This past couple of months at ELI have been quite the adventure. With the dictionary definition of adventure being “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks”, you can somewhat get an idea of what it is we do… Making art out of trash, visiting a castle, opening a new ELI center, finalizing the Science program, Drama…Yes, we’ve done it all and the thing is that it continues!
Being part of an organization that believes in giving an education to under privileged kids through a more ‘hands on’ method is definitely something unique and fun. In the past month or so, we visited the Chateau Labourdonnais which is located in the North of Mauritius and is known as a very historical landmark here on the island. This trip was history related and the kids not only got to increase their general knowledge about the past of their home but they also got a rich education when we had the honor of visiting the Orchard that was set up years ago. The children got to learn about different trees and the fruits they produce. This trip was possible by joint efforts of the Rotary Club of Port Louis, ELI Africa and last but definitely not least the Roche Bois OSTE Center.
Another great experience we had this month was when ‘Waves of Change’ organized a workshop where the children were taught about the environment and what humans were doing to our home. There was a presentation as well as an art exhibition. All the art was made from trash that had been collected from Ile Aux Benitiers (South of Mauritius) It was a great experience for the children; they had fun whilst learning about one of the most talked about problem of this century. At the end of the day the children got to use some trash to make their own little pieces of art! It was great fun!!
Another good thing that came with the month of April was the Easter Holidays! Being a student myself I knew that the last thing the kids would want to do would be to work of English and Grammar so after some talking with Cedric we decided on Drama! Drama is a fun way to get the kids moving whilst teaching them English at the same time. I put the kids into small groups and each chose a book from the shelf. They read through it and made their own scripts. They were able to perform the next lesson! It was an amazing experience.
Something else that I must mention before logging off is the opening of the center at Pamplemousse. We started classes there about 2 weeks ago and I must say that I feel as though we’re off to a great start! With the help of our new ELI Volunteers and ELI Corps, the Pamplemousse branch is excelling!
Looking forward to more kickass (for lack of a better word) experiences with ELI Africa!
Tears were brought to my eyes yesterday. They were tears of joy and tears of gratitude. It was all about moments of love, tenderness and affection and a forgotten part of me had to be brought back to share this wonderful experience.
I hadn’t even realised when life’s rush became so intense and I, so busy, that everything else became secondary. One of the most important extensions of mine, writing, was quite neglected lately. Some might even say it has been forgotten since a while now.
Came along teaching the ELI kids at Roche-Bois a few months back. It has been a decision I finally took as I just could not resist the wonderful charms and smiles of the ELI kids anymore. But keeping up with work, Rotaract duties and lessons at the centre have been sometimes hard. There are days when, unfortunately, life’s priorities take over and we act selfishly, despite us not realising it. And I have also been unfortunately part of that miserable group. In spite of Cedric’s and Sam’s continuous insistence, I have often found it hard to find time to write the feedback reports and blog entries. Writing for my own sake has also been quite rare in the past few months and was making itself quite desirable.
But yesterday night has just been one of those, when, even if a good night’s sleep seemed to be all that I needed, I had to write to express my overwhelming feelings, even though it meant I might sleep on my laptop while drafting and editing this blog post (something that actually ultimately happened- Wonder what else I was expecting after a sleepless night). Moments such as these are so cherished that life’s hustle-bustle with all its hassles become just worth so less and putting them aside without any guilt becomes actually possible and doable.
So, here is for you an intense feeling that could not be shared in any other way. It had to be writing itself. Life’s worth so much more than the daily hassles and rush at the end of the day:
After a sleepless night, with drowsy eyes, I struggled to bring myself to the centre. I had not seen the kids for so many days so I could not keep myself away from them any longer. Half-asleep in my school staffroom, while waiting for the time to pass to get to Roche-Bois, in spite of quite a few asking me to go home and rest a bit, somehow, I managed to get convince them and myself that I have been away for too long. But with my eyes half-close while driving on the way, I started having second thoughts. I struggled to keep my eyes open and even if a cup of coffee was more than welcome, it was not yet enough to keep me wide awake. I kept wondering what I would be able to deliver in this zombie-mode of mine.
Yet, I managed to convince myself to get there. As I stopped the car in front of the centre, my only thought was to spend just some time with the kids and get away from there as soon as possible. I peeped in at the main door to check what was happening and the kids were running around, waiting for someone to settle them down. I had barely put in one foot in that one of the girls who noticed me came running to me and hugged me tight, exclaiming how happy she was to see me. As I put the second foot in, without me really understanding what was happening, I was soon hugged by a few of those little angels who just would not let me go. In the background, I could hear the boys exclaiming how happy they were I came.
