Saturday, August 31, 2013

nobody likes a whiner

i have written three times now and erased it. they all seemed so whiney. me complaining about the mold, not feeling well, no water, dirt, heat, the foul stench poverty & hopelessness, "these jeans make my butt look big" and blah. so those are in the Trash now and i just put on lipstick and combed my hair and everything. i am going to the beach!

all is well. that lovely little sewing school is rolling along against all odds and she will continue to do so! i WILL get better. one day. vocational school has been blessed with amazing visitors teaching English and the internship boys will have a celebration NEXT week. and i'm not fat, just voluptuous.

xo, grace

ps. starting the process of buying tickets for home!!

oh, and take a look. i get to live and serve here! such an honor and worth it all so many times over.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Pinafores "The Dream Gallery" Made

This is JoJo. 

How adorable are they?!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

don't you need a table runner?

I could not BE more proud of these women. They seem so wise and so much older than me but honestly, I think I am at least ten years older than most of them. Except maybe M, I think she’s 30. Their lives are like nothing I can imagine and I admire their drive and tenacity and faith and joy. I love to watch their friendship and how they care for each other. They know and understand real community in a way that all of us need to know. They share and give and have each others’ backs. They forgive, support and encourage one another. And they NEVER stop talking. We have finally finished those dern pinafores and they are quite cute. I will show you. We are going to go to the Preschool tomorrow to see them hand them out to the children. I am so proud of my employees for digging in and making them and learning something new. 

I met with a business planner yesterday. Last week as I drove to the afternoon vocational school class, the tiny prayer entered my head, “God I need a business planner." He gave me one within the hour. She was volunteering in class, is British, does projections for a huge company in England and is a genius. We sat down with fabric and ran numbers. She showed me what we need to sell to break even and what would yield a good profit. So now I have a good idea in my head of what we need to produce each month and a much better understanding of what we need to do to keep these 5 people employed. That is my main goal at this moment. With bi-monthly payments and a little bit of financial consultation and budget creating, I know we can help create better lives for these 5 people. 

Meanwhile, we have boys completing their internship at Kauri today. I am so proud of them too. They worked LONG days. Rofi would go to school in the morning and then work in the afternoon until 11pm. They are going to receive letters of recommendation from the general manager there which will speak volumes here in helping them get a job in the restaurant/tourism/hospitality industry. I am expecting good things. Rofi wrote this on his Facebook page this week, “It's very nice to see the people praising what we do. And over the all when we heard that keep working hard. You will see that one day you will be the best”. He is learning that hard work pays off and I am learning that a little encouragement goes a long way. A lot of what these boys need is simply to be loved and encouraged, to have someone SEE them. I see it happen every day. A boy on the street will look at me with cold, hard eyes. All I have to do is smile and go up to him and ask his name or crack a joke and suddenly I have gained a friend. It is all too often though that I don’t stop. I ignore the stares and keep going. I don’t know why. Lazy I guess. Introverted, in my own world, and maybe a little bit selfish. But enough about me.

I could do none of this without the help of Tim & Andrea. I can’t believe I finally have HELP! They both just went back to England but only for a short while and they will be back soon. The plan is to open a small cafe’. This is something we have been wanting to do for a long, long time. We want to have our own small business to train and employ our students. Tim will teach from the ASDAN course (life skills) and Adele will arrive to resume 3 month English language modules. In addition, we hope to soon be sending our students to Mama Twyla’s for computer classes to learn Microsoft Office, learn to type and create their own resumes/CV’s. 

So this is why you rarely hear from me. We have started a small business and the vocational school continues to progress. The weather here has been windy and so mild, I don’t even want to talk about it for fear that it will change. We’ve had “clean” running water for the past 72 hours. Fearing that too may be too good to be true. I will be “home” in Georgia as soon as it gets sultry here and look forward to autumn and tennis with the old folks. Meanwhile I’ve got to brush up on my Makua so I can join the sewing ladies in their gossip tomorrow.

Friday, August 23, 2013


when Dad was here he brought pocket video cameras to have students take home, film their home and family and bring back to edit. he taught them how to add music, text and create Power Point Presentations. this is Trago's footage. i love that it is unedited, raw, real and without a white person in sight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thursday morning 6:20am

Ramadan made me sick. Not the Muslim observance but the young man. He missed class one day last week and showed up the next with a handkerchief and a head cold and now I have it. Laura missed class this week with the exact same thing. I am fine other than a lot of coughing and nose blowing. I don’t sleep well and have been up since 5:00 and this has been going on for a week now. One morning, I just finally got up at 2am and ordered a pair of pajamas on I fell asleep around 5:00 only to have to get up at 6:00, waking in a fog and wondering, “Did I just buy pajamas?” My alarm will go off now in a few minutes and I will begin my morning routine. 

