Umar Malik Marwan, a Pakistani national, is now a resident of Mauritius and has been living here since five years now. Along with lecturing at the Doha Academy, he works in several sectors in Mauritius. As an expat here, he works extensively on enhancing the relationship between the two countries.
According to Umar Malik Marwan, there are lots of similarities between his homeland Pakistan and Mauritius. “Both are multi-lingual countries and have multi-cultural places such as churches, temples, mosques, and dargahs. People learn and are able to communicate using languages such as English, Arabic, Urdu, or Hindi,” the expat points out. However, he finds that in Mauritius, French is much more the vehicle of communication compared to Pakistan, where French is offered at SC and HSC levels by Cambridge University. As he sees it, Pakistan, being a country that remained out of reach to France and having never been a French colony, the Pakistanis are less aware of French language.
Umar estimates that the total Mauritian population can average to only a small city in Pakistan, as the country is very huge, consisting of more than 200 million people. “Traditional modes of transportation like the metro, trains, luxury coaches, and rickshaws have remained,” he says. Pakistan is a land of four seasons and has glaciers, high peaks, salt ranges, mountains, rivers, sea, and desert while in Mauritius, there are only two seasons.
After living here for five years, he would highly advise his natives to visit this island of the Indian Ocean with green belts and blue sea. It is a country where language is never a problem, as most people are multi-lingual. Mauritius is also a peaceful and politically stable country with African territory, UAE timings and mixed cultures. For him, Mauritius is a perfect touristic and honeymoon place and which also acts as a connecting hub between Africa and Asia. “I’ll strongly recommend Pakistanis to visit here, as already many Mauritians study and work in Pakistan and I would love it if economic factors pertaining to trade, tourism and sports increase between both countries,” he advances.
Adapting to Mauritian culture
Adapting to Mauritian food, culture and life style has not been so difficult for Umar, though it has cost him time to acclimatize. He confides that life here is not that busy and food is quite simple. ‘Rotis’, ‘chapattis’ and ‘parathas’, which are flat breads found in the cultures of both countries, are his main food. “Pakistanis mostly wear kurtas. Though it’s not in daily life trend, it’s not odd to practice Pakistani dress in Mauritius,” he pursues. As an expat here, people give him more respect and attention wherever he goes.
For him, life is almost stable in Mauritius, as there are no frequent power cuts and stable services of other daily life needs are a plus. The traffic system is the same in both States, but traffic signals and one-way lanes are different here. He occasionally misses his homeland, and to stay in touch with family and close ones, he connects with them through social media and visits them at least once a year.
When asked what he would do if ever he is chosen as a leader one day and acquires the power to change things in Mauritius, his response is: “If ever I am given power, I’ll put news summary in Sign language for the deaf community and I’ll make sure all products get brail writings (script) on them for blind persons and that all buildings and transport system should help the disabled and people with mobility issues,” he replies.
Apart from working as an Arabic lecturer at the Doha Academy, Umar works as Arabic tutor at his Institute in Rose Hill, where he teaches Arabic language to local students and gives online tuition to people from other countries at their own convenience. Also, he recently joined an online news journal and Web TV for Pakistan. It’s an online portal that started two years back mainly for news and Web TV. By installing one app on a cell phone, anyone can reach the news in Pakistan. “I am chief of bureau and my main concern is sharing good news from both sides to enhance mutual relations between the two countries,” he declares.
Currently, he is working on some projects for tourism guides and translation services for all tourists and commercial sectors. “I am writing a book for basic language learning according to the needs of the locals,” he adds. Last but not the least, he has adhered to some social NGO’s to take part in the lives of less fortunate people and bring their smiles back.
Umar is at the same time a horse lover, hiker, photographer, painter and calligrapher during his free time. “I have exhibited in Mauritius before, also participated in photography contests,” he reveals. He intends to organize an exhibition for his calligraphy work. The art of calligraphy gives him an internal joy. He says that his fans love the exclusivities he posts, for instance: 360 degree and photo shoot under water, and his photos have also been published in many newspapers in the world. Lastly, he likes collecting coins, currencies, t-shirts from different countries, pens, postal stamps and many more.