It was such a magical moment, a moment of sheer bliss. I felt so intensely grateful. A feeling of guilt, for the thought of cancelling the lesson, got over me but that was soon brushed away by the magic of the moment. I felt loved, as if never loved before. I felt blessed, as if never blessed before. Grateful is a word too weak to express my emotions, gratitude and feelings. Being cherished by so many little hearts is such a blessed feeling. And I want all my best and blessed wishes to be theirs.
Thank you, kids, for being the wonderful angelic beings that you are and for the mummy feeling that you bring out of me each time I see you. Thank you for the charm you have which brings back the real ME all the time. Thank you, ELI Africa, for giving me this blessed opportunity. Thank you, Cedric, for bearing with me and still trusting me as much.
Love and kisses to loads, Neha
Well….I guess lief is always so full of activities and works but one should never despair. I have learned this while teaching the students. Those kids are so full of energy and optimism that it increases mine too. I not only teach them academically but we share our opinions and secrets. Their way of thinking has surprised me so much but has also revived the poet in me. It has quite some months i was unable to find inspiration to write anything. Moreover for my own school work i was stuck. Then one Wednesday i went taught them and we started talking generally also. seeing their optimism about situations has really boosted me up and thinking of them gave me inspiration to write this one:
pourquoi regardons nous preske toujours a l’ecterieur
en cherchant en vain el bonheur?
pourquoi pense-t-on ke le bonheure
reside dan la compagnie de nos freres et soeurs?
c’eat vrai ke c bien d’avoir des personnes avek nous
mais nous oublions helas ke le vrai bonheur se trouve a l’interieur
ce bonheur qu’on peut extirper de nos coeur
nous pouvons le faire mem dans la douleur
tout est une question d’optimisme et de point de vue
regardant le ciel etoilee certains verront ke l’espace nue
d’autres de verrons ke la beaute des etoiles scintillants
ce bonheur emanant de l’interieure
reflecte par un sourire sur les levres
Aide a resoudre des situations les plus difficiles
on se concentre sure nos problemees tro souvent
en nous oublions k’il existe des personne souffrant plus gravement
aulieu de toujours nous plaindre de nos maux et peur
regardons autour, apprenons a sourire meme dan nos malheurs
trouvons des solutions plutot ke d’attendre idilement
Acceptons et jouissons la vie avek ses hauts et ses bas
hope you like it
Where to even start…I found out a couple days ago that Eli Africa was planning to take the kids who attend the Roche Bois and Pamplemousse centers out on a little excursion, I was hyped but it wasn’t until the day itself that I realized that there’s nothing better than being part of this Eli Family!
We started off the day at 9am at the Roche Bois center (yes it was hard to wake up early on a saturday morning if you were wondering but it was totally worth it!). As soon as I reached the center there was an inhumanly amount of energy flying around the room and not to mention the insane amount of smiles that were spread across these children’s faces as they were impatiently awaiting for the bus to arrive, every five minutes I would get the same question “Miss!!!! cot bus la???” (Miss, where’s the bus??) Finally the bus arrived and in less then two minutes the kids all got themselves onto the bus along with all the drink and food boxes…a record I must say! Once the engine was started so was the launching of what was to be an incredible day! Our first destination was the Eli Forest to plant some endemic trees! The children were explained the importance of endemic trees and how to plant them by Sam and soon enough we were each given a plant and headed out with the leadership of both Sam and Vedant to the planting locations. We spent an hour planting our little trees through a “follow the steps” method which you will find below:
1) Put the Bagass
2) Take off the Plastic
3) Make sure to not break the roots
4)Put in the soil and make sure the plant stands up straight
5) Put water!
When all of this was done we went back to the bus where everyone got a sandwich and there was a brief moment of silence on the bus as everybody was enjoying the food and re-hydrating themselves! Next was destination No.2 = Bras D’Eau. Bras D’eau is an absolutely stunning area which is mainly made up of forest. The kids were able to see the ‘adult’ version of some endemic trees and learnt some history about Mauritius!
Last and the most exciting destination was the beach! We headed for Post Lafayette, where we quickly got changed and were in the water in no time! Sam headed the “Backward Flips” station and I was in charge of launching the swimming races! We learnt the hard way that the animal shells sometimes left on the rocks are sharp! But there is always place for new experiences whether good or bad!
The day was concluded by the singing and playing of sega songs on the bus to once again heighten the atmosphere! Sometimes its as simple as planting a tree and being with children who appreciate the education that they are given at Eli Africa that changes one’s feelings and aims in life! What a great experience and I have a feeling that this memory will stay at the forefront of my experiences as my life continues to go on.
Thanks Eli Africa! For Everything…
Here’s a quick post to share some really exciting news with you people!
