Since last week’s meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, things have been really busy for everyone involved in ELI Africa. The meeting itself was an awesome experience, as the official Vedant and I met with was as excited as we were to discuss the ELI Africa vision. He even started reflecting on his childhood and his desire to start writing poetry again (which he apparently did throughout his youth) when we started discussing the specifics of my poetry project. By the end of the meeting, the secretary indicated his desire to forge a formal partnership with the Ministry of Arts and Culture and ELI Africa, and invited all of the Fellows to share their projects and long-term goals with his office.
So in the week since the meeting, everyone’s been riding really high in the saddle. All of the Fellows have composed and sent proposals to Ministry officials, detailing their ideas for big-picture projects to the Mauritian government, with the hope of winning support for our respective endeavors. On a personal level, I’ve provided the Ministry of Arts and Culture with a more detailed outline of the poetry curriculum I’m running at the Center, along with a rough outline of the English-language youth poetry prize I discussed with the Permanent Secretary. Hopefully, government officials will prove responsive to all of the Fellows’ ideas.
Outside of our efforts to further cultivate our relationship with the government, day-to-day life has stayed pretty much the same. We spent our day off yesterday in Port Louis, which the closest thing to a “big city” Mauritius as to offer. It was a really cool experience, as we were able to walk around the market and Chinatown districts within the city and check out the goods from the hundreds of vendors there.
This coming weekend marks the halfway point of our time here, so accordingly we’ll hopefully be getting our first full “weekend” since our arrival. Instead of working at the Center six days next week, it looks like we’ll only work five, taking Sunday off for a team building weekend just in time for the 4th of July.