To my surprise, I realised that the majority of the students had braved the weather conditions to attend school by the time we got there and so was our Guest of Honour, Mr Koushal Beekarry, Head of the English Department at the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate. The children’s faces were beaming with excitement, clearly not phased by the gloomy weather outside or the lack of lighting! In fact, in our Moka campus, being plunged into darkness because of the power outage required the ceremony to be held outdoors, albeit sheltered, for some glimpse of daylight!
And so we began the assembly: the prayer followed by a couple of fun nursery rhymes to warm up, leading into the national anthem, singing “Glory to thee, Motherland of mine…”. It was honestly a moving scene with our kids dressed so smartly in their uniform, standing perfectly still in their well rehearsed “attention position”, proudly waving their Mauritian flags and respectfully singing their hearts out. I could not resist a proud smile myself as they innocently struggled to hit the high notes of the “as one nation, as one people” part of the song. After some “hip-hip-hooray” cheers, Mr Beekarry gave a brief history of Mauritius, whose entire population one has to note are descendants of migrants. We finished off with some yummy refreshments.
So yes, today was a totally different day from what we had planned, definitely shorter and not as fancy as we had hoped for; whilst it ended up being simple, it was special and unique in its own way. Importantly, I believe that it would have made those that fought for the freedom of this country proud. I was not born in Mauritius myself, but I did marry a wonderful Mauritian man seven years ago, have two little Mauritian children and, ever since the foundation of Dukesbridge, have experience with adorable little kids joining from diverse backgrounds and calling Mauritius home. One should not underestimate little kids’ understanding of the differences in traits, features and skin colour, and yet this has no impact whatsoever on them being young and free - playing, laughing and learning together as true friends. As Mr Beekarry rightly pointed out in his speech, they are the future of this country and I have every confidence in this generation growing in respect, love and acceptance of each other.
By Shannon Briggs