Arts in Health

Why Send Art Supplies to Mozambique?

A few years ago, after many challenges in Mozambique, an adoption that was making us feel “trapped” (within a small radius in a foreign land with a small support system), someone said to me, “Dara, go back to your younger self. Who were you before the world put pressure on you and started speaking into you?” I knew immediately who I was as my 8-year-old self. I was a creator. People used to say, “Dara will be an art teacher.” I never became an art teacher. Instead, college brought on many science classes and little time or priority to do art. Fast-forward 15 years and I’ve gone back to being a creator. So much so that I’m currently getting an online graduate certificate in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida Center for the Arts. I have found art to be a life-giving process giving me much joy and supporting my overall health and well-being.

So what is arts in medicine, also called arts in health? It is a new, rising profession of arts being used in health care or community settings to better enhance overall well-being of health care experiences and overall community health and well-being. Through a focus on arts in health (or medicine) the process of engaging with the arts brings about a positive experience, joy, hope and meaning to life. As a result, there is often an enhancement of overall well-being. Art often has positive effects spiritually, emotionally, physically and psychologically. 

My passion continues to be to provide palliative care in rural Mozambique by meeting physical and spiritual needs (through the use of Audio Bibles). I also, daily, feel the limitations in the health care system in rural Mozambique. There is a limit on what can be provided within the medical framework in Mozambique.  Yet, shouldn’t there be more I can do? 

The vast majority of rural Mozambicans have never held a crayon, do not know the names of basic colors, and have never had the opportunity to “create” anything. This is very sad to me, as God has used art in my life to provide a way to refresh and rejuvenate my soul. God has met me through art and ministered to me in ways I wasn’t experiencing without the creative process. Art has encouraged me and helped me maintain hope through tragic circumstances. God has sustained me through the gift of art. 

What benefits might be seen in Mozambique if I were able to invest time doing art with my palliative care patients and their caregivers? What if I offered art opportunities for local women? What if more young women were able to create arts or crafts and enjoy the benefits of creating? I want to share the benefits that I’ve known the creative process to give, and share the impact it has had on my own well-being and quality of life.

The Compassionate Care Team has always focused on holistic care—physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological well-being, art enhances each of these areas. With these ideas and hopes in mind, as part of the 2021 Mozambique Container Project, we want to also send more art supplies.  These resources will give us the opportunity to provide experiences to our community that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Potential art forms that we hope to engage in are:

  •  Watercolor painting
  •  Acrylic painting
  •  Rock painting, Mandala form
  • Block printing/card making
  • Crocheting baskets and rugs from local fabrics
  • Hand-paper making with natural fibers

If you are interested in providing art supplies for our ministry, you can shop our Amazon Wishlist. Thank you for helping make this possible!