“The friendly principal of Black Point Cay in the Bahamas looked at me firmly “…as long as the children don’t go into the ocean.” I was not surprised. Having traveled before in the Caribbean, I was aware that the locals have developed a deep fear of the sea, mainly because of cultural reasons. Knowing that the kids were super excited about the #SharkAwareness seminar, and the approaching #beachcleanup event, I felt a sudden urge to talk about the matchless beauty of the sea, the benefits of being in the water and the connection you fill with nature as you dive in the calm and safe deep waters… Instead I paused. I knew words would fail me. I had to find a different way. And I did.
I took a short video, just 45sec, during my morning snorkelling. Plastic bags, cans, plastic straws, ropes entangled in the corals, in front of their school the seabed was full of trash. I saw the video to the kids and asked them, if they like what they see. I left that day knowing that I planted a seed in their hearts.
Next day, the children were indeed eager to do the beach clean up with their teacher and Mrs Ida. They got excited every time they discovered a piece of garbage hidden in the sand and even competed over who would collect the greatest amount of trash.
After a while, I went into the water for the cleanup. The ocean was filled with trash and every time I came up to the surface to breathe, my net was packed with plastic bags, containers, metallic tubes, etc. The kids were shocked yet intrigued by my “discoveries” and by the time they finished with the beach clean-up, they all gathered on the dock inspecting me, waiting to get my trash to throw to the bucket but also make sure that I was safe and sound. Seeing my smile each time I resurfaced, feeling my pride as I watched them help me, triggered something. After only a couple of minutes, the kids were asking for gloves and started jumping in the sea with me! Suddenly everyone was in the water helping me, screaming with joy how they were no longer afraid!
All united we can make a difference.”
Katerina Topouzoglou-founder of All For Blue