A view of PACHAMAMA and the “lifeline” to the island, “RMS Saint Helena”
We’ve been here for a few weeks now and are officially “local” by Saint Helena standards. Both Salina and Andri are enjoying school, Sabine and Jacqui have joined the local womens volleyball team, and Dario has been actively getting to know every tree/plant/mushroom/donkey loving conservationist on the island!
There are some inspiring projects here, check out this beautiful and educational display about Plastic Pollution on the Consulate Hotel!!
The kindness and genuine friendship we’re experiencing here is overwhelming – we’ve been invited to family gatherings, local festivities and even the Governors house for tea!
We’ve now done presentations at all the islands Primary schools, a community presentation, a wonderful experience with all the primary students planting native trees at the millennium forest and today we also did a cleanup with the National Trust team on the highest top; “Dianas Peak”.
The millennium forest is a project by the National Trust, trying to conserve the endemic and endangered Saint Helena Ebony tree. The goal is to re-plant a forest in the current barren landscape (which was decimated centuries ago.) It was so heartwarming to see all the kids being involved in something which will last for so many generations to come!
We continue to learn more and more about this fascinating island, and every day we hear new tales – ghost stories, legends, myths and history… some of it even true! Some, not so sure…
What we DO know is that Saint Helena Island was discovered in 1502 by a Portugese sailor, Joao da Nova. The geography is incredible. Saint Helena is a Volcano that is about 14 million years old! Since the eruptions ceased (about 7 million years ago) the terrain has totally transformed – “sculptured by nature”. The rain, wind and sea has washed away a quarter of the original size! Waves continue to carve the cliff face, while inland the rivers and streams have moulded the deepening valleys. Because all the different types of terrain erode at different speeds – it creates a unique and dramatic landscape!
Since the volcanic creation of the island – all flora and fauna arrived here by the wind and sea. Isolated by the huge moat which we call the Atlantic Ocean, the plants and animals continued to evolve to adapt to the unique environment. There are all kinds of insects and animals which are found only here. Saint Helena was also once a haven for sea birds – with many endemic species. Nowadays, many plants and animals have been lost to extinction. But the future is looking bright, thanks to all the conservationists we have met, the current environment and eco-system is probably at it’s most healthy since Napoleon was exiled here!! (Especially after our wonderful tree planting!!!)
But aside from all this environmental beauty – the community spirit of the island is surely unrivalled. With only a few channels on the TV, only 2 options for local radio (plus no cinema, bowling ally, shopping mall etc. etc.) – the island of Saint Helena finds it’s own way to have fun and celebrate together. Words cannot describe the warm community spirit at these local events! In our short time here, we have been to so many celebrations and parades! Our favourite so far has been the Jamestown Mardi Gras, which was celebrated by PANCAKE RACES!!!!!
A huge thank-you to the wonderful Blessingtons!!! Making our stay here even more memorable.
Then there was the “Harford Family Farmyard Funday” fundraiser for Harford Primary School – a chance for everyone to learn more about the agriculture of Saint Helena.
However, during our school visits, conservation events and community gatherings – we must also find the time to maintain PACHAMAMA. Sailina was a great help to repair sewing the sails! She also had fun diving to explore the underwater shipwreck!
Jacqui is keeping super busy filming and editing a short documentary about the island… coming soon!
We’ve really fallen in love with this place. You can see why…