” A cyclone warning class 1 is in force in Rodrigues… ” the local radio announces on Saturday the twenty second of December. Pretty much like anyone else, my mum chose to go to Port Mathurin to complete her Christmas shopping.
So at 10.30 we arrive at the first bus stop found at Port Mathurin and the half of the passengers who were aboard started to get out. It starts to rain heavily and people were walking around happily, some of the more adventurous dared to wander without anything to keep them from getting wet.
“People who came to do their holiday shopping despite the heavy rain.”
On Saturdays, a traditional vegetables and fruit market is held in what we call the ‘Bazaar’ (see future blog post). Vegetable and fruit sellers come from all around the island as early as 4.00 am to sell their produce at the market. Some of the fruits such as pineapples, mangoes and dragon fruit are grown locally whereas fruits such as oranges and grapes are imported from other countries. Due the practice of traditional agriculture, some fruits such as litchis are cultivated locally but to make sure there is enough to meet the demand, the government also allows for its importation. The same goes for vegetables, on rare occasions when the climate has not been favourable, canned tomatoes are sold at the bazar. These local fruit and vegetable stayed loyal to the tradition despite the difficulties they were sure to encounter during the loading and unloading of their products. We even encountered a fish seller called ‘Banyan Poisson’ in Rodrigues.
The rain had ceased once we got out of the Bazar and the faces of the Rodriguans we met along way seemed to radiate. Probably the relief of not being embarrased with their umbrella as they shuffled through the various items which were displayed on the street.
The idea that people were ready to continue their Christmas shopping in spite of all the hurdles, is awe inspiring. The extent they were ready to go to please their friends and families by buying them gifts or by buying the necessary ingredients to make the extremely special family dinner one usually have on Christmas eve eve, Christmas eve and on Christmas is how the Christmas spirit of sharing and love was able to triumph over the whims of the weather. As for the reason I was there; honestly; it was for the food but that’s another story.
Until next time,