This past week was personally very hectic and a lot of things actually happened during the past five days. The week started with a really fruitful meeting with three people from Harel Mallac. For those of you who don’t already know, we’ve been working since the end of last year with Harel Mallac to develop a new website for ELI Africa and I would like to seize the opportunity here to thank Mr Oliver Lew and his team for the great work they’ve done so far. The aim of the meeting was to agree on the final design of the website and to discuss some other issues, which I am not going to mention here fearing that I might break the suspense. I can however say that I was very pleased with what they proposed. So, exciting news #1 – if we don’t encounter any major obstacle, ELI Africa will have a new website by the end of this month!
Exciting news #2! When I went to the office on that same day, I was welcomed by Vedant, Sam and a third person. She was acting a bit shy but always had a beautiful smile on her face. I’ll most certainly talk about her in more details in future posts but I would just like to introduce you to Mrs Palaram, our newly appointed Operations Officer! I would like to seize the opportunity this time to say a monumental thank you to Krishnee, our former Operations Officer, and to wish her the best for her future endeavours! She’ll always be part of our ELI Africa family.
On Wednesday, I spent the whole day at the Ministry of Finance for a training session whose aim was to help NGOs with presenting and managing projects. It was actually quite interesting but on that particular day, my mind was oftentimes wandering somewhere else. Around Roches Bois to be more precise, which brings us to the exciting news #3 – classes resumed in our center in Roches Bois on Wednesday! The first feedbacks from the ELI Corps members were actually very encouraging. According to Matthieu, the kids were excited and ready to tackle the coming year. I am definitely going there on Monday. You might not believe me but I am missing those kids.
It was a good but tiring week. TGIF!
Have a nice week end!
It is impossible for our earth to remain constant and not be prone to the changes regarding not only the climatic change but also the way in which people are evolving. As the years have gone by we have learnt to take and see this as the beauty that the world’s geography has to offer. With 2013 comes a new year, new resolutions, new changes, new challenges and last but not least new relations.
2012 was a great year! I found out about Eli Africa and fell into a course of my life that I never knew even existed in the first place. It was a defining year for me, I grew to know more about myself as a person and as a human being. I learnt from the mistakes I made and from the advice that many generous people communicated to me on various occasions. I discovered a whole new world and not forcibly concerning the good side; I dove into the study of International Relations and it opened my eyes to a less innocent world where ruthless political leaders ruled. It soon became a passion of mine to explore the ways in which they used a mixture of intelligence and strategy to get where they wanted to be. I became in aw of many who had power between the years 1900-2000. I went through the Great World Wars as well as the Cold War extensively and found my “calling” if you will. 2012 was the year where I, in somewhat of a manner, decided my future.
This year will be a roller-coaster to say the least. Whenever there’s an ‘up’ there will automatically be a ‘down’ and that’s where the real test lies; it will be up to us to decide what roads to take and what decisions to make. In my case it will be a year where accumulating a certain level of knowledge will be seated in the front seat. We’ve already been seeing some of what this year will bring, the climatic dangers are fiercer than ever with wild fires roaring in Australia, below freezing conditions in Syria and for the first time in 8 years, snow makes an appearance in London. The rich are going to become richer and the poor, poorer unless we decide to take hold and make a change where it matters. It only takes 0.35% of each person’s income to take every single person out of hunger and starvation. With only two years left to fulfill the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, 2013 has to be a year of change for the good; we as the world’s population cannot afford to waste time anymore. I have decided to do my part by attempting to achieve the second of the eight goals which is to “achieve universal primary education” and I tend to do it through Eli Africa who as an organization offers a door for us to open and walk straight through to a better world and a better tomorrow.
I wish you all a fantastic New Year and make sure to do your best so that together we can move forward as one.
Being a volunteer is akin to a roller-coaster ride. You never know when your heart is going to stop but you enjoy the thrill all the same. Before joining ELI Africa, I had never really done proper volunteering. I used to watch with a mix of awe and admiration as some of my friends would give their time and effort to a selfless cause, wondering whether I had it in me to do the same and follow in their footsteps. With hindsight, I believe that I should never have hesitated to jump headfirst into volunteering. True, it is a real challenge and the road can be tough and daunting, littered with winding passages. But it is also hugely satisfying despite the testing times and moments of doubt and deep frustration. For those who have not yet joined the bang-wagon of volunteer work, please do so! Life is too short to wait before doing the right thing or starting something you’ve always dreamt of doing. Take the first step forward; the miracles of faith and hope shall take care of the rest!!!
In 1985, the United Nations designated the 5th of December as the International Volunteer Day. On this occasion, I would like to say a big thank you to all people who volunteered and are still volunteering (also those who will volunteer in the future) for ELI Africa.
