Now we already are here on Ilha for two days and yesterday evening we decided to not lose more time and try to accomplish an other mission we set ourselves before coming to Mozambique. Both of us were reading this book called “Mozambican Mysteries” by Lisa St Aubin de Teran before coming here and it seemed really inspiring to us. The book describes you the perfection of an integrative sustainable development project, obviously in big contrast to so many projects here in Africa that do more harm than really help the continent.
The project is situated in Cabaceira Grande on the mainland just in front of the island and reachable by local sailing boats, that connect the island with different parts of the mainland. These sailing boats are called Dhaos and already move people and goods over the Indian Ocean for centuries. Thanks to the monsoons here that change their direction every half year, traders could come from India stay here for half a year, waiting that the wind changes direction and go back to India again.
Nowadays there are hardly people crossing the ocean in a boat like this any more, but still you can see traders carrying their goods all along the east African coast going from here up to Zanzibar.
When we get with our luggage to the beach, and look for the boat, we realize, that the water was rising since we came here before to ask the Capitan for the departure time. But not too late. Though there is more than 200 meters of ocean between us and the boat, the water is still shallow enough to walk through it. Carefully we are trying to find a path through all this sea urchins, that seem to be everywhere.
At the boat the Captain pulls out a little wood ladder to help us climbing in. And here we go. First one of the helpers pushes us out of the shallow waters, using a bamboo stick and then he opens the sail. I feel like reliving the past, thinking of all the merchants that used the same way of travelling for centuries already. No motors, just the sound of the sea around us.
Eventually we will pass an other boat and the people will start shouting and laughing at each other.
When ever you come to east Africa do not miss riding a Dhao.