Chat with Bob Benoni, a Norwegian lover of Seychelles ‘I always make sure when I come to Seychelles I volunteer for the environment’ |20 August 2021
Many of you are familiar with Bob Benoni, a Norwegian but a lover of Seychelles who tries to come to the country every year since 2013 and help with a project in environment. He has made wonderful friends in Seychelles and has spent some quality time getting to know our culture and helping in an environment project in collaboration with government and non-government organisations. We were able to have a quick chat with him before he left for his country recently.
Seychelles NATION: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and where you come from
Bob Benoni: My name is Bob Benoni. I am originally from The Gambia in West Africa, but I live in Norway, Scandinavia. I have been living and working there for 43 years. I went there when I was 19 years old. Now I am 62 years old. I am a cultural consultant, sports and culture, and I work for the municipality of Tromsø in Northern Norway. Through the years, I have been a ship mechanic, a marine engineer officer, a Reggae Dj, a concert and entertainment organiser, and a photo model.
Seychelles NATION: What is your link with Seychelles and for how long have you been visiting us?
Bob Benoni: I came to the Seychelles for the first time in 2013 through my great artist and cultural icon friend and colleague, Cliff Moustache, who lives in Oslo, Norway. He introduced me to the late Achille Luc and then boom! I met many Seychellois artists and cultural workers. I met the great environmentalist Michele Martin, went to volunteer for Seychelles National Parks Authority at the Veuve Nature Reserve on La Digue in 2013, and then the list goes on.
Seychelles NATION: When you come, what do you usually do?
Bob Benoni: As a Norwegian citizen, I can come to visit friends here in Seychelles without an entry visa and stay for a maximum of three months. What I have done through the last 8 years, is that whenever I come to Seychelles to visit friends and spend time with artists, learn to know the Seychellois creole culture and traditions, I always make sure that I go and volunteer for the environment, helping my environmentalist friends with their work. Like I said, I have helped Josianna Rose of SNPA at the Veuve Nature Reserve on La Digue. I have helped Michele Martin of Sustainability For Seychelles at the mangroves site at Port Glaud and Port Launay, and with the rainwater harvesting for the farmers at Val D’Andorre. The last two months I have been helping Victorin Laboudallon and Elvina Henriette and their TRASS organisation with tree planting and construction work at their nursery centre on Praslin.
Seychelles NATION: You are Rastafarian and proud to share your beliefs with others; have you met other members here?
Bob Benoni: With my Rastafarian Faith and the belief of One Love, Peace and Unity among humankind, the dedication to conservation of our beautiful planet and nature, I hang out with the most respected and poetical Rastafarians in Seychelles. I hang out with King Danny Wadanyel Dufrene and Rastaman Joachim Hoareau of Bel Air, Pasnbesa Pascal Orphe of Sans Souci, Tony Raspyek whom everybody knows, Unels Bristol of Takamaka, Ivan Ray Capricieuse of Praslin and Mike Maria, my Captain. We have sadly lost Achille Luc along the way.
Seychelles NATION: When is your next visit?
Bob Benoni: Well, I am going back to Norway now to my normal job as a cultural consultant for the city of Tromsø. But my plan is to come back in one year’s time. Volunteering for the environment will be a must also next time.