Though we live and breathe Kazakhstan, members of staff at Haileybury Astana never forget their roots. We are immensely proud of our British heritage, and feel that it is important to remember and respect events that are significant at home.
Remembrance Sunday is one such event. The events of various Wars, both past and present, and the sacrifices made for our country are important to all of us. However, the event itself is something that is not commonly known about in Kazakhstan. Our Year 6 classes thus spent the week in English researching the topic and preparing speeches for the event.
Kazakh fun fact: Kazakhstan’s day of remembrance is May 9, which is known as Victory Day.
We were informed that a ceremony was taking place at the Monument to the Defence of the Motherland on the Sunday. We braved the cold air and icy, marble steps – I don’t really know what possessed the architects of Astana to build so many monuments with slippery marble surfaces – to stand and pay our respects on that morning. Well, once we had found it. It took a while.
We were not the only expatriates at the service. There were some big hitters around, and once it had finished we were invited to the Canadian Ambassador’s place for tea to warm up. Briefly warm up, at least. Our scavenging had moved into its second week. Places we had to locate this week included a bread factory and a tyre bazaar. We were taking our photo at the latter when an old Kazakh man in a large hat came over and insisted that he be in the photo as well, which was pretty interesting.
But Sunday was about the poignant event beforehand. We stood humbly and silently for two minutes. Brief speeches were made by a few diplomats, and prayers were uttered. Some of our children came along to lay the wreath at the foot of the soldier statues. It was great to get the children involved in an event that is close to our hearts.
Love you all