Classes are going incredibly well. We have taken a small break from production of our table linens to make pinafores for the preschool. I am impressed with my students for picking up on how to make a new item so quickly. We are in desperate need of our own space and outgrowing our little hut. The Vocational School also wants to offer computer courses but simply lack the space to do it, despite having 12 laptops (1 thanks to you!).  It is going to happen, it is just a matter of time. I also just purchased Rosetta Stone Levels 1-5 thanks to all of you! This will be a beautiful resource for our students to use. They can work at their own pace and without my full attention in the classroom. I am always looking for ways to multiply myself. I am amazed by the students who have found us and all that has been created. I am undone by this little sewing school and praying for wisdom into how to run it as a small business. Our students are doing amazingly well in their internship at Kauri. And, Andrea and I just submitted an application for a full scholarship for one of our students to attend university in Maputo, the capital city.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist. One of the cusps on a bicuspid was driving me insane. I had no idea what to expect. Well, I did have an idea what to expect and that scared me. The dentist is at the provincial hospital, a place I would not wish upon my worst enemy. But the dentist office was quite nice. It was clean despite not having running water and each time he squirted water in my mouth I was quick to spit. He sanded down my extra cusp (this tooth had 5 instead of 4- odd, I know!). Then he cleaned my teeth with Colgate. Afterwards he took me down to X-Ray where they quickly and efficiently took an X-ray of my entire head, no lead apron. We took a look at my upper wisdom teeth and determined they weren’t going anywhere. Good to know. The X-ray technician asked me to marry him and I just tried not to roll my eyes. I should be use to this by now but it still comes as a total shock every single time. On the way home, I ran into Ana my Slovenian friend at the roundabout. Both on our scooters, we yelled at each other under oversized helmets and waved. 

Dates keep changing for my return. It will for sure be either October or November, but that is all I know at the moment.

Veronica just arrived to clean and do my laundry. It is sheet washing day. 
Luis. I call him The Gentle Giant. He is such a precious young man. And now a chef at Kauri!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Travel + Leisure

