Alexandria Faure | Seychelles
What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?
Back home, I founded an NGO called the Meraki foundation. We use arts and different forms of art to empower individuals and to also look for creative solutions to the social ills that we are facing. It is very new, maybe two years now, but is one of a kind in the country. It is the first time that there is an organization like this, driving for the arts in this way. We have done projects using music and storytelling with artisanal fishermen, we have done open mics and poetry with young people, and next year hopefully we will be doing a youth based project for youths to use theatre to speak out on their socio-psycho wellbeing.
For the Mandela Washington Fellowship, what I hope to gain is to learn from other artists and community leaders or volunteers who are really pushing for change. One of our dreams, and my dream, is to have a center where artists can come and use the space and also to drive theatre forward. I have seen a few places here that do that already, so learning how we can promote these spaces and learning from other fellows to drive projects forward. Also, to learn how to advocate and get policy makers more involved so that we can make policies more inclusive and more arts based, because art is undervalued but is such a powerful tool in inclusive collaboration and bringing about change.
What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?
I would say our diversity, we all look different but we are one people. This is due to the mix throughout history. You’ll find that there is one big family but everyone is very different. It is because of that, the rich heritage that we have, I love that. And even though we all look different, we are all Seychelles, we are all one people.
For my favorite thing about Philadelphia, I really appreciate the openness, the kind of liberal openness.
Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?
I love to scuba dive and snorkel. I am an ocean girl. And my favorite animal is the sea turtle so I collect things that have a turtle on them.
If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?
Wow. I would say that I would get you to eat bead fruit chips, because in my country we say that if you eat bread fruit then you will come back. It’s a legend. However, I would personally say that you should definitely eat an octopus coconut curry – it is one of my favorite curries - with a golden apple chutney or papaya chutney and with rice. There are many good curries, but that is my favorite.