My emotional connection to Egypt dates back to 1999.
I learnt to scuba dive in Hurghada, Egypt in 1999. After that, I worked in Lahami Bay in 2005. Later, I did my AIDA 2 and 3 in Dahab, with Freedive Dahab back in 2011.
My memories are incredibly positive, thanks to the kindness and hospitality shown to me by the people I met and worked with.
Diving in Egypt
However, in 2005, coming back from a dive, we saw, juuuust under the water surface between the reef channels, a RIVER of black bags. On many occasions, we often had to do clean-up dives on reefs the morning after liveaboards had been on site. It made me so sad to see.
Egypt has exquisite coral formations, beautiful clear water and an abundance of fish life. Of course, over the years, many corals have been destroyed by scuba divers with bad buoyancy skills. In Sharm el Sheik, the Ras Mohammed Nature Reserve often rotates dive sites, closing damaged reefs off to divers so that they can recover.
Another environmental issue in Egypt is the destruction of mangroves and sea grass beds, to make way for new resorts and jetties. When I lived there, I saw some efforts underway to restore these natural fish nurseries that play such an important part in the ecology.
As a result of my time spent in Egypt, I had a strong desire to see “Wayan and the Turtle King” translated into Arabic. It was one of my Kickstarter stretch goals that I set in 20017.
In 2018, I discovered africanstorybook.org and uploaded a shorter version of the original English, as well as the isiZulu versions.
I tried finding a translator this year, but my first attempt was unfruitful. I reached out to Sara Campbell, the legendary British freediver, to ask her for help. She was kind enough to post about my project on her social media page. Thi lead to me being contacted by Ahmed Fouad, from The Red Sea Project. Please check out their page for all the great work they do.
So, thank you to Ahmed and his teacher sister for translating, proofreading and uploading the Arabic translation (سليم_و_السَّلاحِف ) onto africanstorybook.org.
There are some changes to the name and story, to adapt it to the regional culture. Therefore, Wayan is now Selim and King Galih is Yasser.
I am so pleased to have reached this milestone, thanks to Ahmed’s hard work, in time for World Turtle Day 2020.
Please look under the tab called “Books” , Africanstorybook, to download the version of سليم_و_السَّلاحِف that suits your needs: landscape for reading, portrait booklet for printing, or EPUB for ereaders.
If you are visiting Egypt soon, I would encourage you to print a few copies on your home printer and distribute them to the Egyptians you meet on your holiday.