Commissioning & Development Manager
Weather very hot and humid – 91 degrees in the shade, particularly coming from t’north – it’s been a proper shock to the system! The island is very beautiful and the people friendly. The working day is almost over and it’s been spent catching up and being briefed on the recovery programmes available in the islands and understanding how a conservation prog’ may fit in. The organisation I am working with is called Nature Seychelles and it is their wish to set up a CTP esque programme for the providers here. This afternoon I have had a meeting with Robert Moumou of the Centre Mount Royal – service manager of one of the two current residential programmes here.
Another hard day at the office. Cooler today, only 90 degrees in the shade, although the sea is too warm.
This morning spent with Rob of Nature Seychelles discussing the underpinning principles of the CTP, along with generic TC ideas – very constructive with lots of ideas and questions…this afternoon, after avoiding being savaged by the largest crab I’ve ever seen, I delivered a presentation to all the NS team, along with showing them a couple of DVD’s (one of which includes footage of my dog).
There are many issues facing the Seychelle’s in terms of drugs and alcohol and it is great for us to be working with an organisation who want to be pro-active in tackling such problems
I may now go and hunt for buried pirate treasure (I’m sure there is a link here to the VOR), and honestly, there is an article in the local paper are people digging for this.
And no Bob Campbell, it is not true that Victoria, the capital, is twinned with any industrial northern city you may care to mention!
Anyway, am off to look for the Memorial to the Seychelle’s missing of the Great War in the Mont Fleurie Cemetery (each to their own), and I know it’s only Dan Richter who will check this out on the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission website.
I would love to see if I could get a game on saturday for the local cricket team – score a hundred and take a few wickets (all monies to the VOR) and jump on the plane back to Blighty.
Finally, unfortunately I have been unable to find a shop selling Hornby trainsets, nor the latest Hornby magazine – out today (unbelievable)!
Great place, great people.
Last night, as it was going rapidly dark, I visited an old pirate cemetery – all very eerie. Am sure I spotted Stuart Plant and the VOR team hidding in the bushes and plotting one of the legs to visit here (It could be you if you sign up)!
Today’s top-tip for visiting the Seychelles is not to confuse what you thought was a path with the road – it may end in tears.
My encounter today with local Seychellois fauna was with a lizard whom was not happy about having to move out my way. He won when he started breathing fire and grew wings on his back. I found a slightly alternative route.
As well as dodging dragons, today has been spent primarily meeting with Madam Esparon, whom is a Social Worker working with families with substance misuse issues – very interesting, very humbling. I think few would complain about their case loads and resources if they met her – a top woman. Getting detox here seems to be a key issue.
Anyway, we are getting to grips with putting a Ctp type package together and opening up communication channels with referring agencies. From our perspective, there may be certain cultural nuances and idiosyncrasies in the Seychelles (and I am sure they would say the same about us), but my learning compounds the fact that the issues are just the same, and that people are fundamentally the same. Listening to the BBC World Service Africa is also a sobering experience; reading the local press an eye opener.
Have still not found any hidden treasure, nor a Hornby trainset shop.
Weather: Hot and sweaty (again)
A meeting this morning with Ms Jocelyn Florentine, Director of Centre d’Accueil de La Rosiere to discuss how here new residential programme may link into the Nature Seychelles Nature Therapy Programme. Very constructive. After this, and prior to lunch I went along with Martin Varley into downtown Victoria to meet with Danny Volcy of the DAAC – Drug and Alcohol Council who advise the Seychelles Government on policy. The drug and alcohol problems facing the Seychellois are great – I have been told that it is estimated that there are in the region of 8,000 heroin users amongst a population of 80,000.
An excellent lunch of fish fingers and chips (disappointingly, not Captain Birdseye, but fresh fillets of fish in a delicious batter with chilli sauce (and I would rather normally eat my own pants than fish normally))!
This afternoon has been spent delivering a workshop on best practice in respect of leadership of conservation programmes and looking at how we may mould what we do into s Seychelles setting.
Today’s fauna and flora encounter has been associated with finding the route cause of the decay of the wooden flooring in the yoga building, which has turned out, having captured one of them, to be due to termites. Not good.
I’m sure that earlier I spotted a statue of Bob Campbell in Victoria – I’ll go back later to investigate further, but it’s a small world and Bob has been around a bit, so am sure it won’t come as a surprise.
Anyway, time to hit the beach.
My final working day…Presentation this morning, with concluding recommendations, for setting up a nature conservation prog’ for Nature Seychelles, and discussion as to how we may develop the partnership in future. All extremely constructive and positive. Afterwards, it was down to Mount Royal - one of the providers in Victoria, the capital – who are in the process of setting up a new residential after fire destroyed their last one. Here, Martin Varley and I delivered a presentation to the staff team
This afternoon, I’m going, hopefully, to get in the town and buy a present for my dog, and perhaps for the kids (if they’re lucky). For Mand, I am thinking long and hard – perhaps a machete like the ones used on the reserve – surely what every woman wants. (See Adele, Di and Mandy – who says I don’t care)? I will not make any jokes about smuggling out a live tortoise (as am pretty sure the lizard (called Di) wouldn’t appreciate sharing a bag with it).
Delivering consultancy for Nature Seychelles has been a fantastic learning experience. Having the opportunity to come to this beautiful country and meet so many wonderful people has been a real privilege. I hope the work we have jointly done will lay the foundations to developing a programme that will make a genuine difference to those going through recovery in the Seychelles.
Dinner tonight with all the Nature Seychelles Team, so I best scrub up and turn my pants inside out (I knew there was something I forget – but it’s okay as they dry out over night). Also, living the dream on a Friday night as I don’t have to clean the Hamster out – Rock and Roll! Tomorrow, possibility of a cricket match for the Victoria Vultures and a bit of sight seeing, followed by flight to Dubai and four hours in the airport there (so time to bump into someone Bob Campbell knows), then back to sunny Blighty.
Signing off from the Seychelles and my thanks to all the Nature Seychelles team and all those I have had the privilege to meet and work with over the week.
Jon is in the Seychelle’s advising on how to set up Conservation Therapy Programme (CTP). You can follow Jon’s updates here daily.