Entry 1: What did we lose?
My idea was genius! No Brilliant! I had finally found the answer that would unite all people of the diaspora together. The idea came through my head like water. To create a retreat titled “Back To Our Roots” that would re-unite the people of the diaspora back to the land.
“The cure for the pain is in the pain”
This is one of my favorite quotes by the suffix poet Rumi, because in this quote resides our truth. The question we must answer as people of color is: What is at the core of our pain? What was really taken away from us? We are struggling to get back what we lost, but in order to understand the root of our pain we must fully understand what is it that we lost. I look at my brothers and sisters in the Americas, bodies laying on cold concrete, turned into dust by police officers. What is it that we lost, during that crucial time, when our land and our people were violated? I turn my head to my brothers and sisters in Africa, shaming their land, trying so hard to imitate the very people who inflicted them with pain, and I can’t help but ask again what is it that we lost, as a people?
The answer came through my head like water: Our identity was taken, but not just taken; it was redesigned to make this society believe that we are worthless. Redesigned, by a system so effective, that brown bodies now a days can be found dead without justice, incarcerated without proper cause, or better yet aiming themselves to resemble a western definition of both beauty or intelligent. For slavery and colonization to work brown and black people all over the world needed to be stripped away from their identity; but as effective as the colonial tactics were in trying to kill every ounce of African heritage and culture; what they forgot is that the soul never dies. Thus, in search of our pain, in search of my own pain, I realize that the cure was to understand that we haven’t lost anything. We just needed to reconnect with our source.
Thus, on December 27th 2017, after a long year of planning how I was going to curate this amazing retreat, I packed my bags and left America with a one-way ticket to Africa, a few dollars in my bank account, a 7-slide power point presentation and hope that the spirit who guided my action would allow someone on the other side to see it as well.
Stay tuned, as I share more of my journey on how we were able to curate our #BTOR healing retreat.
-Chef Wilizé Maléombho