Mozambique: The Ultimate Castaway Fantasy Trip

Africa,Quirimbas Archipelago,resort,luxury,interior,bedroom,guest room,Baracuda Villa,bed,canopy,African-chic,Azura at Quilalea,Azura Resort,private island,Quilalea Island
Photo: William Abranowicz
Can an island be, in the best possible sense of the word, haunted?
On Ibo, in the Quirimbas Archipelago, off the coast of northern Mozambique—a place that is gorgeously kinetic with the colors and textures of its past—I am compelled to consider the possibility.
Ibo radiates with the memories of the Arab sultans and Portuguese explorers who came and went on the trade winds, enriching the surrounding coast with their cultural patrimony even as they plundered its resources. The echoes of their dominions merge along its tidal shores and in the near-deserted streets of its colonial Stone Town, long since reclaimed by sand. Traces of vanquished prosperity and forsaken grandeur linger in mercantile arcades and crumbling Lusitanian villas in faded shades of yellow and pink. Trees grow up inside some of them, limbs reaching through windows; florid patches of black-green mold spread across their walls like great abstract watercolors.
That Ibo is so redolent of a rich history should come as no surprise: Mozambique is a country whose past has never quite relinquished its hold on the psychic landscape. Bordered by Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Swaziland, its coast stretches more than a thousand miles; in the north, it is a place of tidal flats and mangrove forests, coconut plantations, boundless blue skies.
Today, this coast is confronted with an electrified future. If you’ve read about northern Mozambique, it was likely in the context of the discovery of vast gas and oil fields in the Rovuma Basin and at various offshore sites, which has invited exploration of the 21st-century sort: planes and helicopters from major U.S., Russian, and Chinese energy conglomerates jostle for position on the runway of the one-hangar airport in Pemba, gateway to the Quirimbas. In certain towns and lodges up here, there is more than a hint of the Wild West in the air.
Simultaneously, though, northern Mozambique’s unique, frozen-in-amber heritage—as characterful as Zanzibar or Lamu but, for the time being, far less visited than either—is attracting private investment, conservation organizations, and those simply in search of untrammeled beauty. A handful of the latter have turned their talents to hotel-keeping—here in the Quirimbas as well as on Ilha de Moçambique, some 200 miles to the south. Though their aesthetic visions vary, all marry respect for history, architecture, and nature with a passion for thoughtful design.
One of the first hotels to open was Ibo Island Lodge, on the edge of Stone Town on the northwestern coast of tiny Ibo (it measures only a couple of miles across). Bush planes ferry visitors back and forth to the island from Pemba on a 20-minute flight, though at low tide one could conceivably walk all the way from the mainland. Villagers, most from the Kimwani tribe, creak along Ibo’s sand paths on rusty bicycles, banana bunches slung over the handlebars; young women wrapped in vibrant capulanas stroll hand in hand, their faces white with a hydrating paste made from the musiro tree. Silversmiths—part of a once-thriving tradition that in the past decade has been resuscitated by the Aga Khan Foundation—work in the shade of porticoes in Stone Town, shaping wire-thin segments of metal into intricate earrings and pendants. I take a walk around the island with Anli Madu, one of the lodge’s easygoing guides, who was born and raised here; he translates as the village’s healer (disarmingly young and pretty) explains shyly how she treats the patients whom the nurses from Ibo’s lone infirmary have deemed beyond their care.
The lodge itself is housed in restored 19th-century Portuguese villas, set side by side at the sea rampart’s edge. Earlier this year, a third villa at the south end of the property was added; it brings the number of rooms to 14 and can be booked as a fully staffed private villa. The mostly local waitstaff and housekeepers, young and quick to share a laugh, pad about with iced juices and cold towels.
Ibo Island Lodge’s owners, Zimbabwean Fiona Record and her husband, Kevin, have coaxed its interiors back to genteel, but not overly polished, life—good, because excessive polish would, here, be uncomfortably untrue. The décor mixes faded antiques from Goa with contemporary photography and carved teak and mahogany chests and sideboards. There are vintage claw-foot bathtubs in some suites, marble showers in others. Rooms open onto deep verandas running the length of each building; folding carved-wood Swahili screens between them afford privacy, while fans spin above—though in the early morning hours (when one of the staff comes with coffee) the breeze along the bay is still fresh, gently quilting the Indian Ocean.
That ocean, changeable but omnipresent, is a protagonist here. Ibo was key to the spice route plied by Arab sultanates as far back as the eighth century; it was they who purportedly built the fortification that later became the Fortim de São João, Ibo’s oldest fort. Dramatic tidal fluctuations create massive flats around Ibo’s rough coral coastline, so beach chairs and umbrellas don’t factor into the setting. The lodge’s solution for sunseekers is a dhow, which collects you from the nearby pier and heads north, toward Matemo Island, where you reach your own private paradise: a sandbar, newly emerged from the ocean. The crew sets up a tent and umbrellas; chairs and towels are laid in its shade; brunch (or lunch) is served. It’s pure castaway joy, yours for hours without another soul in sight; until the tide turns, and the ocean—faster than you would ever imagine—starts to reclaim it. When you look back as you sail away it’s as if it never existed.
If Ibo Island Lodge is the Quirimbas Archipelago at its most atmospheric, Azura at Quilalea, a private island resort that’s a 40-minute powerboat ride to the south, is a Crusoe fantasy executed at the full-on, five-star level—the one that includes sundowners served by butler-hosts and Heidi Klein beachwear in the boutique. A tiny, half-mile-long coralline outcrop covered in marula trees and the odd baobab, Quilalea has been elegantly shaped without losing its essential wildness: the path that meanders from reception to the groovy sunken beach bar to the dive center is paved, but you might share it with the occasional (entirely harmless) monitor lizard, or one of the 180-odd bird species indigenous to the archipelago. The nine thatched-roof villas are spare and cool, with polished concrete floors and floor-length linen curtains. Four are strung along the east coast; five face west, toward the Indian Ocean sunsets; Villa Quilalea blows out the template with significantly more space, multiple wooden decks, and a bathroom with a view. For all the guests, each of the exquisite meals is served in a different location on the island: one day my breakfast was in a tiny private cove; that night I dined under a sea chestnut, its branches glowing in the light of a dozen lanterns.
