J.L. Hugues Sauzier

We have celebrated the achievements of a young nation that has gone through its share of economic troubles, and emerged as a prosperous, dynamic, educated people – a benchmark for the region.

Yes, we’ve been blessed by the grace of God and we’ve been spared the atrocities that we have often seen happening abroad when differences in cultures and religious beliefs can stir passions to the point of division, conflicts and war. Not so for our rainbow nation. Early signs of such primitive impulses in our post-independence era were nipped in the bud. Energies were channeled to shift from our vulnerable monoculture to a more balanced economy that engages Mauritians from all walks of life.

But for all our social and economic prowesses, there remains, like a thorn in our flesh, a condition that threatens the social fabric of our dear nation – the state of homelessness that affects too many of our fellowmen. I’d like to be their voice today inasmuch as I identify with them and hear their misery week after week. Our plea is that none should judge or condemn those of us seen roaming aimlessly in the streets of our area. We all make mistakes in life and some get away with it, but others can get to the point of being thrown out of their homes and end up living in the streets. To them, we ought to show compassion and mercy and it does not take a lot to do that. First, we can change the way we look upon them, without judgment and condemnation, but with mercy and love. Second, we can attempt to help just one of them, get to know his or her name, and just attend in any way that we can. Homeless people need more that they be recognised as children of God than the material things that they also need – food and clothing.

As we celebrate our 50 years of independence, my plea is that we should not neglect the homeless that we see increasing in numbers around us. The strength and effectiveness of our development is measured at its weakest point.