After arriving in Saint Helena Island – we have all been on a whirlwind of experiences – this is certainly one of the most extraordinary places on earth!! The contrast of landscapes is mind-blowing, with green lush forest and red earth and rock around the coastline:
This place is absolute HEAVEN for zoologists ~ entomologists, ornithologists, astronomoners, geologists, arachnologists and for sure any kind of botanist…!!!
We really look forward to meeting the experts in every field & visiting the observatory to see the incredible clear night sky, watching the wire-birds, and checking out the spiders eyes by night! We also hear there is a group of whale sharks which visited a group of fisherman near-by ~ we hope they comes to visit the yacht…!!!
Yes, we are certainly overwhelmed with the abundance of life here!
Sadly though, while here, we said our goodbye to beloved expedition volunteer Annemarie!! She departed PACHAMAMA here in Saint Helena to make it in time back to Switzerland for her family. Her participation and dedication to the TOPtoTOP expedition is beyond words – we certainly couldn’t have got this far without her.
Thank you so much for your wholehearted support Annemarie! Especially for your enthusiasm and joy, your laughter, and of-course your incredible and endless knowledge about the sea-life and animals, the stars, mountains and landscapes we encounterd! We cherished every moment and conversation you shared with us – thank-you!
Since our arrival – our diaries have been constantly filled with events and activities around the island, with many thanks to the Tourism Office. With such a small community – it hasn’t taken us long to really feel like we are “apart of the family” and get to know some of the incredible people doing their best for sustainability. There are many dedicated people here trying to protect this isolated ecosystem – which is wonderful to see.
Jodie and Rebecca from the National Trust have been specifically inspiring – and have helped us to organise some activities including a tree planting excursion with the local school in the “Millennium Forest”. This was an area completely decimated environmentally, however now is in speedy recovery.
Another inspiring person we have met has been Hazel from “the Consulate Hotel” who is really doing her part to make Saint Helina Island and it’s nature a beautiful place for generations to come. Thank you so much Hazel for your kind hospitality, and connecting us with others on the island doing their bit for conservation.
Our logistics host Lauren, from SGS, continues to be a life-saver in co-ordinating all our events, and gave us a fantastic tour of the island! Including a visit to another local here on the island; a tortoise which is over 100 years old!
With great gratitude we must also mention; “Pilling Primary School” which has warmly welcomed Salina and Andri into the classroom!!! There used to be 6 primary schools on the island, but with receding numbers, there is now only 3, with Pilling Primary having only 112 students.
As you can see in the video above, TOPtoTOP ran an extremely successful event at the school – with Sabine performing the childrens puppet show, (which was skilfully hand-crafted & written by Annemarie!) & Dario also did his presentation and the entire school performed a local clean-up. The kids were all very engaged, and are excited to join us for future events on the island!!
We really are enjoying our stay here, keep posted for our next expedition report as we continue to explore with the community….!!
Please also note the website “join us” section has been updated!
TOPtoTOP Mauritius News:
Clean Up at Riche Terre on Sunday 5th February 2012:
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“When we gathered at our meeting point in Sainte Croix, and started putting on our gloves, sharing chocolates and getting ready for the clean up, we were blessed by a beautiful sun and good spirits. This was the first time we were cleaning up a residential area as our two previous clean ups were Le Pouce and Signal Mountain, and we were looking forward to this new experience of collecting litter alongside busy roads. Our desire to go for a residential area stems from our vision to gradually make people realise they can help in keeping their environment clean and beautiful, and that their involvement is crucial.
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We started gathering all plastic litter which we came across and half way through the main road we had embarked on, we had already 7 bags. We ended up with 20 bags!!!!!
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The Main road we were cleaning up for 3 hours is cleaned up daily. Even on Sundays. And we met the Municipal Cleaning Unit on the way. Even whilst cleaning up after them, we came up with 20 bags of plastic litter! And that is only one road. We could not help but wonder about the state of other roads and the region itself.
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During the first hour, we could feel people observing our team at work. However it did not take long for us to connect with local inhabitants, and start sharing our vision and activities with them. Fiona, a young girl and her sister are keen to join ToptoTop Mauritius and we discussed with their parents and neighbours for a few minutes to enlist their support to our cause.
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And as we walked on and met more people, we took time to explain our activity and make them aware of the importance of small daily acts which can prevent pollution. For we saw that the most commonly thrown plastic litter are the plastic from cigarette boxes, chocolate wraps, sweet wraps, plastic cups and plastic bottles for soft drinks. And most of them were lying in front of the shops where the items were bought. If each person aims at a bin instead of the ground, it will make a huge difference!
As we saw that at least 5 persons were keen on caring for their environment, we interconnected them and are actually encouraging them to form a group of 10 persons to oversee the cleanliness of their road. Chatting with the elderly persons gathered under shops or discussing with the young adults was a very rewarding moment, for we shared our passion and commitment with them.
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We were gratified by this new experience, for fuelled by our vision to inspire through constructive action, we went out to meet people and it is encouraging to see how persons are willing to stand up and act for the planet, should they be given the slightest help or advice.
Now our team has steadily grown to 13 and it was such a nice moment to clean up together. We are happy to count Cindy and Melissa, who joined us for our clean up and were outstanding at it!, as members of our growing family.
Our young ones, David, Jude, Ruwin, Karine and Amirah were unflinching in their efforts and it brings joy to our hearts, for in them lie our hopes. They are the ones who can help bring about change in their peers, through their thoughts, actions and ways of living. They are already inspiring other youngsters to join ToptoTop and we look forward to touching the hearts and lives of more and more persons as we move on with our agenda this year.”
TOPtoTOP International is proud of the TOPtoTOP Mauritius members! Congratulation and a big applause for your efforts to make this planet a better world!!!