Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Finding Paradise at Chocas

Mikaela says...

The day for our long awaited trip to Chocas Mar had finally arrived. In the morning we squeezed in a bit of creative work too. Sarah and I took three of the SHINE women to the new SHINE mural and painted their hands with white paint. Ross was there too, to document it all. Part of the SHINE brand contains a pattern of hands, and we hope that by letting the women create this pattern using their handprints, they can feel more connected to the creative process and their brand.

Yesterday's SHINE typography painting will stay a memorable event. As the others focused on the LIFE building, I started sketching out the SHINE typography with pencil and ruler. I wasn't alone for long. There were a few boys playing football nearby when I heard one of them say to the others that a women is painting something. I must say that being called "mulher" (woman) rather than "akunha" (foreigner/not one of us) was rather flattering. Several young boys came over and watched me work. As I started filling in the outlines with black paint they were quick to point out that I had missed a letter. Soon their younger siblings (one wearing an adorable green dress that she won in the lottery on Children's Day) joined them and we exchanged a lot of waves and "Ta-ta's!" (what the youngest children say as a greeting) The older boys and I made occasional attempts at communication, and I found out some of their ages and names. They very much liked the bright colours of the mural.

At 11 AM sharp we set off in the jeep on a bumpy ride; with Momade (the manager at Sunsetti) in front of the wheel, three of us in the back and Sarah sitting in Ross' lap in the front passenger seat. We're used to this tight squeeze by now, and there's no time to worry about the heat in the car either, since we were immediately distracted by our surroundings. We passed students in the midst of their long trek to school and lots of staring locals who were going about their daily business. It must be quite a sight: five akunhas packed into a small jeep.

Lisa and the staff had not exaggerated the beauty of Chocas. White sand beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and the sea is a turquoise blue. A few guys were selling beautiful seashells and shell necklaces by the beach, and although we were tempted, a new law says you cannot take any shells out of Mozambique. I have always enjoyed finding my own shells to take home as souvenirs, but the ones I collected today will find their now home at Sunsetti rather than my wooden Ikea shelves at home.

The day included strolls along the beach, swimming, sun bathing and sun castle building. We had a lovely lunch at the Carusca restaurant located just up from the beach. The only thing that interrupted our paradise were the flies buzzing all around us. The beach, however, always held up a nice breeze and kept the flies and any other insects at bay.

The ride home was again bumpy, and despite the dark, Momade skillfully dodged pedestrians and barely visible motorcycles and cyclists. After dinner we sketched the outline of yet another LIFE butterfly, this time on one of the sidewalls of Sunsetti.  Tomorrow our Sunset Butterfly will receive a coat of paint and wings going from red to yellow. There are still lots of things to do and time keeps slipping out of our hands, but we'll get there!

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