Whats it all about . . .

My name is Rachel Talbot and from September 2011 to July 2012 I will be Volunteering for Project Trust, a charitable organization which sends young adults from 17-19yrs overseas to do charitable work in a range of projects. I raised 5000 pounds for this opportunity through a range of events and would like to thank everyone who donated! This year i will be working in a center for children with disabilities while immersing myself in all things Mauritian! Hopefully i can update here what i am up to, may not update religiously . . . Thanks for visiting :)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

It's the Final Countdown . . .

So Im into my last week of Mauritius. Its one of a long list of lasts. Last Sunday, last day on the beach, last ride of my bike, last day of work . . .

The night before my last day of work felt like Christmas eve, I was working as hard as an elf. Painting cards, baking cakes, buying presents.  I was excited to give them all my goodies but so sad thinking it would be the last time I would see most of the children. On the day, which was the last day of term, we had a big party with sega dances, songs and the boys break dancing. They pulled me up to swing my hips with the girls and at the end I stood up to say a few words in creole about how much I’d miss them all and what its meant to have met them all. We had a huge feast and lots of singing and dancing. I was determined to stay positive and enjoy myself on the last day and not let myself get down thinking about how much id miss being a part of CEDEM. The kids were delighted to get printed photos of themselves and they told me how they would keep them forever. The pleasure that lit up on their faces made a huge smile break out on mine.  As the end of school came and the kids were leaving I gave each of them a big hug and told them I’d never forget them. The sweetest part was from one of the mothers of one of the most disabled girls at the school who said at home she always asks “wheres Miss Rachelle?” and is constantly bringing up my name. I was so emotionally drained from the day but looking back I have really fond memories of it. Next week ill drop all my extra stuff at shelter. I can’t wait to see the looks on the girls faces when they see im leaving them 90% of my wardrobe, my straightners plus my ipod and everything else in between! Where as in my bag to come home my most valued things are a sega drum, one pair of jeans to my name and a bottle of rum. Happy days!

This weekend me and Helen also went scuba diving for the first time.A really amazing experience that we’d wanted to do for a long time! We were under the water for forty minutes at a depth of 14 metres. It was unreal being in the under water world spotting octopus, all kinds of colourfull fish and bright coral. I manged to bring a shell back up to the surface as a souvenir and It’s definitely not the last time I’ll be doing it!

I had a really nice weekend before staying at a teachers house out in one of the farming villages. Learning to Indian dance, write in hendi, watching bollywood films and be spoilt rotten with sooo much food. For an afternoon tea one day we had bread deep fried in batter. Its safe to say my extra chins are going to exceed the baggage allowance on my flight home! It was so nice to walk around the farm with her kids, seeing how almost everything edible grows in their garden. We picked passion fruit and bananas of the tree, dug up peanuts and peeled sugar cane with knifes to feast on. Her daughter, Ischika, also wrote out a Creole exam for me which was a lot of fun!

Its becoming so so real for leaving now. The other day I sold my bike to my favourite fruit seller in the market for 1000 ruppees. He says he’s going to strap on his fruit box (about the size of a television) and cycle it up to curepipe everyday!

It’s going to be surreal seeing all the family and friends once I go home. My brother who left for Australia on the same day as me is coming back next weekend too so it’ll be an even more special family reunion. it’ll be nice to see how everyone has changed over the year. I know I have picked up some funny habits like greeting people with two kisses on the cheek and crying “Ayoo mumma” when something goes wrong.

This week it’s hit home how much the level of poverty there still is in Mauritius. I was having a conversation with one of the teacher who told me that a good wage for a teacher to start off on here would be 10,000 rupees a month, about £250. I think about the job at home I had in the shop before I left and I was getting £500-£600 a month where as here a girl in the same shop would be lucky to get £60 a month. It doesn’t seem right to me that I was getting thrown all this money at such a young age where as families here have to make it work for food, rent, clothes on about a 5th of what I was getting. Where as what do I have to spend it on, clothes and nights out! When I get my first pay packet when I go home it will be a shock to be given all that money, I’ll have no Idea what to spend it on. She also told me that the poorest villages on the coast, where I could never go because it’s too dangerous, there are families of nine or ten kids, who have such a little food for themselves and their houses are mere shacks made of iron sheets. It’s given me a lot to think about and I hope that when I get back I’ll be a lot more aware of my spending and how easy life is for me back in the UK.

This last week of holiday will be filled with goodbyes, last minute shopping, packing and consuming as much Mauritian food as humanly possible! I can’t believe soon ill be back at home where seeing a white person outside my house I won’t just automatically think that they’re lost like here in the ghetto!

Au revoir for now, ill try and update one last time before ive settled back into Ullapool life . . .


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