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Birthright and Bountiful Joy

A  S.E.L.F. retreat to go back to source, ignite your inner fire, and fill you Calabash with infinite joy

Benin, Togo, & Ghana

November 18-28, 2024

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If you are a Black Woman or an advocate or love warrior looking to level-up your ancestral self-care routine, amplify your self-love and turbo charge your authenticity, boldness and courage- then join us on for this never-to-be-forgotten live-transforming journey that will open the doors to the you that needs to be retrieved. Sankofa!

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​You can feel the welcoming energy of the warm and inviting air as you step foot on African soil. Even the birds that fly overhead seem to serenade your welcome home, your welcome to you. 

 

Your long  journey, sleepless night, and aching joints release as your stress melts away, a deep peace envelops your busy mind, and your spiritual connection to Mother Africa beats with life as your birthright becomes your path to relax, release, and rejoice.

 

Welcome to Africa!

Benin still holds the majesty and magic of its ancient past as the gateway to Africa. You see faces and smiles that are foreign but familiar and you feel deeply aligned with the people and the spirit that lies within everyone you meet. Standing on the ancestral ground of Benin, feel the grounding sands beneath your feet and hear the wild but soothing coastline in the near distance. Witness the rays of the African morning sun against your skin and know that you are finally back home.

 

The wind in your hair seems to whisper in your ear “You cannot leave me, I am inside your head, in your soul, part of your DNA. My rivers run like blood through your veins, my drums beat like your heart, and my animals cry for your freedom. My coastline is welcoming you back home my daughter.

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Can you imagine the power that you’d feel from having some rituals and ceremonies that support you to retrieve the stolen joy, love, and prosperity that is rightfully yours?

 

I can so imagine it! During this retreat, using an award-winning African goddess workshop and dialogues, you will learn how to retrieve lost ancestral self-love and joy, so you can return home with joy that knows no limits. 

Can you imagine how proud you’ll feel when you finally stop dreaming of going to your ancestral home – and just do it?

 

The pride is rising already! As part of this trilogy journey, through pre-trip preparation sessions, you’ll be prepared for your bucket list adventure, so you can return home feeling ready to ignite your life with continued  compassion, confidence,  and curiosity.

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Imagine how deeply rewarding it will feel to get into alignment with your true nature and step boldly into the authentic you?

 

Yes, I can see the rewards! On this journey, through the use of powerful Iboga Quantum Leap ceremony you will be able to have extreme clarity to unapologetically show up authentically so that you can find your passion for life and show up as the real you!

How rewarding it will be to learn how to establish a self-care routine informed by your ancestral wisdom?

 

Oh, so rewarding! During the retreat, you will learn from local medicine women how to integrate ancestral wisdom into a daily routine so that you can build your own radical self-care practice when you return home.

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How comforting would it feel to travel in a way that is sistah-focused, equity-minded and trauma informed. 

 

So comforting! During our time together, through intentional activities that focus on your needs as a Black woman or love warrior as well as on your mental wellness, you’ll feel supported to find new friendships and expand your comfort zone horizons so you can return home with a sense of assurance that you felt seen, were safe, and that you had a successful restorative experience. 

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What will I experience?

A time to bring forth whatever is in you and that will save you

01

After you register

On registration you will receive a series of forms which you need to complete and return. The credit card authorization form authorizes us to charge your credit card for the deposit and payments according to the scheduled payment plan and once it is completed, your registration is accepted. You have several payment options that work for you. There are seven other forms that ask for required information, some which includes a list of your emergency contacts, list of allergies, and request releases for use of your picture or video. These must be returned by March 24, 2024. 

03

Pre-departure meet ups

There will be two opportunities to meet as a group, before you travel to Africa. On March 24, participants will meet to explore the retreat in more depth, meet the host, facilitators, meet each other, hear about the special guest for the closing ceremony, and ask any questions you have. On April 24, we will meet again to orient you to the Sankofa Sistah-Circle™ the dialogue method we will use while in Africa. To begin you connecting with your soul-sistahs, a Facebook group will be created, and all participants will be invited there to have access to pre-retreat information and also to engage with each other. When you register, you will receive the full retreat outline and schedule, so that you can see the life-changing experience that has been specially planned for you. The itinerary only gives a taste of what's to come.

