My fellow passengers were a mix of intrepid tourists, government officials and Rodriguans heading across the gap between the two islands. The little prop plane lifted out over the wide blue expanse of the lagoon, the reef, the sand, the fringing islands and then the deep blue Indian Ocean below me. Another project colleague Paul, picked me up from the airport and I spent a difficult night at the project house in Calodyne. At this stage I just wanted to get back to my family. Every hour I was in the wrong place was painful. I drove us to the airport the next morning, narrowly avoiding a speeding ticket from a cop on the motorway near Curepipe once I explained the circumstances.
As the plane pulled out over the Grand Port lagoon, turned left over the eastern part of Mauritius and set its course for the UK, I still felt numb. I was so grateful at the understanding from Mike and Jeremy, from the consulting firm I was working for, and later I got so many messages of condolence from the people in the Mauritian government with whom I had been working – the incident over the visa issue totally forgotten. The next couple of weeks would be intense, but in fact the whole of life would now be different.