Jambo, habari ghani, good people. (Hello and what news? _ Kiswahili)
Even in a crowd, Raynetta Mobley's statuesque physique and regal bearing set her apart. A dealer in African art, clothing and folklore, she looks and acts more like a native of Africa instead of St. Petersburg.
An artisan in every sense of the word, Mobley makes custom jewelry using imported beads from all over the world.
"The more I learn about jewelry, the more fascinating it becomes," she said.
"I have been designing and making jewelry for over than 10 years, but now I'm using more natural products. There are natural elements that when worn on certain parts of the body are supposed to promote healing and other spiritual assistance. Native American Indians have known about these properties all along, but it's only been recently that I have begun my own study and work in this area."
Mobley also blends fragrant oils to suit one's own personality. The oils act the same way as aroma therapy. "I've worked with the oils for many years, and a lot of my customers tell me that people always ask what it is they are wearing sometimes hours after they have applied it."
For the past two years, Mobley has been living part-time in Orlando and studying with renowned artist Baba Tunde. "I have learned so much from spending time with Baba and other artists. It has been a continual growing process," she said.
Braided hair, African clothing, ivory bracelets and beautiful smile have always been among Mobley's trademarks, but they pale in comparison to the peace and spirituality that emanates from her inner being.
"I've come to a place in my life where I feel free to be who I am and to allow others to be who they are. The sprit of creativity lives in all of us, and we must encourage those around us to use all of their God-given talents," she said.
Today, Mobley will be at the Caribbean Carnival at North Shore Vinoy Park. "I have brought many of my special fragrant oils along with my custom jewelry and hair ornaments for that exotic look without the work. I'll also have belly belts, which have a unique story behind them."
In August, Mobley and Baba Tunde will travel to Black Mountain, N.C., to attend a convocation with artists from around the country. "This trip is just the first of many," she said. "I plan to study in Africa and come back and teach the skills I have learned to others."
Today is the last day of the fifth annual Caribbean Carnival. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. you can dance, eat and party to your heart's content. Visit the authentic Caribbean craftsmen and enjoy the rhythms of the calypso, soca and steel drum bands. Park entrance for adults is $3; children under 8 are free.
If you are 8 to 15 and live within the boundaries of Central Avenue and 26th Avenue S and 34th and 49th streets, you can be a part of a new community football and cheerleading squad. The Childs Park Junior Rattlers will hold its kickoff and registration drive from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Childs Park Community Center, 4301 13th Ave. S. For more information, call Davrye Green at 327-5149.
There is a new place to shop for home ideas and gifts: It's called Silk interiors and Gifts. The owner and proprietor Valencia Nettles has some of the most beautiful silk and dried arrangements, which she designed herself. The shop offers a variety of floor-model vases, hanging brass planters, fresh potpourri and fragrant oils. The store is at 1234 34th St. S, Suite 3. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The Venue Theatre Collective, a non-profit organization, is accepting submissions of new plays for readings and possible showcase presentations. If you have a one-act play based on real-life situations (comedy, drama or farce), family/children issues or holiday themes, please send it, along with a SASE, to Venue Theatre, P.O. Box 121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call 822-6194.
The Cradle of Wisdom comes from Henry David Thoreau: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings."