Me and Vice President Belmont
Yes that's me with the Vice President of the Seychelles, on the inaugural voyage of the Cat Cocos II, the new high speed boat that will serve Mahe and Praslin islands
Yes that’s me in the picture with Vice-President Belmont of the Seychelles. We were two of the guests at the inauguration of the new high speed boat, the Cat Cocos II, which will run twice daily between Mahe and Praslin Islands. As part of the festivities, a selection of Seychellois high society was taken for a sunset cruise this evening around the north end of the island. How, you might ask, have I managed so quickly to infiltrate myself into the upper strata of Seychellois society a mere five days since my arrival? The answer is my not so secret weapon: the Rev. Christine Benoit, my supervisor for the internship, who was called upon to stand in for the Bishop and bless the Cat Cocos II before its launch. I, the Canadian seminarian, as I am usually called here, was able to go along as Christine’s guest.
The event for me reflected two interesting aspects of the Seychelles. The first is that with a population of 80,000, the Seychelles is a small place where people know each other. And the second is that the church is very much a part of Seychelles society and culture, and is invited and
The Rev. Christine Benoit
Rev. Christine is my supervisor for the internship here, and she was called upon last night to bless the new Cat Cocos.
expected to play a role in important events, such as the launch of a new boat. Both these aspects were also apparent in events celebrated yesterday in the children’s park of Victoria to mark the government sponsored day of the family. A spiritual gathering was organized on the main stage which was a combination of song, prayers, preaching, and children’s presentations organized around the government’s theme of “Together for a strong family.” It was remarkable that the stage was shared alternately by children singing or acting and by the top Seychellois musicians and recording artists. The highlight of the gathering for me was the singing of what I would call a “tropical gospel” choir which had the audience singing along and clapping. It was a powerful, moving afternoon. Tiana’s youth group from the Anglican Cathedral put on a short play as part of the occasion.
Of course the very fact that the government is promoting family values is a reflection of the concern here that families need to be solidified. Many mothers and fathers don’t marry, and divorce rates are considered to be too high. There are concerns about teenagers who turn to partying and drugs to alleviate boredom. It’s too soon for me to form any opinion on this yet, but I suspect it’s a theme that will re-appear as I continue my stay here. One young woman that I was chatting with at church on Sunday expressed her concerns about teenagers in Seychelles society. During the course of the conversation I mentioned to her that there were a lot more women than men at the services I had attended so far. She started to respond but then held back, perhaps sensing that I needed to have more time to observe and understand before she gave me her analysis of the situation. Instead, she simply observed to me that the Seychelles needs a lot of prayers.
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