I was at the OSTE Center in Roches Bois today, waiting for the lady to open the center because I had to give her the consent forms which the children’s parents would have to sign for the field trip next week. SO PUMPED!! WE ARE GOING TO THE BEST FIELD TRIP EVER!! A visit at an endemic forest in Chamarel, where a lot of surprises are awaiting our kids followed by a visit at La Vanille Crocodile Park- home of many wondrous creatures, including the amazing giant tortoise. The whole adventure – with photos of course – here next week!
The lady arrived to open the door and let everyone in. Eswari arrived almost at the same time and Matthieu arrived several minutes after. I could observe two things. The first one was that a bond had clearly been created between the kids and their teachers. The second thing was that both volunteers looked really happy and eager to give a helping hand to the kids. This made me think of one thing Krishnee wrote about in a previous post. Hope. When you see those young people dedicating their time and skills to help others in need without waiting for anything in return, you clearly see hope. Hope for a better country and hope for a better world.
Ouff, I don’t really see time passing when i’m with the children. Actually last week I came to meet, if I can say, near bliss. The relationship between the children and myself has strengthened in such a way that when the holidays come I will surely end up crying and missing them loads.
It happened the previous Wednesday. There were less students than usual. We started the class a bit as usual. Yet soon, the discussion altered towards a discussion about school and college life itself. For the first time, the children actually started to open up to me and confided in me many things. It is that time that I understood why some people say that “love is the solution to every problem” and “love can help you to know happiness/bliss.” Actually one of my students, Jolenda just hugged me before leaving and with tears in her eyes said “mo konten ou miss. pu mank ou bku zour pena lesson”- I love you Miss and will miss you. At that time I was kind of speechless. It was the first time a child just… told me this. I did not quite know what to do but just hugged her back. I had tears in my eyes too, in fact :$ (maybe I am too emotional) but it was so touching. My heart was filled with such a happiness that I continued to smile all the way home. My parents in fact was surprised when I arrived home smiling and just hugged them and told them “I love you”. This was the most touching moment I had, if i can say, in my life.
I would surely thanks ELI Africa to have given me such and opportunity to be with these children and to grow up myself along with them. It is a wonderful job
Striving, building, empowering,
As resilient as the strong reeds,
Slowly, brilliantly, surely,
Where to start and what to write? What to include and what to leave out? The time I’ve spent at ELI Africa so far has been a hell of a roller-coaster ride. Everything, right from the interaction with kids to team work with Neha, Sam and Cedric, has contributed in making me a humbler, more complete and better person. Polishing off lesson plans for the English curriculum has been no small task, but it’s also been a process of learning, unlearning and relearning, getting lost in the phantasmagorical world of language and rediscovering the joys of childhood again. From cinquains to quatrains, from poetry to prose, from grammar to syntax, and from alphabets to paragraphs, this action-packed adventure, courtesy of ELI Africa, has been a lesson in love, sharing, hope and dedication. The founder of this NGO, the great Vedant Seeam, a young man of vision and aspiration, has managed to make us dream of a better world, a world of laughter and giggles, of understanding and experience, of turning weaknesses into opportunities, and of seeing through the veil of poverty and misery. His dream is slowly but surely hatching into hardcore reality and not a day passes, without every one of us at ELI Africa feeling thankful and grateful that we were taken on board this extraordinary initiative!
A single afternoon spent with a roomful of energetic kids at Roche Bois; a discussion with ELI Corps members about the progress of their students; cups of fresh juice poured for thirsty and sweat-dripping lads, a packet of chocolate chip cookies devoured by cheerful lasses, while I do a quick lesson on nouns and adjectives using the labels on the chocolate chip packet; a very long walk in the scorching sun, past the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, while desperately looking for the local Social Welfare Centre; a visit to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and being greeted by an enthusiastic officer who lauds the efforts of our NGO regarding the creation of the ELI Forest in Plaine des Roches and wishes us success in our enterprise; meeting extremely committed young people who dedicate their time and efforts in ensuring that the ELI Corps program is a resounding success and at the same time instilling a sense of pride in this generation, which, alongside ipads, iphones, etc, are hell-bent on giving back something to society: all of the above is proof enough of the fact that my ‘work’ at ELI Africa does not consist of one dull moment
Hope is a powerful word; faith even more so. At ELI Africa, we’ve learned the importance of these two words. The road has not been easy, the journey promises to be full of bumpy rides and nothing is written in black and white, but in shades of ‘awesomeness’ (Vedant’s favourite word, methinks). But as long as we harbour the willingness to work for our country, for its people, for the denizens of this world, then impossible is nothing, if you’ll pardon the cliché. We are proud to say that we DO different, we THINK different and we ARE different. Today, ELI Africa’s strength is undeniably the children who are being empowered to attain their full potential. We can’t thank them enough for believing in us. As long as we have their support, we shall OVERCOME every stumbling block and stand tall.