So I stop at a roadside market stall on my way into Port Vila. I want a pineapple.
Bananas, Pamplimous, Passionfruit, Melons, Coconut, Naus, are on display. But no pineapples.
I expressed disappointment to the lady behind the table, because my wife Adeline is particularly fond of pineapple.
“When are you coming back from town” she asks.
“About two hours” I reply.
“No worries, my husband will bring you a pineapple, a nice one”
And sure enough, on my way home there it was. One of the biggest – and it turned out one of the sweetest – pineapples I have seen. I paid 500 vatu, less than USD5, which was a little higher than usual but I didn't mind in the least.
What's the lesson here?
First, people in Vanuatu are mostly entrepreneurial. Starting your own small business is encouraged, with minimal paperwork required. If they can't find a job they create one. This couple has a business where the husband grows food and his wife sells it.
Expats are similarly encouraged to start businesses.
Second, they go out of their way to look after the customer. The man WALKED several kilometers to the stall to bring me the pineapple. And back. Also he chose one of his best fruit.
People here – including employees – are mostly very cooperative and helpful.
Third, the locally grown food is 100% organic and fresh.
If organically grown fresh food attracts you, you will love living here.
In fact, the government is even working on a national certification so that everything grown in Vanuatu is 100% organic. Genetically modified seeds and plants are already banned. The idea is that when you see “imported from Vanuatu” in your supermarket you automatically know it's free from GM or preservatives. And you'll be happy to pay a little more. 😉
See you tomorrow.
Lance in (organic) Vanuatu