of Madagascar. Comorians emigrated to the largest cities in Madagascar such as Majunga, Diego Souares and Antananarivo the largest and capital city of Madagascar because they found them easier to settle quickly and comfortable. These Cities were heavily populated by many Comorians during the period of 1940s to 1973.

Selea-Bambao had at least a quarter of its population living in many cities, towns and villages in Madagascar. Most of them returned to the village after the war, which was conducted by the Malagassy against the Comorians. The village lost two of its citizens in this war. It was a very sad time in Comoros as whole. Most of the new arrival particularly in the village of Selea-Bambao lost all their belonging, wealth and possessions, arriving home with almost nothing.

Members of the village were well prepared to welcome and accommodate the new arrivals by offering them whatever support and help they need till they could stand on their own feet.

From this point onward the village has seen many changes, demographically, socially and economically after the arrival of its new inhabitant. Selea is also a popular destination for other inhabitants of Grande Comore to come and visit and also settle in. Brother H.Houssein