The Caribbean Seaweed Expedition (Part 5 of 6)

Meeting a Woman Sailor – Musician – Artist… Jessie’s Story

Wherever I go in the world, I love to research local resources that could benefit our customers, especially for skin care. I am always on the lookout for new ingredients, and whenever possible, try to test them on people in different countries, in different circumstances and in differing climates. I have been looking for years for something that brings “instant results” for a variety of skin types and skin conditions from very dry skin to even semi-oily skin.

There is always something interesting to learn from your neighbours. Here we were sailing along in the Caribbean Sea, stopping off at a marina, this time in Colombia, and no exception. My friends and I ran into Jessie van Beckhoven, a remarkable woman who told us the story of her life.

What really got my attention was that besides being an accomplished sailor, she also shared that she is a singer, a classical piano player, a chef, and a wonderful artist who makes beautiful drawings and sculptures using the simplest natural materials, changing them into something very unique.

We invited her for a coffee on our vessel. Our first impression was that she was a kind and friendly soul. We learned about her life’s journey; a story of personal bravery and inspiration.

Earlier in life, she volunteered to help people in Liberia. Living there, she survived 3 wars, shielding children from the dictators who murdered hundreds of thousands of people for whatever terrible political reasons. When she describes some of her experiences at that time, her face changes and the emotions cause her hands to fly up into her hair.

In all those years surrounded by enormous cruelty, she still tried to find beauty. For 20 years, she lived in Africa trying to help lessen the pain of thousands of people. Her life story is actually so dramatic that a television company wants to make a film about her experiences.

As a follower of Anthroposophy, she finds peace and wisdom in the teachings of Rudolph Steiner. She believes in freedom, kindness and positive thoughts for the best of all people on earth.

Jessie showed us images of her works. An amazing artist, her talents also include photography, growing herbs and an exceptional gift for cooking. She told us about a delicious dish made with rosemary, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts to which she adds some pepper and sea salt. It sounded so good that the day after we went to the local supermarket in Cartagena to buy all the ingredients and prepared ourselves a delicious and healthy meal.

Purely delicious; easy to prepare and healthy

I became interested in how she must have taken care of her skin for so many years in the worst of weather circumstances. I bluntly asked her age and was relieved she was even happy with that question and I was surprised to learn that at her age of 63 she still not only fully expresses signs of beauty but also a passion for life.

I explained I was here on an expedition aimed at making better skincare products, testing new formulations in the worst conditions for any type of skin. I asked what her secret was. She had tried many things; some worked better than others did. How does someone take care of their skin having lived for decades in hot, dry Africa and now in the harsh salt-water conditions in Colombia with lots of sun as well?

I promised her I was going to send her some of our skincare and hair care products. I asked if she would try out the new beauty serum that Dr. Gatot is working on in our lab? She said she would be delighted.

Will our new anti-ageing serum bring instant improvement to Jessie’s skin? Will it make her skin appear fresher, although her youthful energy shines through already? This then will be another story for future blogs.

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