Tag Archives: Independence

Comoros Islands National Day celebrates 47 years of independence from France

The Comoros Islands off the coast of East Africa celebrate National Day on July 6. Just like Independence Day in the United States, Comoros National Day marks the day the islands gained their independence from France.

When the Good Chaplain visited the capitol, Moroni, on the island of Grande Comore, when he deployed to Africa in 2010-2011. The islands only recently gained their independence from France in 1975. A referendum for independence passed with only one of the four main islands — Mayotte voting against it. The other three islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli, voted for the referendum and formed the Union of the Comoros.

A constitutional referendum passed in 2018 eliminated the long standing single five-year presidential term two terms. Since 2001, the presidency rotated among the three islands. The referendum also designated Islam as the state religion and granted the president power to eliminate the three vice presidents — one from each island.

Roughly 98 percent of the population is Muslim, with Sunni Islam as the main branch, with African Arabs making up the majority ethnic group, with 86 percent of the population. The Good Chaplain met one of the few non-Muslims on the islands. This man (whose name is being withheld for his protection) was well-respected and well-known on the islands. “Everyone knew him,” the Good Chaplain said. Comoros is the only Muslim-majority country in Southern Africa.

The man converted from Islam to Christianity while attending school in the United States. He realized he couldn’t find answers about God in the Quran, but were in the Christian Bible and he converted. They imprisoned him for two years when he returned to the island, for converting, but eventually let out of prison and became a well-known member of the community. I’ll tell you more about him in my next book on the Good Chaplain’s African deployment.

Comoros Flag

According to the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Comoros – United States Department of State) put out by the US Department of State, “significant human rights issues” include torture, arbitrary detention, abysmal prison conditions, political prisoners restrictions on free expression, the press and the internet, severe restrictions on religious freedom, corruption, human trafficking, criminalizing same-sex relationships between adults, and forced child labor.

Despite the deplorable human rights conditions, the Comoros Islands is a ‘place of amazingly warm, friendly people, all-around fantastic weather, and world-class beaches,” according to The Unusual Traveler blog. The author of the blog post found the islands to be safe, even when walking around at night. “The biggest danger here is, as always, the traffic,” he wrote.

All-in-all, the Good Chaplain enjoyed his visit to Moroni and I can’t wait to share his trip with you in the next book.

Until then,


Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming soon!

Military Spouses Quickly Learn Their Strengths

Remember a few blogs ago; I told you how everything goes wrong in the first three weeks of a deployment. That is true. But I don’t think I stressed how capable you are to handle these crises. And you will feel stronger for handling them.

Knowing who you can call on and calling them is a good way to shore up your strength. You don’t personally need to know how to use every tool in your spouse’s toolkit. You need to know who to call to show you how to use them.

The Good Chaplain’s first deployment, which was only a few weeks, coincided with bill paying time. He usually paid the bills, but I had done it several times in our married life, so no big deal. However, for some reason, I couldn’t get the checkbook to balance. I am a determined woman, and I determined it would balance to the last penny even if I took the entire deployment. But, my impatience got the better of me, and I found myself in tears on my neighbor’s front porch, asking her for help. Craziness.

You will learn how assertive you are, even when your spouse is not deployed, by dealing with housing maintenance workers, medical personnel, and your child’s education. These are areas of your military life you will deal with because your spouse is focused on the mission.

Your inner Mama Bear comes out more than once throughout this time of life. You will find yourself frequently advocating for your child. Especially when medical technician looks at you as if you grew a third eye when you bring your child in because they are running a fever and not acting like themselves, only to be fever free and chipper once you get to the clinic.

I advocated on behalf of Mrs. Staff Sergeant with the base school district over standardized testing. I am not a fan of standardized testing in schools because I don’t feel they accurately measure a child’s capability.

Mrs. Staff Sergeant is a smart person, but a terrible test taker. She did awful on the math portion of her standardized test in first grade, so the school decided she would be in remedial math in second grade. I argued the point with the school principal because she did fine on her math homework. As it turned out, none of the children in her class did well on the standardized test because it was the teacher’s first year, and she was nervous. Her nervousness spilled over onto the children, and they all did poorly. After talking this all over with the principal, who agreed with me, she said Mrs. Staff Sergeant would be in remedial math. I refused. We compromised with letting her start with regular math, and if she needed more help, we would get a tutor. If I hadn’t advocated for my daughter, she might have ended up falling behind her classmates.

Independence is a strength you learn over time. It grows over the years. Often you will find yourself attending events on your own because of deployments or other work requirements. It’s not fun, but by The Good Chaplain’s last deployment, I looked forward to going to the movies by myself or representing him at base functions.

That wasn’t always true, though. At our first assignment, the Good Chaplain was on the committee for a dining out ceremony. A dining-out ceremony is when military people and their significant others get together for a nice meal and an evening of letting loose. It involves a script of strict rules that can get you sent to the grog bowl if you violate those rules. A grog bowl is a large bowl filled with the most disgusting things known to mankind. If you get sent to the grog bowl you have to drink a cup and turn it upside down on your head to show you finished it.

We’d only been on station for a few months. We arrived early for the ball because he had some committee things to check on. He didn’t show up at my side again for 45 minutes. There I was, standing in the middle of the ballroom, knowing not a single soul. I was almost in tears. I hadn’t yet discovered what an extrovert I am. The next year, I dropped the car keys in my purse and threatened to leave if he left me alone like that again. But by that time, it didn’t matter because I had my posse by then.

When you first join this crazy thing we call a military family, you will feel lost, clueless, and maybe even stupid about certain things. But don’t worry. I promise you will find your strengths and be able to handle whatever comes your way. Or at least know who to call.

Until next time,