Stella Bettany, the Johannesburg-based British owner of Azura Retreats—which reopened Quilalea in late 2011—believes the island “has an immense soul. We wanted to keep that unique castaway quality,” she says. Creature comforts and 2-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio notwithstanding, nothing about Quilalea is exclusive in the undemocratic and un-fun sense of that word. Millions went into the refurbishment, she notes, but most of it underground or back-of-house; so out front, despite a pronounced chicness (aquamarine and turquoise prevail, with lots of grass matting underfoot), barefoot still feels like a perfectly acceptable dress code. Bettany champions Quirimbas culture as well; guests are encouraged to take the speedboat—or the resort’s helicopter—to Ibo to visit the forts, Stone Town, and village (Azura collaborates with Ibo Island Lodge, whose guides are available for cultural tours). South African managers Paul and Kelly Ricklan are consummate hosts, moving fluidly from urbane chat to serious wilderness discourse to divespeak. “I lived in southern Mozambique for eight and a half years, and it’s beautiful,” Kelly Ricklan says. “But here the confluence of nature and culture is just unique. And it’s far wilder.” Azura guests can fish from the main beach and kayak the perimeter of the island. Or they can lie on their private decks and listen to the hiss of the wind-tossed casuarinas and the thump of waves against coral, appreciating how Azura’s very cushy version of the Middle of Nowhere manages to impart an inimitably Mozambican sense of place.
There is no more definitively Mozambican place, however, than Ilha de Moçambique, off the coast of Nampula province—a bumpy but beautiful six-hour drive due south from Pemba through a landscape of lush bush and banana fields occasionally interrupted by towering granite mountains. About two miles long and a couple of thousand feet wide, and reached by a long causeway, Ilha, as locals refer to it, is a 500-year-old fortified island city that is a microcosm of an empire and its demise. Vasco da Gama landed here in 1498 and the Portuguese colonized in 1505, displacing the Arabs who had for centuries made this a principal port (its name is said to derive from that of Moussa Al-Bik, the sultan who controlled its trade). In 1507, it was made the capital of Portuguese East Africa, which it would remain for almost 400 years; in the mid 1600’s, its population comprised Africans, Portuguese, Arab and Macanese traders, and Indians from the imperial provinces in Goa. Local children still scour the shallows for beads from Kerala and fragments of Jiajing Ming porcelain, remnants of 350-year-old shipwrecks, to sell.
The dissolution of Portuguese power was Ilha’s saving grace: by 1898, when the capital moved to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), slave trading had been outlawed for 20 years; by the 1950’s, Nacala, to the north, had overtaken it as the primary port. Four centuries of commerce deserted Ilha in the space of 50 years, and much of the nonnative population followed (those who didn’t made themselves scarce after 1975, with the arrival of independence). This near-desertion protected it from development, and in 1991, UNESCO sealed its status as a World Heritage site.
Ilha’s Stone Town is a bigger, denser version of Ibo’s—houses more tightly packed; streets more bustling, then and now—but equally magnificent in its half-disintegration. It harbors the oldest European church in the Southern Hemisphere: the Church of Our Lady of the Ramparts, constructed in 1522—white, austere, the searing African sunlight pouring through the cross-shaped embrasures cut into its three-foot-thick walls.
These days, though, for almost every empty villa, or one bearing signs of habitation by locals, there is a lime-render façade that has been conspicuously renovated. Ilha’s promise isn’t going unappreciated in Maputo, Johannesburg, or Cape Town—or farther afield. “French; Italian; French; German; Spanish; American.” Eddie, the guide I’ve hired for the day, ticks off the proprietors’ nationalities as we pass construction sites and restorations in the labyrinthine alleys. Private investment may have been encouraged by the establishment of a dedicated tourism authority last year, and is definitely encouraged by the easy affordability of a 2,000-square-foot villa here compared with, say, Morocco or Sicily (for those willing to abide Mozambique’s convoluted property laws, dodgy infrastructure, and malaria hazards). One or two subtly stylish restaurants, serving improbably tasty thin pizzas or spicy prawn curries, dot the streets around the museum, a former seminary; a pretty new boutique, Missanga, sells smocks fashioned from capulanas and the odd brass relic pried from the bottom of the ocean.
Bright, whitewashed walls signal your arrival at Villa Sands, a luxurious 11-room inn in a former shipping warehouse at the water’s edge. Its Stockholm-based owners purchased it in 2007, infused its interiors with a blend of contemporary minimalism and 19th-century Gustavian flourishes, and opened for business in 2011. The infinity-edged pool deck merges easily with the terrace restaurant, flush with the sea; the open lounge, with its poured-concrete floor, Mies-inspired sitting areas, and ornate European chandeliers, leaves the Afro-Lusitanian references to the rest. The slick result is unexpected, but totally appealing.
My own hotel’s façade is similarly fresh, whitewashed. Three and a half centuries old, Terraço das Quitandas was restored over an eight-year period by Isabel Osório and Sérgio Oliveira, its Maputo-based Mozambican owners. Beyond its doors is a ravishing time warp. Quitanda is the word for the local ornate carved-wood beds; one furnishes my two-room suite, which has saffron-yellow walls and a freestanding stone bathtub large enough for two. Makonde ebony carvings are showcased in alcoves; a delicate rocking horse, brought from India by Isabel’s grandfather, gazes at me mildly from a corner. The living room is as long as the nave of a church, painted a rich burnt-red, and layered in antiques, along with Thai textiles, rugs and lamps from Morocco, and wooden doors from Jaipur. The terrace is crowded with rattan furniture and plants in hand-thrown blue pots; hot-pink and tangerine bougainvillea wreathes an inviting fringed hammock; beyond, you can see dhows tilting and bobbing on water turned to quicksilver by the afternoon sun. Fatima, the housekeeper’s assistant, brings tea, with the wide and generous smile she dispenses to compensate for her lack of English. “Besides the natural beauty and the amazing architecture, why here?” Isabel muses. “Because Ilha represents what we are: the mix of cultures, histories, people, food—left over centuries, by who passed and who stayed. It’s made Ilha the place of everyone.”
Maria Shollenbarger is the travel editor of How to Spend It at the Financial Times.

this is my story, this is my song

Stats for Mozambique are no different than Uganda. This is my very dream and vision. We can do this too!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


i have been massively blessed over the past two years to have the 501c3, Abundant Life Fellowship in Austin, TX, take in my donations so that you could received deductions on your giving. Abundant Life existed in name only as a 501c3 of a friend. the non-profit organization will no longer be as such beginning in October. you may use the button on the right (or below) to make donations directly to me. those of you who give reocurring monthly donations will need to stop those payments and resume with my personal paypal account for the time being. so sorry for the inconvenience. i plan to be able to offer you another tax deductible option very soon. thank you for giving and sowing into me, the Vocational School and Galeria dos Sonhos. 
much love, grace

Friday, August 16, 2013

what today looked like

all in all i have to say that today was pretty amazing. the other day i was chatting with papa jim taylor and he told me very emphatically, “we love it here." it shows in everything that they do. their home is always open, they never grumble or complain, they love their lives here. and you can tell. i want to be like that. i DO love my life here and i am quick to tell you about it. i am also quick to complain about the lack. all the lack. and the reptiles. rodents. lack of water. mold. stinkin’ poverty. but i want to be the kind of person who loves. i do think less and less about “home”and, other than friends and family, i don’t miss much. i used to pine away for the South somethin’ awful,tear stained Southern Living magazines,  but even that has waned a little. it’s all perspective and attitude. and it’s not my perspective or attitude, but God’s. He loves this place too and that’s why He sent me here. so as i step into my new place of revelation and am embracing all that He has for me here, I have to say this day was a record day. it is the type of day missionaries write about in their newsletters. 

the sewing school is going incredibly well. i have big plans for it and see the potential for it to grow. it makes me smile just thinking about it. wednesday, my three female employees got Baptized in the Indian Ocean!i was so honored to be a part of that. i am blown away at the transformation of these women. i wish you could be here to see our school.  we meet in an outdoor gazebo, with extension cords all over the place. every student pitches in and assumes their roles as they sew away. they iron and rip out and sew and stitch and speak Makua so fast. and they laugh. i show them pictures and the Etsy site and they are in awe. they don’t use cloth napkins. some don’t sit at tables. most sit on rope beds and eat with their hands. so table runners are foreign but they are amazed by them. and the sell of one could provide them with rent for a month. yep. if we can create a product line that can sell somewhere even kinda remotely big and we can sell 6 runners a month, we can help them tremendously. it is such a feasible business proposal. so all day long i am running it all around in my head. (along with the scrutiny of wardrobe choices. see previous entry).

