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Today, Fathers’ Day …

When in life, some decisions have to be taken, one is very often orientated towards someone who will for sure, indicate the best way to drive through a new road… For me this person is my Dad. Even if he passed away nearly 18 years ago, I am more than certain that he is with the stars over there, looking at me with his blue eyes. So, my words will be about him. Dear readers of “Drops of Everything”, for you to be more acquainted with my “Hero”, I will tell you who was Raymond Mamet, my beloved Dad…

Born in 1912, in Mauritius, he was from a family where literature, arts and sciences were part of the day-to-day life. Very young he showed interest in natural science. He had also in mind to become a medical doctor… But, for different reasons, after high school he studied at the Agricultural College of Mauritius, worked in the Entomology laboratory, he soon was promoted to the head of this department. Even so, he fairly quickly took the opportunity to use his knowledge in a more medical way, when he joined the Ministry of Heath. His main task was to get rid of malaria on the island and he succeeded…

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After many years of research, lecturer in Colleges and University, he retired and was not the type of person to stay at home without a target in terms of scientific research. Therefore, he joined the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute where he became technical consultant. At the time the main industry on the island, was sugar cane but the quotas having been reduced, an alternative had to be found, food-producing, so he worked quite a lot to promote this project. At the same time, he was technical adviser to anthurium flower producers.

During all his life, he invested himself and did a huge job studying entomological faunas of Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion Island. His “favorite insect” were mealybugs… He spent hours and hours working on these 3 to 7 mm insects. I still can see him looking through his microscope, an Indian ink pen in his hand, gathering all the patience he had, drawing every single details. He spent hours, if not days. As I child, I thought this would never end.

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My Dad’s microscope

One of his drawings

One of his drawings

During his life, travelling had no secret for him, not only nearly all the islands of the Indian Ocean, he visited and gave many conferences in Africa, Europe. He had colleagues in many countries of the world, some of whom became friends… I still have contact with them.

His work is “celebrated” worldwide… Very much respect was shown to him by many eminent scientists…

I spoke of the man of science, but just a few words on the man himself.

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Brought up in a French way, my Dad was reserved, simple, but he knew how to show his disagreement, in a very elegant way, but even so, it was said. He was one of these men whose noble-heartedness and professional skills were measured  progressively by people who got to know him, and these qualities proved to be deep and strong. He had a special sense of humor, even brought up as a French man, one could feel a slight English taste in it.

France was his home nation, home from where his ancestors came from, he had this strongly in his heart. The fact that he left all his insects collections, his library to the French Natural History Museum proved his attachment to the “mother nation”… France rewarded him as well as other nations, but I know that when France promoted him “Commandeur des Palmes Académiques” he was so happy…and somewhat proud of being recognized for all his work and for the exceptional man he was.

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My Dad with my children, Julie and Pierre-Albin

Recently, the Republic of Mauritius, paid tribute to him,  his name was added on the Colonne Liénard of the Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses. I had the opportunity to attend this moving ceremony. On this monument, all the names of eminent scientists are mentioned, as Pierre Poivre, Sir Wiliam Newton, Mahé de Labourdonnais…

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I am so thankful, Dad for all you did for me, thankful for all I have learned from you, you have always helped me and I know you are and will guide me…

You will be missed forever!

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