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» 01 Jun 2011

Troy Fitrell, the Chargé D’affaires for the US Embassy for the Republic of Mauritius and Republic of the Seychelles gives us a glimpse into his path to Mauritius and his lifestyle here in this month’s issue.

Troy spent a lot of time as a child in a rural community in Maryland, USA. As an adult he chose mostly big cities until moving to Mauritius. Now he lives in Floreal with his wife, son, and daughter. He says it is reminiscent of his time in the Maryland countryside.

Troy comes from a Navy family so has had a nomadic lifestyle. Because of that he’s at ease when experiencing new cultures. Troy began schooling in England, when his father was stationed there, but returned to the USA two years later. He attended the University of Maryland for his baccalaureate degree and earned a Master’s Degree from Stockholm University in Sweden.  In 1995, he joined the Foreign Service and served in numerous places, such as: Washington D.C, Denmark, Ghana, Zambia, Guatemala, Portugal, and Mauritius.

When asked about his family, Troy shared that he may be the only person in history to move to Denmark and marry an American.  Troy and his wife Kathryn met just before he departed for his first diplomatic tour in Copenhagen.  They are among a select few who succeeded at making a go of a long-distance relationship for a year before deciding to get married. That was 16 years ago and Troy tells us it was the best decision he ever made (even if he didn’t make it all by himself).  Their daughter Madeleine was born at the end of the tour in Ghana and by the time she was three, she had lived in three countries and visited nine more. Troy and Kathryn’s son Sam was born at the end of their tour in Zambia.

We asked Troy if there were specific events that have shape who he is and he says he wouldn’t list a single event or person, but he is clearly fuelled by a love for what he does. He says that “The reason I love what I do is that I am engaged with the constructs of societies and relations at both global and local levels. Working with courageous people, wherever they are, battling HIV/AIDS, resettling refugees, fostering economic development, leading regional action in defence of human rights…the important work of the world never stops, and I am inspired by those who do it.”

Journey to Mauritius…

Troy’s journey to Mauritius took eight years.  When serving in Zambia, he was focused on commercial and economic issues, largely through the U.S. government’s African Growth and Opportunity Act.  At every COMESA, SADC, or African Union meeting, he heard about how this country called Mauritius was making such great achievements. He decided he needed to see for himself. Troy was invited to come to the Embassy in Port Louis in 2002, but some family issues meant declining the offer and going to Washington instead. He’d always been wistful about missing that opportunity but while in Washington for a second time in 2009, he heard about the role that’s now his. He tells us it was worth the wait.

Troy’s passion for learning about what’s important to people makes his work with the Embassy a great fit. His work leads the U.S. government’s relations with the people and governments of Mauritius and Seychelles.  Counterpiracy efforts seem to get the most attention these days, but the list of activities continually evolves and includes other areas, such as cultural links, trade, coordination of action in international fora, law enforcement cooperation, and other areas as well. His job is never boring!

Each day he engages with all aspects of Mauritian society in social government or organizational areas. His office works with policy discussions, conducts speeches and workshops with NGOs, and he handles managerial areas of the Embassy as well as participates in football for the Embassy team against the locals.

We always ask our lifestyle subjects about their favourite quote or their mantra. “I don’t have a single favourite quote,” Troy says, “but I love how one can trace themes among various figures.  I saw a play last week put on by the teachers of the MIE called “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.”  One could hear how the famous quotes of Henry David Thoreau became part of the intellectual capital espoused by Mahatma Gandhi, who, in turn, was such an influence on Martin Luther King.  Knowledge and, more importantly, wisdom are shared commodities.”

Mauritius feels like home to the Fitrells. The warmth, hospitality, and beauty of Mauritius have helped them feel very welcome. Troy describes hiking on the mountain trails and meeting locals who happily share food and drink, he describes welcoming neighbours who warmly greeted and befriended them as soon as they arrived. He says he sees immense pride in Mauritians who share their customs and traditions with new residents.

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