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Exchange Visit Maldives/Seychelles December 2004

Report prepared by:

  • Yoosuf Sidhqee
  • Mohamed Abdulla
  • Moosa Wasiu
  • Aminath Sanooha Shameem
  • Fathimath Saeed
  • Hanee Shakir

Madhrasathul Ahmadhiyya,
Male',
Maldives


Introduction

Small Island Voice (SIV) forum is an internet - based forum which focuses on individual discussions about the problems and views in different small island nations. Some of them are Mauritius, Maldives, Seychelles, and Palau...etc.

The aim of the exchange trip between the Seychelles and Maldives was to learn and understand problems faced by both island nation, especially about the environment and the educational status in both countries.

Day One (12th December 2004)
Six students from Madharasathul Ahmadhiyya accompanied by Mr. Hassan Nashid, arrived in Seychelles at around 3.00pm, on 12th December 2004. No sooner we arrived to Seychelles; they welcomed us by open arms. Everyone was deeply impressed by the warm welcome received with flowers.

"Even though some of their faces were new, they treated us as if we were very close to each other. We linked arms with them as we walked to the bus." Hanee Shakir

The hills are covered in lush green vegetation. And the plants that we found on Seychelles are entirely different from what we used to find back in the Maldives. We were thrilled to find those new plants.

At 4.00pm we arrived at polytechnic youth hostel where we stayed for 3 days. After a short while we went on a walk around hostel and finally reached the beach. There were plenty of different verities of trees. We had a wonderful dinner which was quite similar to what we used to eat in our homes. Lights were out for sleep around 10.00pm.

Day Two (13th December 2004)
We woke up early at 6 am. After a quick shower and breakfast we were on our way to meet the Minister of Education Mr. Danny Faure. The weather was a bit rainy. The van took about 30 minutes to reach the ministry.

After welcomed by the Minister, we had frank discussions concerning the environment of both Seychelles and Maldives. In the Minister's speech he pointed out that the world has now realized the earth is the home for human beings. He also said that the sustainable development plays a major role in preserving the nature and the youths of both countries could take part in preserving the nature. He also emphasized that huge countries like China, Japan and USA could adversely destroy our precious environment as well and we also have every right to the oxygen we breathe in. In conclusion, he strongly pointed out that "we" the small islands should not only be holiday destinations but also could take our own decisions regarding the environmental and other issues as well.

After the meeting with the Minister, we went to the Youth Centre from where we gained so much knowledge about the youths of the Seychellois. While we were discussing certain issues with the counselors in the centre, we came to know that sex issues were mostly taken care of in Seychelles because most of the young people are involved in such cases.

At about 12 in the noon we walked our way up into the Vice president's Palace where we were given a warm welcome. We met the two advisors for the Vice President as well. The Vice President Joseph Blant was a friendly and sociable person. In our discussion, vice President also addressed about the similar problems the youths of both countries are facing today and that if we do not take any action beforehand, it would be too late. Then youths of both countries discussed about what had been done in response to "Zero tolerance to littering".

After having drinks 2 youths from each country were interviewed by the SBC (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation).

After that we went to the botanical garden where we had an appetizing lunch. We observed new species of birds and plants there.

At about 4.30 pm, we started our journey back to the hostel. After a 30 minutes ride, we reached the hostel. We all were so exhausted so we had a quick shower and gathered for the follow up of the day. After dinner at 8 pm, we slept at 11 pm after playing few games.

Cidae'

Day Three (14th December 2004)
We left for the tour of Mahe' at 08:15am. The first on the list was Youth Village. We were welcomed by the director of the place who was a very friendly person. This was a very interesting place as the place is ideal for teaching life skills for adolescents. The place seemed to be more like a youth camp which helps the youths to employ their holidays effectively. We had the chance of meeting some of the youths at the village who were 7 to 8 years old. This gave us a fair idea of how they conducted their youth program. Following a quick tour of the place, we headed to Victoria.

On the way we came by the landfill and an Artificial Park. This place is a long term project that is to be accomplished for the purpose of conserving endemic plants and animals.

Though the day started with promising views of Mahe the day turned out to be a bit interfered with weather. But we had an honored invitation by the Minister of Environment Ronnie at Sams Pizza Restaurant

Here we had a very open discussion about both countries sustainable development in response to environment, fishing and tourism which followed a great lunch.

'The best lunch I had during the short visit' (Mohamed Abdulla)

One of the prominent things that we found that day was that Seychellois had an abundance of tuna that can be processed and exported as in Maldives. Mr. Ronnie found it very interesting that we are earning a lot of foreign in come form exporting tuna as said that it should be initiated in Seychelles.

As we departure for Beau Vallon Beach at noon there was a light shower. Though we had a breath taking bird view of the capital we were not blessed to see the beautiful Vallon Beach due to the heavy rain.

At 4.00 pm we invited by some relatives of Maldivians who welcomed us very warmly. Here we met the Managing director of Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Afeef. When we were having evening tea we found out a superstition of Seychellois which stated "If you eat breadfruit of Seychelles you are sure to come back". So we ate a lot of breadfruit chips, hoping to visit the place. Then Mr. Afeef took us to a tour of SBC and even had the chance of seeing the 6:00pm news live from studio 1. Finally we came back to youth hostel and discussed about the day.

Day Four (15th December 2004)
We all woke up at 5:30 am and got ready, packing for the voyage to Praslin. After a delicious breakfast we went in to the town to go to a mini workshop. We met many students of Seychelles like Fatim Kante who was the tennis champion of the Seychellois; we all were very excited, especially when we came to know that the youths of Seychelles were very concerned about their environment. After the work-shop we all went for a walk around the town and had quick snack at the independence cafeteria and back to the place where the work shop was held.

