Two weeks, 14 days, 336 hours flew by so fast. Already the first phase of the Blue Economy Internship is done. Now, as we interns wait for the next phase (that is if we are selected). I must admit that my experience was a memorable two weeks.
On my end I was able to meet with so many people both at the Seychelles Coast Guard and Seychelles Air force. I was given the chance to throw away public’s perception on the army and see it from my own personal point of view. From that morning when I stepped inside the military based at the Coast Guard I was immediately impressed by the level of discipline I saw in the army officials. (Oh how remarkable it is was!). Everyone was punctual, every one greeted each other with a polite good morning and all those that had their task to do was doing so without letting themselves be distracted. Indeed I believe that we civilian can also make use of more discipline in our daily task!
All personnel at the Coast guard and Air force were friendly and enthusiastic to teach and share what they knew. I even learn so many new things in the field I thought I would never have an interest in. The amount of things learnt during the two weeks did surpass my expectation.
One thing I also noticed was the amount of training opportunities that soldiers do get on an annual basis. I even had the chance to attend piloting classes with trainee pilots. They also have numerous course offers sending people abroad to study.
In regards to the Blue Economy itself, the internship enabled me to learn more about this concept- the strength, weaknesses and challenges that we Seychelles have or will have to establish a solid blue economy. I was also asked by many who saw me at the SCG or SAF whether I was going to join the army? (Which I actually thought about during the two weeks…). When I answered no, I told them that I was here instead for a Blue Economy internship- a recently created initiative for young people by young people. What followed were a list of questions on the Blue economy and I found myself having to answer it all-thus enabling me to raise more awareness on the concept itself. What is more, as our blog was posted and it got shared on Facebook more people approach me saying they also wanted to be part of the internship- I told them that we were passed due deadline… but that hopefully next year and the year after that they also can apply and also get the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the Blue Economy concept.
On a personal level, I was able to learn more on how to navigate through unfamiliar environment and unfamiliar atmosphere on my own (mind you I was new to a military setting, surrounding, discipline and code of conduct and their lifestyle). During the first week I was the only intern at coastguard and same for the second week at airforce. I embraced the challenge and I made it work!
One last thought, a pretty sad one too: There is a huge lack of more female personnel in the military. Being a strong believer for gender equality; in my first week at coast guard I asked around for the number of female officers there. And the respond I received left me in shock. There are not many girls and women in uniform at coast guard. The work environment I saw while working at both SAF and SCG is built for men and women alike. Thus I believe that more women and girls should consider there as a career possibility.
For those women and young girls that I saw there and at the air force; I salute them and I admire their bravery to join the military. All of them I must say was doing a remarkable work. They were excelling at what they were doing and I felt proud all along!
At airforce there was not even one women. I was told though that they do have two women army personnel; including one that was studying abroad. I think that to do away with gender inequality in the force there is a need for us civilian to change our mindset associate with the army. After all, the work they do range from being soldiers, administrative officers, accountant, pilots, engineer and many more and all these are jobs that we women can easily do. Plus, women are already doing these types of job every day but only not in a military setting... so what if it’s in a military setting? Should this be a setback? No, instead it should be a challenge that comes with pride to be an army officer.
As I near my final blog ( I must say at this point that I have never blog so much in my entire life!!) I would like to say a big Thank You to all those who did read my blogs. Thank You also to Seychelles Coast Guard and Seychelles Airforce for accepting us interns. A huge thank you to British High commission and CYC. Biggest thank you to SYAH-Seychelles esp. ( Kalsey , Angelique and Anthea) for making this a reality.
I hope that all interns came out of the internship a different and a better person.
Hope more youth will benefit from this initiative in the coming years.