Do you remember our natural mattress-manufacturer? Until recently, our coconut fiber mattresses were made locally by craftsmen in Mauritius who came at home to sew them. The “matla coco”, as it was called, was all natural. It consisted mainly of coconut fibers (from the coconut shell), bits of cotton pieces, all well displayed and wrapped in a thick piece of cloth. The natural mattress-manufacturer could be met walking through the streets or close to the Central Market in Port-Louis, the capital city of Mauritius.
He could be easily identified as he held a stick of 1.50 meters long in each hand. These sticks were used by the mattress-manufacturer to vigorously beat the coconut fibers and pack them to obtain a good quality mattress. The next step was to sew the fabric which was the sheath of the mattress by using huge needles. Every year, the mattress-manufacturer was called upon to fill the household mattresses.
Who still remembers how uncomfortable it was when one was stung by a coconut fiber from his mattress in the old days…? Over the years, coconut mattresses have been replaced by either foam mattresses or other more modern materials. Sadly, we were not aware that our coconut mattresses were naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. Entirely eco-friendly, they were the best for health while being easy to maintain. The saddest part is the end of a job that fed our mattress-manufacturers at the time!