02

Threshold of transformation

 This retreat is designed to strengthen your connection to your inner wisdom, self-love, and compassion for self and others. As a Black woman or her love warrior, you sometimes feel like you are not playing the game of life fully. You feel like you have followed rules that make you doubt your worth and like you are an imposter in your own story. This retreat is designed to help you to step to a threshold of transformation with a group of soul-sisters and to reclaim what was stolen from you. Sankofa means go back and get it, and this is an invitation for you to do just that. Sankofa!

04

Body/mind techniques for vitality

 Through mindfulness, Sankofa Sistah-circle™ dialogues, meeting with a medicine woman, heritage  workshops by Elders, and connecting with the history and local people, you’ll practice cultivating the authenticity, courage and loving-boldness of the African women you call ancestors (for others, and most importantly – for yourself).We also suggest honoring your body, mind, and spirit. To support you, there will be opportunities for you to process your thoughts and feelings during the Sankofa Sistah-circle™ . I have intentionally designed the entire retreat experience in a trauma-informed manner so that you will always feel seen, safe, and supported throughout the entire 11 days. 

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The Cuisine

West African food is down to earth, comforting, full of flavor and from the first mouthful, you will be reminded where soul food was born

 

 The staple foods in West Africa are rice and ground vegetables, but not just any rice! Ghana is famous for its jollof rice, which is typically accompanied by a variety of delicious side dishes, including meat, vegetables, and soups.

 

The menus at the resorts you will stay at are inspired by a consciously local cuisine that is sure to provide an epicurean experience that meets the needs of every pallet. Their global cuisine trained chefs are trained to inspire you to eat like a local or to try the global cuisine on the menu. You will also have opportunities to try local restaurants and discover personally that the cuisine is packed with unique flavors and ingredients that will tantalize your taste buds, stir up memories of dishes and tastes from back home, and leave you wanting more. I recommend trying everything, it’s one of the ways to better understand the people of this very special region!

 

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater, each meal will wow your taste buds’ imagination.

 

 

You'll find mouthwatering traditional African dishes as well as your world fare to nourish you for your excursions and tantalize your taste buds and your senses. 

 

All meals are cooked with ingredients that will make your mouth water to the last bite. 

 

Can't eat this or that? Whether vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free or any other diet, we'll accommodate your food preferences or allergies, so you feel loved, nourish, and supported. 

 

Your home away from home

When traveling to Africa it’s normal to be assigned to a 3-star hotel as part of your package. I’ve chosen to upgrade us for seven of our ten nights to a 4-star hotel in Accra Ghana and to a 5-star luxury safari lodge in Mole National Park Ghana.          

I promise – it will be worth the extra cost! 

 

We begin our retreat at Maison Rouge Hotel in Cotonou, Benin. This is in the city and will be a home away from home for three nights of leisure and rest while in Benin. 

 

When we’re in Accra, Ghana, we’ll be at the Africa Regency Hotel, slightly out of town but known to have the best Sunday brunch in the whole of Ghana. You will enjoy the ambiance with its decorations inspired by Adinkra symbols and its world class standards. Then when we travel to Mole National Park, we’ll be staying at the all-inclusive Zaina Lodge, a luxury safari lodge where you can relax and be in the serenity of safari, in comfort and style.  

 

And after our amazing three days in Mole National Park, we return to Accra for our last two nights in Ghana where we bid farewell to Africa.

 

**Keep in mind that you NEVER know what’s going to happen and they may move us to another hotel. However, if that does unfold, we will move to a venue that is equal in value to what I’ve already chosen for us.

Our Three Venues

The Luxury Safari Experience

Nov. 18

Welcome home to Benin

Today you celebrate your journey to pause, release, discover, pull in, and to begin to find your authenticity, boldness, and unapologetic joy in a place that's foreign but familiar. Welcome to your journey to stress less, eat well, and live free.
 

Reset your body and mind with daily sunrise yoga designed to address the experiences of the day and the activities you will do. 

  • Arrive in Cotonou, Benin.

  • Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner. 

  • Orientation and Sankofa Sistah-circle™

  • Rest and prepare for day of exploring  Ouidah.

