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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 05 Jan 2009
SUE BARBER

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1960, Sue spent her formative years in Cape Town before moving to East London at the age of eleven. A love for cooking saw her return to Cape Town in 1977 to do a three year Grand Diploma in Cordon Bleu Cooking at the Silwood Kitchens Cordon Bleu Cookery School.
Having finished her diploma, Sue worked for a time with Magimix in marketing and public relations, before starting her own cookery school in Green Point. In 1985 she opened a restaurant in Hout Bay and in reminiscence says, “I think I had rocks in my head because I had my first child that year, Nicky.”
The next three years were spent in Johannesburg where Ashleigh, Sue’s second child was born. They then moved to George, in the Eastern Cape, where Sue ran a cookery school and catering business from home.
In 1993 Sue joined her fiancé, O’B, in his business O’Brian and Barber Promotions. It was on a golfing trip to Mauritius in 1994, where they got married at La Pirogue, surrounded by her two young daughters and close friends. Over the course of the next twelve years they visited Mauritius frequently, on golfing trips and to see friends living on the island. In 1995 Sue’s third daughter, Samantha, was born and in 2005 O’B accepted the position as Golf Director at the Tamarina Golf Estate.
The family moved to Mauritius in January 2006 and with the change in Mauritian law in 2007, to allow the wives of ex-patriots to work, Sue started the “Re-location Company Ltd.”. With a great fondness for people and networking, Sue is the perfect person to help people settle in Mauritius. Her “Look-See” package lasts two days and starts with a welcome at the airport and transportation to pre-booked accommodation.
The following day, after breakfast, the full details of the client’s requirements are discussed and pre-arranged appointments confirmed, such as those with head teachers at schools and the quarantine facility at Moka. A day trip around the island includes orientation regarding shopping facilities, doctors, dentists, beaches, restaurants and other popular areas. Sue reports that her clients are often “blown away” as they have no idea that Mauritius has so much to offer.
The most popular areas for ex-pats to live are Grand Bay and the Black River area and Sue also has a four day package which looks at the island in more detail. Her main package makes her invaluable expertise available to clients for the first three months after their relocation, in order to ensure a smooth trouble free transition. Another business which Sue is in the process of expanding is “Cooking in Paradise” which focuses on her passion and forte and involves cooking trips and lessons for ex-pats and locals alike.



In her spare time Sue loves to travel and has a particular fondness for Asia, having visited Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. She is also a keen golfer and a member of the Ladies Golf Union and has improved enormously over the last two years, from being barely able to hit a ball to having a handicap in the low twenties. Her daughter Samantha, who is only thirteen, seems to have inherited her father’s talent for golf and not only has a very good handicap of nine, but already has a hole in one, has won numerous competitions and is the ex-pats ladies champion.
Another of Sue’s past-times is reading, particularly autobiographies such as “In Black & White” which is a book by Jake White, the rugby coach of the Springboks World Cup winning side of 2007. She finds nothing more therapeutic than lying by the sea and listening to the waves tumble onto the beach.
What, with the reading and the golf, one might be forgiven for thinking that Sue prefers a quiet, slow-paced existence. You would however be quite mistaken! Zip-lining over gorges, parasailing, trekking through the mountains of Peru to Machu Pichu and alligator hunting at night are all a part of Sue’s colourful history.
In particular she recalls a trip up the Amazon River in Brazil. Where, while dangling chunks of meat from a nylon line, through the floor boards of a house floating in the middle of the river, she saw, to her astonishment, children swimming only yards away from where she was fishing for piranha!
Indeed, Sue is a woman of startling contrasts and though very much a lady she admits, “I don’t like to rough it, but I can get my hands dirty... I’ll muck in with everyone.” And as we parted company she said something quite profound, “Mauritius has taught me humility, you don’t need all the fine things in life to be happy.”


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