As many of you know, although I was raised and educated in London, England and has lived in America for years yet I was born in a little tropical island called Mauritius. Although it is considered to be part of Africa yet because it is detached for so many miles from the continent, Mauritians will consider themselves first as islanders rather than Africans. That’s neither a negative or positive, it is just the way it is. The same can be said about the good people of Réunion which is the sister island of Mauritius. These islands as well as Rodrigues are know as Mascarenas Islands.
This collective title is derived from the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, who first visited them in the early sixteenth century. The islands share a common geologic origin in the volcanism of the Réunion hotspot beneath the Mascarene Plateau and form a distinct ecoregion with a unique flora and fauna.
As I just mentioned above, I was born in Mauritius but live in the USA. I still visit the Mascarenas Islands twice a year and I must admit I love it.
Why do I love the Mascarenas Islands?
- Because many of my family (mom and dad, cousins, uncles and aunts) still live in Mauritius. My brother James returned to Mauritius and is pastoring a great church in Port Louis and has planted five more churches in the region.
- It forces me to speak French, especially when I am in Réunion island. I grew up speaking Créole and French but when I left Mauritius at a tender age and moved to the Anglophone world I put the French language to one side. So it’s good to go back to the mother-tongue.
- I love Créole and French food and whenever I am in the islands I get spoilt with great food from my Mom and wherever I go.
- Church is exciting in Mauritius and Réunion islands. You can have a service at 10am on a Wednesday and the place will be filled with people. The praise & worship in Créole or French is exciting especially when they do it with the Séga beats.
- People love God in the islands and Africa. As I travel around the world, I have noticed something peculiar about islanders and Africans which is different from people in the West. Africans and Islanders worship and love God with all of their hearts. They love church services, prayer meetings and will attend church three or more times a week. This is something that believers in the West sometimes struggle with.