I’m traveling between time zones. And realities. Yesterday I was in Mauritius, this morning I woke up in London, and tonight I’m going to bed in Denmark. I have three different realities the three places, and I’m wondering if they fit together. My life has been in Mauritius for two months, and everything going on has happened there. That’s how I’ve experienced it anyway. In a few hours I’ll land in Copenhagen, where my family won’t understand what I mean when saying ayo or alala. That means I’ll have to remove what has been and still is my reality, because I’m the only one living it. It is really a shame, as nothing covers the meaning of ayo like ayo.
There are some things – well, loads of things – that are hard to leave behind. Boyfriend, friends, language and to some extent even my personality. I’ll miss all of this. Still, there is something lovely about coming back to another home. Things you didn’t even know you missed. Like your own duvet cover, or the smell of Sainsbury’s washing up liquid. All those small things that you can’t really take with you.
Now is the time to make sense of what has happened for the past two months – go through everything again. Look at pictures and digest the experience. I’ll probably write about it, just like my shrink told me to. Writing is my way of philosophising. While living in Mauritius everything has been a flow. Even though no one is stressing, there is never time to sit down and figure out what is happening. Everything is a kind of flow.
Mona asked me yesterday what I’d done at work, and it turns out all those hours when I didn’t feel like I did something actually resulted in tangible stuff in the end. So what did I do? I initiated a training course in human rights for Mauritian hotels and businesses. Hopefully in five years it will mean that more that the current 1/3 of the population knows Amnesty. I have gone into factory buildings and dormitories I wasn’t supposed to visit. Sometimes I was stopped and kicked out by aggressive guards, and other times I was invited for tea. I’ve taken pictures and had dinner with migrant workers who want to leave Mauritius to see their families at home. They’ve told me their stories, and I’ve published articles about them. Some of which have been discussed in the parliament. Reading the parliamentary debate afterwards it turns out some of the ministers don’t really appreciate my work. Then again, I’ve played a main role in giving the workers an opportunity to go home. Eight have gone from being harassed at work and being paid 40 pence an hour to now being on their way home. Meeting some of these workers after they got their tickets has meant the world to me. I know they are forever grateful, and that is so much more important to me than worrying about getting a new residence permit or one of the ministers refusing to take my hand.