At 2:00 pm we all went to the rehabilitation center where we got much information about the drugs and alcohol abusers.

After we got a tour of Mont Royale Center we left for the jetty. At 4:00 we left for Praslin. When we arrived on Praslin we were given a warm welcome by the SIV Youth participants' parents and their school principal.

That night we all had a delicious dinner where everyone gathered together and had fun.

Day five (16th December 2004)

As usual we started the day with a wonderful breakfast but this time at Jean Mark's place. Unlike other days we had fetch a bus, so we had to commence early at 7:30 a.m., it took around five minutes to arrive at the bus stop and ten minutes to reach the Vallee De Mai, The Nature Reserve.

There we were guided by a well experienced woman; we learnt a lot about the Coco de mer and other organisms which are under extinction in Seychelles. We were taken by surprise to know that black parrots are even found in that area but we were not so fortunate enough to observe one. The scientific name of coco de mer was related to Maldives but we were told it has no relation with us. Instead we have to agree since there is no proof that verifies its origin is from Maldives. The tour was so interesting that we did not realize the fatigue, but at the end of the session in a sudden burst we were packed down to the bench.

After having soft drinks we visited Praslin Secondary School. There we got few minutes to explore but we saw many interesting banners which would be cool to put them up in our school. Then after taking few snaps with their principal we had to walk to the pearl farm. After around fifteen minutes we arrived pearl farm. At the Pearl Farm, we discovered that they rear young ones in semi intensive system. Later they transfer them into the sea. We also sighted some species of fish in the tanks in the tanks such as sharks, surgeon fish and lobsters as well.

After having lunch we walked to the Anse Lazio Beach via Mont Plaisir. We swam and played some games on the beach. Later we went back to Alize's place where we had our dinner and then the boys went back to Jean Marc's place where they drifted into a peaceful sleep.

Day Six (17th December 2004)

The day was dominated for island hopping by a catamaran. We had the chance to see many attractive snorkeling sites. We stopped by one such site and landed our feet on Curieuse Island off Praslin Northern coast. It was known that this island is a part of Marine life and only few people live there. The first attraction of the island was a pen for rearing giant tortoise in an exciting conservation project. Then everyone walked through a trail which ran through extensive swamps which had the touch of wild life.

"The roots of the mangroves upright like nails coming out of ground. It was a quite scary but at the same time magnificent." (Mohamed Abdullah)

Then we enjoyed through the ruins of the ancient leper colony. It was know that this island was a sanctuary for leper. In Maldives also, lepers were being sent to nearby islands or remote areas in large islands. Fortunately there are no lepers in both countries. It was known that in 1870s, a house for the doctor to stay on the island was raised. Today this 'Doctor's house' is a charming museum which holds the island history.

After our lunch the catamaran, we cruised to the famous Cousin Island. This is a natural reserve for a wide range of fauna, including Terns, Skinks, doves and Giant tortoise. The one our tour guide seemed to last for few minutes as they occupied "rich views and information' of the picturesque island. It was known that around 250 000 birds nest on cousin each year. Here we discovered many new birds.

We came back to Praslin late in the evening and the excitement of the culture show began at 8.00pm. This show was organized to enhance the knowledge of both countries tradition and culture. The show followed a display of some Maldivian foods. The youths of Maldives explained how the foods were prepared and what occasions they were used. Everyone enjoyed a home made grand dinner that night.

Day Seven (18th December 2004)
On 18th December Saturday, We woke up early in the morning. Prepared for the day and had a delicious breakfast. We set off at 8.00am on a bus to the jetty. We sailed to la-Digue on a ship. It was a pleasant trip which lasted for 30min. From the ship we enjoyed the scenes passing by.

On the island there were very few vehicles and no traffic or congestion at all. In la Digue the most usual form of transport was by bicycle or an ox cart. We rode an ox-cart to L'union Estate.

"It was a new experience. I enjoyed it very much". (Aiminath Sanooha)

The estate we saw the ways of old plantation life. Near the Estate through a line of trees was an old cemetery which holds the graves of the Islands first settlers. On our way we saw an oil press which extracted rich coconut oil using an ox. After passing by the Vanilla plantation we went to the Estate tortoise pen followed by a place to ride horses. We had the opportunity to feed them grass.

We were fortunate that we had the luck to see one of the world rarest birds in the world; the black Paradise Flycatcher. A unique bird found nowhere in the world except in La Digue. Lunch was served on an extraordinary beach which had huge granite rocks near by. At about 03.00pm we left for Praslin.

After we reached Praslin the most difficult time we had to go through the whole trip came. We said our goodbyes and left with a lot of memories and even more knowledge which we will cherish forever in our hearts and souls.

Day Eight (19th December 2004)

Woke up early in the morning and got ready to say farewell to Seychelles. Ms. Farida and Mr. De Comarmond bade us farewell at the airport.

CONCLUSION
Through this exchange trip, we gained so much knowledge about the culture, tradition and environment of Seychelles. We also came to know that youths of both countries need to raise their voice so that the whole world could hear about the problems concerning small islands. It is also important that all the countries of the world should consider them as a whole and negotiate for a sustainable development. The governments of the countries should focus on youth based activities to allow them to understand as them as part of development.

 
 

To get involved, contact :

 
 

Dr. Faathin Hameed
Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources
Ghaazee Building, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Male
Republic of Maldives,
T: +960 332 2625, +960 770 6883
F: +960 332 6558
faathinhameed@fishagri.gov.mv
www.fishagri.gov.mv

Mr Hassan Nashid
Madhrasathul Ahmadhiyya
Buruzu Magu
Male', Republic of Maldives
T: +960 332 6950
F: +960 332 3730
naashi13@hotmail.com

 

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