after i left Galeria dos Sonhos i went out to Kauri to check on our Vocational School students doing internships at Kauri (The Indian Restaurant). it is a dumpy little place with a view that will take your breath away. as soon as i drove up i saw our boys in their white and black (thanks to Mana Andrea for traipsing all over the village to find black pants.  btw, Zito has requested a new belt), goofing off out front as they changed shifts with the other boys. Luis, the gentle giant, was wearing a pale green eyelet Baby’s cap. where he found it i want to know. he was in street clothes because he works in the kitchen. he told me he’d learned to make hamburgers. he may as well have said coq au vin. i beamed. then rofy and henrique greeted me, standing so tall and proud. henrique asked me for curtains in his house because he said he gets cold at night. rofy told me the evening staff isn’t nice to him and they only let him watch and not do. “how am i ever going to learn anything if they don’t let me do anything?", he sounds so identical to me i have to smile. nobody likes to be pushed around, including Rofy.  “sister grace. i think you need to find me another internship at another hotel next month after this one is over." “i will look into that rofy. in the mean time, bring me a menu." i ordered a large water and sat by the sea and shook my head. it’s all happening. all because i said yes. because of nothing that i have done of my own will or my own ability. the boys got these internships all because i wanted pancakes and i brought them to Kauri for us to eat them. and out of that a little internship arises and Andrea and Tim come along and share the labor and it’s happening. 
Fran came along because God said, “Go." now we are running a sewing school and a shop and people have jobs and i am shaking my head again. it was easy, coming here and living. and it was so so so the hardest thing i have ever done. kinda like childbirth maybe. you don’t think about the pain, you just see the good and you just smile and look at it adoringly.

i’ve told you already about my little card on my vanity in my sister’s handwriting on Robert Brown Interior Design stationary. it was written at the cabin the day before i left. “Counting Down the Days until July 17." that date has come and gone and i am still here. in the little house with mold and no running water. but wait, i am not supposed to complain. i couldn’t leave in July, it was way too soon and we had too many things going on and there was no way I could abandon it all. so an impromptu and completely surreal trip to South Africa granted me another few months here. if my visa will permit, i would like to stay until November. i can spend more time with Liz and Tim and show them everything i know as i begin to train them in the area of Vocational Training Pemba style. 

So the long range planner in me has to have dates and a calendar and that is absolutely as far as it goes, November-ish. Visa permitting, IRS permitting (i filed for an extension), rental house permitting (it needs a new roof), Georgia Department of Labor filing mistakes permitting (they think i worked a job i didn’t). All those demands from “home” will have to wait. We’re busy changing the world over here in Mozambique. 

PS. i got to talk to Laura and Betty today. Laura seemed a little shocked to hear my voice and Betty even got a little annoyed and hung up on me because the call wasn’t going through. it was funny to hear them finally recognize it was ME, but also kinda sad, they used to know my ring and answer with”I was hoping that was you." now we never get to talk. but we did this time and it was so beautiful to hear familiar voices, Laura was driving the mini van with babies in the back and Betty was in Belk. i’m too many miles away from Belk to even count.  but not near as many miles away as from babies in the backseat. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

galeria dos sonhos

Yesterday we plugged away in the sewing school. It is such slow work at times. Andrea wants to take a suitcase full of our things to sell in London. She leaves next week, therefore I am anxious to get her a nice range of items. Everything they do still has to be really monitored and each line examined before moving on to the next step. I am learning along with them. We could potentially have our own space! The perfect room is opening up and I am praying that it is the perfect fit for us. We are still trying to run as a small business and paying these girls daily salaries and we need to start making money and working more productively. Our own room, instead of an outdoor hut, will help.

We were approached by a coffee shop in Atlanta who wants to sell our things! It will change our strategy slightly as we will sell wholesale, but those sells coupled with our Etsy page should create some income. If you know of a shop interested in selling our goods, let me know. We are also keen to just place items in a shop and give the business a percentage of sells. We are having fun and anxious to see where this goes. At the same time, these girls desperately need jobs and this income is transforming them. We need to find ways to make the business sustainable. I know it can be done and that the right businesses for our products will find us. Come on Anthropologie!

Shop with us.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Haleigh's Video

EC grad Haleigh Lewis came with Mom, Dad & The Morgan's to Pemba last month. It was an honor to see her life transformed here. She left a completely different person. It was beautiful to see. She jumped right into the deep end and assisted with the medical team. I was so proud of her. I have a feeling she will be back.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Galeria dos Sonhos

Making sea glass art today in the Gallery. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


In celebration of Amazon now charging sales tax to Georgian's, I've launched a page that will feature products I like available for purchase there. You can click the Good Finds link to the right to go there or click HERE. Also attempting Book Reviews (under the Good Reads page), which requires actually reading a whole entire book. I'm working on that. XO

lady grace in cape town

The V&A Waterfront

dinner @ The Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay

perfection in a glass, in a moment, in a rainy day

when making an online reservation Mozambican Airlines allows you to add a title from a drop-down box, why not?

