A dear friend, and hugely experienced conservationist, told me that in order to protect wild spaces, we need to look after communities first: look after the people, he says, and the wildlife will look after itself.
At Sand Island, members of our local community are involved in our small Sand Island successes: when we have guests they win. All our fabulous cooks come from the community: Ali, Omari, Omari 2, Binty … Rasta and Saidi the fishermen have guests to sell their daily catches to; Amos and Abdallah, the fishmongers, have people who want to buy their prawns and crab and calamari; Siaba can sell his beadwork and carving to our clients, Abdallah his fruit and veggies, Juma his kangas and kikoy trousers whilst little Ali and Kasa Saidi (who is also the turtle monitor here so keeps an eye on nests and hatchings) take eager children out to see the starfish or snorkelling or to what my children call Fairy Pools. We hope that the relationship we have with them is one of supportive symbiosis, driven by economics and commerce. We want to make it about a partnership, not patronage, so that it sustains: their business, our business and, especially, the wilderness around our beaches.
Come and support us all.