Chagos Conservation Trust

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Visiting my Chagossian heritage

Yannick photoMy time on Chagos is just amazing, emotional and fun.

My grandparents lived, married and raised kids on these islands. Now I can put a picture to all the stories I heard from my grandfather, Henri Mandarin, as I was growing up.

So far, I’ve visited 35 islands with Peter Carr who’s doing an amazing job out here, protecting all the birds on these islands. Peter and I have spent lots of time together going from island to island to monitor and survey all the bird species.  It’s great opportunity for me to learn from him and at the same time, bring my share of the knowledge that I gained during the Chagossian Environment Programme provided by ZSL.

I’ve met a guy called Gary Fletcher, who has a special project on an underwater camera system, which I’ve taken a big interest in. I’ve helped him to assemble his materials together and we’ve become really good friends. I’m sure we will stay friends even after the expedition is finished.

The weather is fantastic, the crew amazing and the scientists really committed to their work.
This will be an unforgettable memory and story for me. I never thought that one day, I would visit my grandparents' homeland.

Yannick Mandarin 
8 March 2013

Photo: Birds in the northern islands of the Chagos archipelago, and (inset) Yannick Mandarin and Gary Fletcher (c) Yannick Mandarin.

Creole translation:

Banne moment ki mo fine passer lor chagos vraimen extraordinaire et boucoup emotion . Mofine resi visite mo l’heritage mo grand fami kine ti reste lor chagos , fine marier lor chagos et ki fine gagne zenfant lor chagos . tout les temp mo gran papa Henri Mandarin fine raconter couma ti ete la bas et zordi mo capave met ene foto ar tou sa bane zistoire mone tender depi mo l’enfance , mo fine resi trouve li ar mo 2 lizier .

Mo fine visite 35 ziles ek peter carr kip e fer ene travail formidable par protégé tout bane specimen zoizo ki reste lor bane ziles chagos  . moi ek peter nou fine passé bouboup les temp ensame lor bane ziles pou nou ale guet bane zoizo . c’est ene opportiniter pou moi aprane des li et ousi partage mo savoir ki mone aprane dans sac ours ki London zoo fine offert moi la .

Mone fine zoine ene garcon ki apel Gary Fletcher ki ena ene project  special , mo fine aide li arrange ene camera ki filmer enbas delo et sa ine vraimen interess moi et line fine montrer moi ek explik moi couma sa marser , ene kik chose vraimen formidable . nou fine renter bon camarade a traver sa et mo penser meme expedition fini nou pou reste touzou bon camarade kand nou retourne l’angleterre .

Les temp vraimen zolie , lekipage bien gentil et bane scientist zot vraimen prend zot travail a Coeur .
Zamais mo pou bliyer sa moment mone ine passer lor chagos la , tout les temp sa pou reste ene souvenir dans mo memoire . Zamais mo ti croire ki ene zour mo pou resi visite la terre mo grand famille .