Tokara Olive Farm & Winery
Llandudno Beach
Pool @ Delaire Graff

Beach View from the little house in Simon's Town

Friday, August 9, 2013

now what?

back to the little house with the mold and no running water. it's a jolt to the system. i am stepping in slowly. i've unpacked (mostly). i bought a new sewing machine in Cape Town for our sewing shop. i was stopped in Maputo and had to pay $50 in taxes. 

i arrived back home to dear friends who were excited about my arrival and their presents. 

i slept, despite the blaring music outside my window. i spent the morning organizing our etsy page and updating our items and descriptions and pining them to Pinterest in efforts to show our items and gain an audience. promotion and marketing. we may be in a local Atlanta coffee shop soon! more details on that to come. we also got our first custom order off etsy.  i will have to venture into town in the morning to buy fabric for that order.

this afternoon, i had to meet with Twyla who has been so incredibly graciously letting us use her house. we have invaded her office/guest bedroom and overtaken her gazebo. we are very much in need of our own space. we met and talked it all over and came up with plans A, B and C. 

meanwhile a visitor wants to come and teach at Galeria dos Sonhos how to work with glass and make art. he's coming Monday morning to our little gazebo.

as i am leaving Twyla's, my student Trago writes me. he is one of my most studious. brilliant. kind. gentle. articulate. he wants to be a doctor. but he can't afford medical school. his brother is very sick and has been for a long time. he needs an operation and Trago needs to take him to Nampula for surgery. Trago is 16. now he is coming to me to look for a job. i have nothing for him to do. i have Galeria dos Sonhos but we are already in the red. but he is willing to do anything and even though he has school and knows he can only make a drop in the bucket of what he needs for a surgery in Nampula, yet he is still trying. i admire that. i admire him. he's coming in the morning at 8:00 to talk about it.

and just now i sat down with one of my workers. she was asking for payment, which was technically due today and she could not wait until monday. she owes money to a shop owner where she is currently working and living. but the shop is falling apart and not a good place to live. she was wanting money to pay another shop owner but they wanted three months rent. we sat down with her and tried to tell her this was not a good idea while she tried to tell us she had no where else to go. the conversation was full of things like, "i'm afraid", "i have no where else to go", "there are already other women living in that house." she really doesn't have other options. if you don't have family here you really are on your own, as is she. she rely's on friends but those friends have relatives and houses are all full already. everything this girl owns could fit in a small bag. she is simply looking for a place to sleep at night. a safe space. we tried to reason with her and discuss how living in the shop was not the best situation in the past and how it would most likely not result in a good thing for her in the future. we don't want her to be tied to the owners of these shops, but rather one day, own her own place. i tried to tell her that. but there is no grid here for that. things like "be your own boss" and thoughts of you being in total control of your life and you being God's chosen are foreign to her. she needs to hear it every second to make up for all the days she has been so overlooked. i wanted to scoop her up and tell her she has everything going for her, that she is "fearfully and wonderfully made" and the apple of His eye. but i have no solution for her current situation. i had no solution for where she will sleep tonight or tomorrow. it's hard and it's frustrating. i have full faith that God will help her, i just haven't a clue how. it most likely won't look at all like i think it will. we left it at simply meeting again once the other bosses have been paid off and she is free to leave her current situation. we reasoned with her not to pay into another place but to look into finding a small house to rent. she estimates this to be about $30/month. $30!!! it would change her life. to have her own place to sleep. that is for a tiny house with no electricity or running water. just a room. it's all anyone has here. she is making beyond this with Galeria dos Sonhos. so we also left it with all sitting down together and looking at a budget to help her manage her finances. so now i, who just spent a month's rent in Pemba, on face powder at the airport, get to sit down and see the raw truth about living here. about what it really is to be Mozambican and to see her daily struggles in black and white. i, of course, want to encourage her to get her own place and be her own boss. i want to teach her how to manage her money so that she can put away and save at the end of every month. i want to show her how God provides and gives wisdom to those who see Him. i haven't a clue HOW to do this but trusting He will show me each step. 

so this is my re-entry into my life in Mozambique. i can't escape the need or my responsibility to help. it's an honor and makes the luxury life in Cape Town seem a bit dull. it's good to be back where i belong. 

