Drawing Inspiration from Mozambique "Mmm...what is this one called?"
"Mozambique? Like the country?"
"Yes, exactly. I'm a traveler. The scents of my products are all inspired by places that I've traveled to and fallen in love with."
"I like that. What else do you have?"
After going through each item in my product line, the lady in purple settled on a Paris fragrance oil and a Zanzibar body butter.
Last weekend, I was invited to participate in Brooklyn's Summer Style Market as a vendor.
It was really great to interact with buyers and discuss my products.
People were particularly interested in my choice of fragrance and the names of the different products. As I described the essential oil aromatherapy blends that provided fragrance to each product, I noticed conversations almost always turning to travel as I attempted to articulate exactly what I was attempting to evoke or was inspired by.
I went home that night and began a running list of inspiration, country by country, memory by memory. Like poetry, memories began to fill the page and I realized I had a post.
Have you ever traveled to a place that moved you so deeply it changed the person you are for the better? That's how I feel about Mozambique. The experience wasn't perfect (there was the huntsman spider attack, the time I woke up to about twenty hornets in my bedroom, I caught the South African flu, we ran out of water in our well) but it was the perfect experience for me at the time.
When I think of Mozambique, I am reminded of:
- The beauty of a sunrise and setting. Before I moved to Mozambique, I had no understanding of how astounding and breathtaking a sunrise and sunset could be. I thought I knew, but I had no idea The purple and otherworldly cerulean bursts of color, expanding over the horizon to signal the start of a new day and then the golden translucent rays that cascaded downwards softening the landscape before handing off the baton to the moon were soul stirring.
- Orion's Belt. Almost every evening I could clearly see the constellation Orion's Belt. The sky over Mozambique at night seemed so much bigger, so much closer. Clouds of fine stardust swirled here and there. Shooting stars danced over the Indian Ocean.
- Finding peace in the darkness. At night, I used to walk and walk, the only light illuminating my path came from a very large and low pearly moon. Bell frogs and crickets serenaded me in the distance as my feet moved slowly, meditatively over the fine sand that covered the earth.
- Feeling the warmth of the earth, as if it were a living, breathing, warm blooded being. Often barefoot, I was able for the first time to feel the warmth of the earth beneath my feet when I walked. The ground, red and compact, grassy and soft, or sandy and dry was always warm and alive. It bore a distinct smell, musky, spicy and grounding.
- Being greeted by strangers and friends with a warm smile no matter what. Inhambane, Mozambique is known as "Terra da boa gent" (land of the good people) for a reason. Smiles and warmth are everywhere. People helped each other and could be trusted. It was here in the brush of Inhambane, that I slept at night with my doors unlocked, left my shoes on my porch and went to fetch water or take a bath (in the communal bath hut behind the community well) leaving my front door wide open for ventilation. Never did I encounter a problem. Warmth and determination radiated off of people. Wide smiles were a constant reminder that if a people whose country was less than a decade out of a civil war which resulted in a relative genocide could be so resilient, so happy, then I, certainly had no excuse to be anything but grateful and joyous for the life I have been given.
- Hitchhiking. In Inhambane, hitchhiking to get from place to place is both common and safe. Though it was nice to get into a car and meet new people (especially during the rainy season), I usually sought out trucks. The best seat is in the bed of a pickup truck, face to the moon, sun, or clouds, hair dancing in the breeze, a magnificent expanse of countryside before you.
- The power of saying yes- yes to the market woman who offered to take you to her home to feed you, yes when you're offered a local dish at a restaurant, yes to children wanting to touch your skin, clothes and hair, yes to people wanting to practice their English with you, yes to the artisans from Zimbabwe who invite you to storytelling circles near the ocean, yes to the rolling waves of the warm Indian Ocean, yes to the stray dog who wandered into your kitchen and made you smile, yes to the beautiful man who invites you to his home town, yes, to the woman asking for money on the side of the road, yes to taking it all in. Yes, yes, yes, one of the most liberating words in the English language.
- There's life outside of my native tongue. I had six months to learn Portuguese in preparation for this trip, the idea of existing after six months without English at first was terrifying, but it all worked out. There is so much more to communication than words. The lively seductive lull and fall of Portuguese, a language that romances harder than Casanova made my English speaking tongue spasm with effort when it came to pronunciation and verb tenses but I took it all in. I learned, I functioned and I survived.
- Tropical fruit warmed in the sun. Large ripe mangoes, passion fruit and papaya. The sweet smell of a freshly sliced mango after it has been warmed by the sun. The sour fragrant flesh of a passion fruit. The soft give of papaya. The peace that comes from living in a place where you don't have to buy organic because everything, by default, is anyway.
- Rising with the morning sun!
Mozambique, what a pleasure and an honor it was to call your shores home.
The product that was inspired by my adventures in Mozambique is the Mozambique Fragrance Oil, a jojoba oil based roll on fragrance stick with an earthy scent lightened by exotic floral and citrus undertones.
If you can't experience Mozambique in person for yourself, take the journey with a Mozambique Fragrance Oil stick.
From now, until next Wednesday (8/27) enjoy 10% off the Mozambique Fragrance Oil (by entering the code MOZIE at checkout) and enjoy one final summer hoorah!