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History is a tricky subject; you have to be very careful while reading and passing on the right information to the next person. The students of Travel and Tourism at Don Bosco College, Panjim had an entire heritage tour of Divar called Devadechi Pasoi, planned based on their research on each place of importance. Guided by the Coordinator of BBA (T&T), Tania Shirodkar, the students got to see a different facet of the island. The Don Bosco College ‘Heritage Treasures Club of BBA (T&T) Department organized Devadechi Pasoi on the occasion of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. A group of 30 students along with Marius Fernandes, the key person behind the tour, Sanjeev Sardessai, a noted historian and George Goodchild, a blue batch tour guide from the United Kingdom. “The aim of organizing the heritage tour is to help students recognize a career option in the field of guided tours. Goa has such wonderful heritage sites and every village of Goa can conduct a guided heritage tour with the help of local youngsters. However, the important factor of these tours is to get the accurate information. Tania approached me and informed me about her students and how they plan heritage tours. I did a recce heritage tour a week before the actual tour with a group of ten students. We marked 20 places of the island that hold historical significance, which were then shortlisted to ten spots. The students were then told to find out more about those places by reading through books at Central library,” says Marius. The first stop at the start of the island was Dovarnem followed by places Manos (sluice gates) at St Mathias, St Mathias Church, Our Lady of Divar High School, 8th century roof and its carvings done by the Kadamba, a heritage cave, and the house of Rev Fr Jacome Gonsalves. “We introduced the students to Goa’s great writers and poets like Prof Armando Menezes, who has contributed to translating books from Portuguese to Konkani and Rev Fr Jacome Gonsalves, who is known as the ‘Father of Catholic literature’ in Sri Lanka. His ancestral home, currently houses the Our Lady of Divar High School. He was ordained to priesthood by the Archbishop of Goa on April 1700 and began the theological studies at St Thomas Aquarian Goa, where he developed a taste for poetry, prose and music. Some of his manuscripts are still in Goa,” explains Marius.The long term goal of this heritage tour was to introduce a career option by designing a tour module for all students. The tour was documented on video on how it was conducted by the students. “We have developed the business plan with no investment. The villagers can be involved as the tour can ask them to prepare an authentic meal, they can organize homestays in ancestral homes and the students are confident and approachable. We visited three families of Divar who gave them an idea on what it is to be living on the island. They will be guiding another group of students from a different college this week as more students were interested in the tour,” he says. Marius also invited the students to his ancestral home with a lunch that was cooked locally and served in betel nut plates. George Goodwill was keenly observing the students and was amazed by the way they conducted the tour. “I have been coming to Goa for years and I have never come across any such tours. The students were glued in and confident in front of a relaxed group of classmates. It is a very different experience to have a personalized tour and it is fascinating to see these students develop these tours further. Tour guiding is a very lucrative job and tourists want a well informed person who is approachable and has an insider’s view,” says George.The students of Don Bosco College, Panjim who guided the Devadechi Pasoi will be organizing the next tour for the students of Dempo College, Panjim. [H]

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