cape town revisited

There is no way to summarize it all, the beauty of Cape Town and the feeling of simply enjoying every moment of it all. I was giddy with excitement over each day and what it would bring. It would not have been near as fun if this were my every day and berries were always in my fridge, but the contrast made each meal, drive and excursion so incredibly FUN. 
Of course I recommend going if you ever get the chance. I would maybe even recommend over going to Europe, if you are considering such a venture. It is a beautiful alternative. The dollar is strong and it offers all the beauty, cuisine and history that any trip abroad can bring. If you are a wine connoisseur you will fall madly in love. If you like photography or hiking, penguins or the sea, mountains, farms with berries and cheeses and olives, you will love Cape Town. Don’t go to shop, I told you that already and feel a little bad for saying all that. But trust me, don’t. Oh, unless you want to go to my friend Louise’s shop on St. George’s Street in Simon’s Town and that is a MUST. It’s well done. 
I highly recommend hiking. It would not take much inquiry to find a spot, as trails and parks are all clearly marked. There are hiking groups that do so daily and I am sure they would let you join. I went with these lovely people. We hiked above Elephant's Eye at Silvermine. 
You must drive to Stellenbosch & Franschoek and make many stops along the way. Some of my recommendations include:

I regret not being able to fully experience Babylonstoren or La Petite Ferme. Don't eat at Delaire Graff and I regrettably can't recommend the spa, but go for the views. Tokara has the best olives I have ever put in my mouth. One could easily spend a week or more in this region, sipping and dining. I never dreamed I would get to have such a vacation and ring in 36 with such a fanfare. It has raised my level of expectation for all things, being around such excellence and beauty. Cheers to 36 and to seeing Cape Town once again. 

Galeria dos Sonhos

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"that time i went to Cape Town..."

i've been looking forward to this day of being able to sit at the computer and write and now as i am here i am so sleepy i can't hold my eyes open and i just set my alarm for 4:30am. yes, i have an early flight out to Pemba and am leaving for the airport at 5:15. i do have internet and i am frantically downloading books and magazines, in between yawns. 

my vacation was simply amazing. i was astounded by the generosity and kindness of strangers, the beauty of the Western Cape, the extravagance of God's love. not only did i get to stay in a pretty little house next to the sea, but i got to drink from the cup of the best Stellenbosch and Cape Town had to offer. i had impeccable meals, spa treatments and rich, deep conversations with new friends. it was so much fun.

i loved, loved being able to drive a proper car on a paved road, blaring music in the pouring rain. i loved being invisible and blending in with all the other white people. i loved leaving my food in the cupboard or pantry without fear of the rats eating it. i loved hot water. i loved morning and evening baths in hot water. i loved sitting on the sofa and reading a magazine. i loved going to the shops and looking at all the color. i loved driving through rolling hills of vineyards. i loved the architectural designs of restaurants and vineyards, with fountains, artwork and flawless interior designs. i loved going to the market and filling my cart with dairy, fruit and fresh vegetables. and the list is really even longer. those are just some of the highlights. it all went by fast and i can't believe the two weeks is already over. i didn't even get to see the penguins or drive to Cape Point. oh well, next time. 

my visa is renewed and i have a 30 day visa now. it is a "special" one that can be renewed up to 4 times apparently. at about $100 every 30 days. so i will keep renewing. 

the boys started internships this week and i am anxious to get back to our sewing shop. i loved every second of my break. still so blown away at God's provision and extravagance. i never knew when i signed up for this gig that low cost trips to one of the most beautiful places on earth were a part of it. it was a birthday i will never forget and a season of my life that i will forever cherish. "that time i went to Cape Town."

more details and photos soon. turning off the lights.


Monday, August 5, 2013

So much to say

But I can't peck it all out on my phone. :( my little Internet spot closed! The one with the great poached eggs. I was so disappointed. But I've been carrying you all with me wherever I go. 

I miss my little Mozambican family and it is time to go home. But I have adored every second of being here. Crazy blessed doesn't even begin to describe it. I will tell you more. Soon! Spending my last day gathering must haves for fellow Pemba residents- vitamins, chocolates, nuts... And meeting a new friend for coffee ;) you have to love a town where you can make friends by simply being, resting, and walking the streets. Even the weather has warmed up. Today I was watching the sea and saw something in the water. I sat in amazement as I watched a submarine emerge! This place astounds me. So stunning, creative, friendly and captivating. 

Staying overnight in Joburrrrrrg. I hope to write more from my little bed there. XO