For many years I perceived the country of Mauritius as a slice of heaven, a place of tranquil, love and the most breathtaking wonders of nature. I thought it was isolated from the African continent so that it doesn’t suffer from the predicaments encountered such as poverty, crime, HIV/AIDS etc.
Upon my arrival at Mauritius, I noticed that most of my perceptions were right and some even better than what I had dreamed of, this was because I was only looking at a single side of Mauritius, there was another side, the unseen side of Mauritius. When YUVA (Youth United in Voluntary Action) invited me to be part of a very philanthropic course last Sunday, where we will be donating clothes, I was very excited, in my mind I thought that was an exciting December event that promoted humanity and sharing, an event that allows average people to share clothes with one another, however, this was not the case.
YUVA donates clothes because people need them, they don’t want them but they need them. When we arrived at the village where the clothes will be donated, I thought we used our car as a teleportation machine that took us out of Mauritius and into a very poor village located somewhere deep in a developing country, this didn’t have the most basic needs a human must have, there was no water, no toilets and the shacks built there were falling apart. We were welcomed by a dog with a scared face and bones showing as though it was suffering from some sort of hunger diseases, this dog kept barking at a white car behind us where two men where speaking, it’s as if this dog knew that what they were doing was wrong. When I asked I was told these men were dealing drugs daylight. When we went deeper, I finally realized that the white car was just an introduction to the many social problems that existed within this village.
Merci which translates to Thank you is what they said when we gave them the clothes. Men, kids and women accepting clothes not because they want but because they need to. As I looked around, it was hard to walk because one had to be careful not to step on the many dog poo that was almost everywhere when I realized that there are no toilets there, I thought that the many poos aren’t only for dogs. As I looked around I saw the cute little kids playing with no clue of the toxic world they live in, I saw the frustrated mothers who have no idea how to break this life-threatening predicament they find themselves in and so they use their bodies as a way to make money. Lastly, I saw the fathers who were living to die, with drugs as their daily bread and alcohol their water, they were disappointed that no one is supporting them.
Although this village was illegal, I fear for the young kids who are born without any formal document, born in a world that is very toxic and more importantly I fear for the dreams that are lost.
By Gift Lubele, African Leadership University