Tristan story from Namibia
- Namibia Economist
âYou are a Tristanian, my dearâ
Written by Haike Schattka
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Glynis Jordan celebrated her 50th birthday on the remotest inhabited island in the world. After 50 years Glynis Jordan, daughter of the Economist weatherman, John Olszewski, finally had the chance to return to her place of birth, the most remote island in the world, Tristan da Cunha.
Glynis was born on the island in August 1960, during her fatherâs stint for the South African Meteorological Service.
For medical reasons, Glynisâ mother left the island for South Africa, shortly after she was born.
Even though Tristan da Cunha was her place of birth, the family never mentioned it much after Johnâs return when an volcanic eruption in 1961 ended his work there.
Glynisâ interest in the island resurfaced when she bumped into a lady in a restaurant wearing a Tristan da Cunha jersey, in 2000.
When the two started talking, the lady offered to put Glynis in touch with Elizabeth Rogers from the island.
âEight months later, a letter arrived from Elizabeth. There are only a few mail ships in a year. When mail arrives on the island, they hit a gong, and all the Tristanians gather to collect their mail. On the island, there is one shop: a couple of ties, some shirts and three shelves of shoes,â Glynis says.
When Glynisâ 50th birthday approached, she decided to return to her birth place to celebrate.
To travel there, she had to apply. After the island council had met and gone through the applications, she received notice that she made it on the list. However, that meant by no means that she would actually be able to go. Islanders and researchers were prioritised. Only, when extra space was available, tourists are accepted. It was not until 20 July this year, that Glynis was informed that she would be able to fulfill her birthday wish.
The council assigns host families for the visitors and on Tristan da Cunha where the main source of income is fishing and the selling of postage stamps to overseas collectors; hosting tourists is a welcome opportunity to make some extra money.
Glynis stayed with relatives of Elizabeth and during her three week visit on the island, she met most of the islandâs 263 inhabitants.
And when Glynis and the others had to leave, the Tristanians gathered again, lining up on the street that leads to the helicopter landing area to bid them farewell.