As payback for my shameless bargaining with the OIDC, I was assigned not to the firstclass quarters aboard the Pride, where my companions would have been three solar energy technicians, two OIDC officials, a skiff manufacturer, a couple of nuns, and a priest, but to the second-class level, among Agalacians returning to the island, a few policemen, and some 40 construction workers.
Agalega is controlled so completely by the OIDC that not even native-born islanders can own land or possess a right to residence.
The OIDC put in place the nonmonetary economy to shield Agalacians from a pattern of debt and improvidence, and it's for their benefit that the company store sets a limit on the amount of liquor available to each worker.
Typical case: A Mauritian signs up with the OIDC for a one-year contract, and after those 12 months he's supposed to sail home.
In contrast, Santosh's fellow OIDC contractee Abeeluck copes by "attending" courses over the telephone from Brahma Kumari Raja Yoga Spiritual University in India and functioning as unofficial Hari Krishna missionary.
I am put up at the comfortable OIDC guesthouse, within easy walking distance of the school.
The OIDC does its level best to ban dying on "its" islands.
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