It’s been less than a week on the island and yet so much has happened that I feel like I’ve been here for much longer. The start of my trip thankfully was no indication of how things have turned out. After traveling for four days and living in and out of airports I finally landed in Mauritius. I could not believe the view from my window. We flew over fields of sugar cane, sprawling cities, and next to mountains that jutted out like teeth. I could see across the island from my seat in the sky and was amazed by the water that surrounded the island, clear, blue, and inviting. However, only a few minutes after deplaning, with only a few feet, walls, and the conveyor belt that would deliver my luggage keeping me from experiencing Mauritius first hand, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Customs. The bane of my existence for the time that I was trapped at the counter with the man who seemed bent on not letting me into the country. After what felt like forever, especially after traveling without proper sleep, they decided that I had the credentials to leave the airport and begin my adventure in Mauritius. Since that time however, I’ve hit the ground running and haven’t looked back. The incident at customs is only a speck in my memory as I have experienced so much these past few days that have made me so grateful to have had this opportunity to travel to Mauritius, settle in with my fellow Fellows, and work with ELI Africa.
The house we are living in is amazing! Everyone gets a single, there are three bathrooms, three kitchens, two living rooms, three washers and lines to dry, three bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs. Also we have a balcony and a roof. Even more amazing than the house are the people living inside the house. All the fellows are amazingly legit. I don’t think that there is any other way that I can put it. Everyone has such a great energy and I’ve enjoyed every minute that I’ve spent with them. We have also gotten to know the ELI Africa team in Mauritius and one of this summer’s ELI Scholars, Stephanie. They are all so amazing and I cannot wait to keep working with them! On Sunday we were surprised and had a mini-retreat with the ELI team and got to travel across the island. We ended up at a marina where we all got on a boat and were taken to a platform in the middle of the bay. From this platform we were strapped up and launched into the sky to parasail over the ocean. The experience was breathtaking. One second I was sitting on the platform, the next I was up in the air thinking about how small everyone looked from above. After everyone got their parasail on, we were taken to an island where we ate lunch and played Egyptian Ratscrew and BS, both excellent bonding card games that brought out the competitive nature in everyone. We were taken back to the platform where we were towed in an inflatable raft by a speed boat. I swear I almost went flying out of the raft, despite gripping on to the raft for my life. While we waited for our van after safely returning to shore, we played Ninja and Down by the Banks. We drove home as the sun set, signaling the end to a perfect day. Everything from the adventure packed Sunday to the nights spent bonding after eating dinner to the early morning runs as the sun rises have been amazing and I cannot wait to see what else is in store.
As I write this from the ELI office and look up and see how the Fellows and the ELI team are seamlessly working together as if we’ve known each other forever I can’t help but feel a sense of family. I look to my left and see the luscious trees outside the ELI office and I’m reminded of the beauty of the island. I look at my laptop and I get a little nervous about my ELI Africa documentary project that I will be working on for the next two months. But then I take a step back and remember why I’m here and am excited to work with the children at the Center and see the artwork they will produce. Until my next post, this is Brittany, over and out.