Salaam and hello from Mauritius!
I’m sitting out on the balcony of my apartment, and the weather is cool. It’s winter now, and the weather is lovely. I wish I could share a picture of the night sky. I’ve not seen anything quite as stunning as the Mauritian sky, truly. It’s a blanket of stars above me. This is my new favourite place to write, besides the beach.
Mauritius has been gifting me with so many pleasant surprises, from its landscape, to its people, to its customs and food. I never did get around to doing much research about this place before I came, so every day holds a new discovery. Did you know that the majority of the population here are Indians?
I’m staying in Mauritius for a month, and one would think after frequent travels, it gets easier. It doesn’t, not really. No matter how many times or how frequent you leave, goodbyes are still hard, see-you-laters still stunted. You leave with the faith that you’ll come back a better person, with greater clarity, strength and compassion – you never do come back quite the same person. You leave knowing that they you’ve left behind, all your loved ones, they have you in their prayers.
You leave so you can come home.
I love Mauritius. Mauritius is not next to or anywhere near Maldives. It’s about a three hours flight from one to the other. The nearest island to Mauritius is Reunion Island and Seychelles, and I’m pretty close to Madagascar too.
But geography aside, Mauritius is a stunning place. I still have moments when I stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m in Mauritius. It’s funny how up until a few months ago, I’d never imagined to find myself on this island. In fact, to be honest, I had imagined myself to be somewhere very different.
It’s amazing how you can get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly where you needed to be. – Sarah Dessen
Here’s what I’m doing in Mauritius:
I’m here for a four-weeks internship stint with AIESEC. I’m involved in ‘Start Up Mauritius’, a project to promote social entrepreneurship here. Together with about 100 other undergraduates/postgraduates/recent graduates from all around the world, I’ll be participating in training and voluntary work such as fundraisers for NGOs and orphanages, rebranding of NGOs, creating social movements and events to raise awareness about issues. Yup, pretty much my kind of thing.
But hang on, what’s AIESEC?
AIESEC is a global, non-political, independent not-for-profit organization run by students and recent graduates of higher education, and is present in over 124 countries and territories, and with over 90,000 members. AIESEC provides its members with an integrated development experience comprised of leadership opportunities, international internships and participation in a global learning environment.
Four weeks only?
Technically I’m supposed to be here for at least six weeks and up to a bit more than two months, like all the other interns. Due to changes in my life plans along the way (I signed up for this about 1.5 years ago), I had to make do with four weeks – I need to head back to Singapore for my NIE Practicum soon enough. Thankfully the organisers are gracious and are ok with my limitations and gave me the ok-go!
Not that I need much of a reason to be here anyway, I just am. But one of the main reasons? To get one step closer to crossing off this item off my bucketlist: – Head to all the continents (sans Antarctica) in my life. Now I’m on the African continent, mashaAllah!
Verily what is meant to be mine will not miss me, and what missed me as never meant to be mine.
Over the past week, I’ve done a fair bit of exploring. Mauritius’ public transportation primarily relies on its buses, and its taxis. From my place in the West, it’s been pretty convenient to take buses to the different places I’ve been wanting to, but I think I’ll write separate entries for my explorations.
But one of the biggest thing I’ve done since getting here?
Crossing out another thing off the bucketlist: GO SCUBADIVING!
I was diving every single day for five days, and I cannot express how amazing the experience is. I’ve always been quite the water baby, and scuba diving has been pretty much on the top of my bucketlist for a while now. I’ve only recently managed to save enough money to get around to doing it, and hey, what better location to start my diving adventure than in Mauritius? Now that’s another entry on its own!
Lots of love,