Oued Oullouza in Tunisia has played an essential role over the millennia to build and support the city of Carthage. It is the fishing source for the natives of the region of Sfax. As Nejib Belhedi is completing his Swim Across Tunisia, he was informed that the width of this natural river of life is shrinking. “What will be the future of the marine life that thrive in this river?” asked Belhedi. “During my swim, I clearly understood the mini-ecosystem cycles of the region of Sfax. They are thermo-regulated by the currents of Oued Ellouza which is being impacted by the pollution of Sfax. How the olives of the region are threatened by the the green house effect and the Great Blue Seas are increasingly impacted negatively.” Belhdi swam by the Kerkennah Islands in his Big Blue of Sfax swim. The islands are being eroded by the sea. The community of Kekennah is struggling to stop the advance of Mediterranean. “All these issues are present during my swim of Oued Ellouza. I informed the younger generations at the Preparatory College of Ellouza as I believe our children are able to do something and protect the Ellouza ecosystems.” Belhedi complete his 40 km Big Bleu swim of Sfax passing by Ellouza, Kerkennah, and Mahres as he was pushed by a massive tidal flow on November 20th. His safety flotilla included the Coast Guard while his course was protected by the Tunisian Army. After his swim, he spoke about Ouma.* “How so wonderful are these students. Their eyes lit up with the challenge to be champions, to swim in Oued Ellouza. The students were very clear about the call to swim Ouma for the first time. If they swim, they will appreciate the sea. If they appreciate the sea, they will strive to protect it.” * Ouma is an Arabic word meaning “swim in the sea”, a typical and popular word used in Tunisia.     Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source


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