Last day in Mauritius

Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
Trip End May 07, 2014

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Where I stayed
Coco Villa
What I did
Souillac, Grand Bassin

Flag of Mauritius  , Grand Port,
Sunday, April 6, 2014

This morning I woke early, as I will for a while until my body clock gets adjusted, I had slept well. I had the breakfast offered by the little hotel, the typical Mauritian breakfast: bread, butter and jam and a banana. I had café au lait rather than the tea most Mauritians would drink. The sunrise was beautiful again and the sky was a bright blue.

I worked in my room until 9:30 when I took the car and drove back around the airport toward the Prodigues' home. As I pulled from the driveway, I caught myself turning into the right side of the road rather than the left, the unthinking habit of many years of driving. Happily there was very little traffic and I had time to adjust.

Once again as I saw Saturday there were quite a few people waiting by the fence along the runway of the airport. They were just waiting to watch a big plane take off or land. We’re more used to seeing planes, so westerners don’t usually make a trip just to see such an event, but it’s a rarer thing here and still exciting. Emirates Airways has the new Airbus A380, the double decker airliner, flying to Mauritius, and it’s impressive. I saw one coming in yesterday. They’re so big that, on approach, it hardly seems like they’re moving, that they’re moving too slowly to stay in the air.

Again I drove through the lush green cane fields dotted with villages, weaving in and out between slower cars, buses stopping for passengers, dogs (of which there are many wandering around Mauritius), motorbikes of various descriptions, and pedestrians. As I passed through the villages I could see brightly colored Hindu temples – the dominant color seems to be red, even more brightly colored Tamil temples (favorite color: yellow) decked with many statues of strange-looking gods. I passed a mosque, typically painted in green and white.

I arrived at the Prodigues just after 10:00 and we picked up our conversation of the day before. Jocelyn had more questions he’d been saving up.

Since there is a "spirit in man" in human beings, and spirit is eternal, could that mean that we had some sort of existence before being born? I responded that this was more or less the reasoning that Socrates and Plato followed in the Phaedo, and it led to the belief in the immortality of the soul, which wasn’t biblical. We went through some of the passages that show that “soul” basically means “living being”, and that “souls” can die. There was a time when we didn’t exist, there was only the potential for us to exist, and at death we cease to exist, but God is able to bring us back into existence. We can bump into some metaphysical limitations in such discussions, but I think there was more clarity afterwards.

There was a question about the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 and the connection to being profitable or unprofitable servants which I had mentioned in my Bible Study the previous day.

Another question concerned where Jesus was born. The French word crèche has come to mean, in common understanding, the stable where Jesus was supposedly born. When people hear crèche they think of stable, but crèche actually means manger, which is the trough in which food for sheep or cattle could be poured, which when properly cleaned and covered in cloth would make a natural crib. Matthew 2:11 says the wise men found Jesus in “the house,” so the traditional idea of being born in a snow covered stable really doesn’t hold up. We discussed that as some length.

Jocelyn asked for some guidelines on preparing sermonettes which he gives at FOT time and from time to time as needed through the year. That was a profitable discussion as well.

We also talked of many other things,  for example their jobs at a clothing company making high-end business suits. Saloni works in the accounting department and Jocelyn in safety and security. Part of his job, he said is to see that things are arranged so that no employees are tempted to steal from the company. There is a riming French proverb that says it’s better to prevent rather than to heal, which is what he tries to do.

Around lunch time, Saloni brought out some snacks and Jocelyn and I had a beer. Then we drove down to the ocean at southern tip of the island, to a town called Souillac where, they kindly invited me to a meal. They knew I like Indian food so they pricked a restaurant where that was available along with Chinese and Mauritian food too. The meal and the conversation was very enjoyable.

On the way back to their house we stopped at a bridge over the Rivère des Anguilles (Eel River – it sounds nicer in French…) gorge. The river tumbles through lush forest on its way to the ocean. I thought it would make a wonderful picnic site, but Jocelyn responded that Mauritians rarely picnic anywhere but on the beach by the ocean.

Back at their home we wrapped up our talk over a cup of coffee and I took my leave. If all goes as planned I should be back to visit them in late July, hopefully with my wife this time.

Before driving back to Mahébourg, I drove up to the top of a small extinct volcano that now has a lake in its crater. The place is called Grand Bassin, and its considered sacred to Hindus. A Hindu priest in the late 1800s had a dream that there was a connection between this lake and the Ganges in India, so Grand Bassin  became a pilgrimage site. People come to touch or take away some water for various sacred usages. What has impressed me most, when I’ve come here, are the giant eels, scary big, that live in the lake. They’re considered sacred, and so are very well fed.

A few years ago a 100-foot high statue of the Hindu god Shiva was constructed, and I could see that another monumental statue is now under construction.

After a brief visit to shoot some photos and video, I drove back to Mahébourg where I’ll spend my last night in Mauritius on this trip. Tomorrow, I will be traveling on to Reunion Island 140 miles to the south-west.
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Tess Washington on

Mehebourg looks like a beautiful place from the pictures and your description of it! Good to read about Jocelyn and Saloni and their quest for spiritual knowledge and understanding. Good to hear that you're getting your sleep, rest and delicious food! We know what will happen to those pagan statues in the future but the eels...

Mary on

Thanks, Joel, for the latest update and for including the topics of discussion. We feel connected to our brethren there. The fierce-looking Shiva presiding over the lake of giant eels reminds me that a better way is coming.

Janel Johnson on

Thank you for the picturesque descriptions and for relaying the joyful conversation with Jocelyn and Saloni. However, the reference to the eels at the Grand Bassin made me shudder. I'm wondering, in keeping with the references you'd made in an earlier blog, were they by any chance shrieking eels?

joelmeeker on

@ Janel Johnson: I did not hear them shriek, however I didn't get too close either....

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