Coconut Sam, and Deaths in the Family

Annually, a little Mauritian guy called Sam will do the rounds of houses in our neighborhood that have coconut trees.

He stands at the gate shouting “Madame, Madame!”.

The last two times I’ve told him to bugger off. Next time I’ll let him in – we might be due for a cyclone this year and the trees need cleaning.

I told him to bugger off because he REALLY annoyed me, and it’s taken me two years to get over it. Pathetic, I know.

He did a great job cleaning the trees the first time – I took a million photos, and we all sat on our tiny little balcony watching him.

He tied a rope to one ankle, put it around the trunk, tied it to his other ankle and used it to hop up the tree!

Monkey-like, and cute.

Starting the climb

Once he got to the top, he macheted all the dead stuff off, and lowered them to the ground with rope so as NOT TO DAMAGE ANYTHING – I was AMAZED – a considerate worker!

cleaning the trees

Then he sprayed for ants, hopped back down, and moved on to the next tree.

He even moved all the rubbish out for the bin men without being asked to.


He impressed me so much I asked him to do a bit of gardening.

He moved a palm for me (which was still recovering from being set alight by the builders), and did some other things. I paid him in advance (big no-no as we were to learn) for the next week’s work as he explained he had no money and had little mouths to feed, and off he went.

He did come back the next morning (“Madame, Madame!”) – not to work, but because his cousin had died and could I lend him money for the funeral.

Had it been someone that we actually knew, of course we would have lent them the money.

I’ve known this guy one day.

I also know that death in the family is an oft-used ruse:

a)    to get money from foreigners (because we’re all rich, and soft-hearted – read soft in the head) or

b)    to get time off work

Over the years, we’ve heard about people who have lost their mothers three times, and dozens of cousins, aunts and uncles. All I can say is lucky they have big polygamous families!

Anyway, I said no, sorry for your loss, but I don’t know you, where you live or anything about you – I only met you yesterday.

He asked again. I went through it all again.

He asked again. I went through it all again.

He dropped the amount. I went through it all again.

I walked away.

He stood outside the gate calling “Madame, Madame!”

I ignored him.

“Madame, Madame!”

I got Alf to talk to him – Sam speaks only Creole, and Alf only English. Don’t know what Alf said, but then again neither did Sam, but he did stop calling me.

I went outside a little later and he was still at the gate and started all over again! Arrgh!!!!!

It’s because I paid him in advance – he thought I was an easy touch.

Anyway, Alf had to physically (gently) move him away from the gate, and point up the road before he would go.

He never came back to do his week’s work.

But he has come back for the last two years to see if I wanted my coconut palms cleaned.

“Madame, Madame!”