Rodrigues: Otherwise known as the Cinderella of the Mascarenes

Rodrigues also known as La Cendrillion des Mascareignes(literally the Cinderella of the Mascarene) is an island of approximately 108-square kilometers which lies at the far east of Mauritius at 560 kilometers. Rodrigues forms part of a group of islands known as the Mascarenes. The Mascarene islands consists of 3 island known as Reunion; the largest one in terms of area and population, Mauritius and Rodrigues the smallest of the group in terms of both area and population. Rodrigues is the farthest from both Mauritius and Reunion Island which owed it the name of La Cendrillion des Mascareignes.

Rodrigues is my home country. I’ve lived there for 18 years, and not a day goes by without feeling a deep gratitude for the luck I have for being born here (So does everyone feel about their home country tho, guess it’s called patriotism). Rodrigues is advertised as being a stress free country in International Tourism Fairs. As a Rodriguan I would call it fake since we all have our stress to deal with: deadlines to meet, A-levels, job pressure and for self-employed people the main source of worries is definitely the plummeting of sales following the peak season of tourist arrival and the holiday season which both occur during the months of December to January; to name a few.

However for a tourists which happens to be on holiday, it might seem like life goes on slowly on this little piece of heaven. They can go anywhere by foot since the island is small. There is little risk of them being attacked or smuggled. The country also have a pedestrian zone in Port Mathurin the capital city. Motor vehicles are prohibited from entering at certain times of the day thereby making shopping easier(or not since in case you’ve bought loads of stuffs you have to carry it to where you left your car).

In order to reduce the level of pollution on the island, the government has banned the use of plastic bags and is planning to prohibit using polystyrene containers (aka takeaways) and plastic straws. These measures are consistent with the government aim of making Rodrigues an ecological island.

In contrast, over exploitation of the sea has lead to the implementation of closing dates during which fishermen to undertake seine fishery and octopus fishing. During the closure, the octopuses and various fishes are allowed to reproduce. However, with the changing climatic conditions, the reproductive season are expected to change and hence the closing periods will have no impact on making the sea food trade more sustainable. It will thereby be necessary to make amends to allow the fish and octopus population to grow.

Rodrigues Island has lost most of its primary forest the local government, the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation and the Francois Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserves are doing the best they can to re-afforest the island with endemic plants. This serves two purposes re-afforest the island and solve problems such as severe droughts, soil erosion and preserve the island biodiversity.

With a population of 42 260 inhabitants in 2016 according to Statistic Mauritius, the island remains a peaceful place to live. Depending on where you live, you can let the windows open at night while you sleep; a luxury only few can afford.

Rodrigues is a plural society with mixtures of creole, Hinduism, Chinese and Muslims. The different cultures coexist together and on special occasions you can see them mixing together. For instance, on the Chinese new year, a mass is held by the catholic church. Till date, there is no record of racial riot. Racism in itself is not practiced overtly and biracial couples are common.

The beaches are idyllic, fine sand and a crystal blue sea surround the island making you want to swim almost every time you pass by the sea during the summer months of October to May. Beach erosion have not yet struck the coasts of the island but till when will this still be the case. The rising number of tourists arrival is definitely good for the local businesses and the economic development of the island, but till when will the island be able to sustain the pressure on its resources?

Rodrigues is definitely able to offer instagrammable photos of your tropical vacation and also give you a taste of a local culture with the amiable population it hosts. It is therefore definitely worth a visit.

Until then, take care

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