Going Globetrotting

The British School of Bahrain’s International Family Fair is proud to showcase its diversity. Ellen van Manen, the country stalls coordinator, tells us more about the market. 

Woman This Month (WTM): How long has the International Family Fair been running?
Ellen van Manen (EM): The International Family Fair is in its fifth year running, based on the Hamala campus; it ran on the Adliya campus 20 years ago too. The fair was originally organised by Friends of the BSB — a parent-based volunteering organisation. Sadly, the ‘Friends’ had to dissolve last year due to lack of volunteers.

Normally, mums would reply to an incentive of the Friends and then get involved. This year, the fair is organised by the school. I am in charge of the country stalls, which we continue to host as we did not want to lose this spirit of diversity.

WTM: The theme this year is ‘arts’. How will it be executed?
EM: The different countries will choose an art or artist. This will include: Malaysia with the shadow theatre, the Netherlands with Vincent van Gogh, France will sport the art of good food, Trinidad and Tobago will bring in steelpan music, and Rangoli sand art will represent India. They will transfer their ideas on the arts of their countries into products like Christmas decorations and food.

All these goods will be sold, proceedings of which will go to the school and a charity. In the past, we have had themes like ‘sports’ and ‘monuments’.

WTM: Which nationality stirred up the most excitement in the past?
EM: Bahrain is always a great success with their falcon. Last year, an Indian musician stirred some things up and the Netherlands made a good impression with their syrup-filled waffles from Lucas Stroopwafels.

The complete ambience is what makes our fair special. More than 5,000 people visited the fair last year. While most people think they will stay for an hour, they end up spending the whole day at the fair.

WTM: What does the day involve from start to finish?
EM: There are country stalls with their different games and foods provided by Al Areen. The raffle draw is a great hit, with prizes from various hotels, including iPads and barbecue night vouchers. Kids from all year groups will perform on the stage as well. The fair really captures the spirit of what our school is all about.

WTM: the majority of the money raised will go towards the school. Is there a particular facility or area that the money would benefit most?
EM: This has not yet been decided. Previous years’ proceedings went to new playground equipment, extra books for the library, an archery set for the PE department and a music carousel for the infant school. We would like to point out that all of this money will go to benefit the educational merits for the children in the school.

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Developing a Thick Skin

Patricia Kabalaoui

Mind, Body and Spirit