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Nov. 19

Ouidah and The Port of No Return

Today you will understand Benin's role in the Transatlantic Slave trade and be presented with a narrative that can begin to create a different pattern for how you experience your heritage.

 

 Reset your body and mind with daily sunrise yoga designed to address the experiences of the day and the activities you will do. 

  • After a hearty African breakfast, depart your hotel to visit the temple dedicated to the sacred Python, believed to give vitality and protection; 

  • Also pay a visit to the historical Museum of Ouidah located in an Old Portuguese fort built in 1721. This Museum portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade;

  • After lunch on your own, visit the sacred forest which houses many shrines dedicated to various deities;

  • Pay a sobering visit to the Port of No Return; a monument built by the Benin Government to commemorate the Africans that were taken from the Dahomey Empire during the Slave Trade;

  • Dinner;

  •  Sankofa Sistah-circle™

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Nov. 20

Benin, The Venice of Africa

Today you will meet one of Benin's religious and state officials who will officially welcome you home. One of his official roles is the Chief Supreme baba oro, and he also serves as one of the elders in the city of Oeume. He and his colleagues will ensure that you understand the untold aspects of your heritage, sharing narratives that have not been whitewashed and sanitized. 

 

 Reset your body and mind with daily sunrise yoga designed to address the experiences of the day and the activities you will do. 

  • After breakfast, make a sensational visit to the Royal Palaces of Abomey, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Before dinner, participate in an ancestral healing ceremony led by the Secretary General and spoke man of the federation of association of culte Endogènes of Benin . 

  • Dinner

  •  Sankofa Sistah-circle™ with local medicine women

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Teachers

Nov. 21

Ghana via Togo

  • After breakfast, check out of your hotel and depart to Accra by bus.

  • Enroute, visit the Togo Fetish Market briefly. 

  • Continue to Accra.

  • Akwaaba – Welcome to Ghana! Arrive in Accra, Ghana. Enjoy a welcome drink at the hotel and participate in an orientation session. 

  • Dressmakers will take measurements and sew cloths for interested participants (at an additional cost)

Nov. 22

Forts, Castles, & Dungeons: Ancestral Apologies

Today you will be sensitized to the relationship between the western slave traders and the African tribes that made the trans-Atlantic slave trade possible. It is an opportunity to be up and close with history – to stand in the dark and stuffy dungeons, imagining the experience and conditions that millions of your West African ancestors  endured. To see the truth of these conditions in person is a powerful reminder of your need to work through that history that resides in you. 

 Reset your body and mind with daily sunrise yoga designed to address the experiences of the day and the activities you will do. 

  • Akwaabaa! Wake up in Ghana and prepare for the day with some African inspired yoga (movement and meditation) to Afro beats;

  • After breakfast, depart for an early drive and embark on a tour of the infamous Forts, Castles, and Slave Dungeons of Ghana;

  • Visits include the Cape Coast Castle built by the Swedes in 1653 and was later taken over by the British.  This castle also houses the West African Historical Museum;

  • After lunch on your own, visit Elmina Castle, and learn about the relationship between the western slave traders and the African tribes that participated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade;

  • Dinner;

  •  Sankofa Sistah-circle™ 

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Nov. 23

Honorary Ghanaian: Living Heritage Ceremony

  • Prepare for the day with some African inspired yoga (movement and meditation) to drumming;

  • After breakfast, depart Accra to visit a beautiful village located on the lower course of the splendid Volta River;

  • You will pay a courtesy call on the chief and elders amidst traditional drumming and dancing by the villagers;

  • The retreat group will participate in a naming ceremony of recognition, where a Ghanaian name is given to each participants;

  • A welcome-home gift is presented as part of celebrating a new identity as a Ghanaian and a member of the local community;

  • Dinner;

  •  Sankofa Sistah-circle™ 

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Nov. 24, 25, 26

 Mole National Park Larabanga Mosque-Tamale

Depart to the airport on October 17 and take an early morning flight from Accra to Tamale. Spend three days and two nights at Zaina's Lodge to experience animals in their natural environment.

 

Each day prepare for the serenity and awe of safari with yoga inspired by African sounds and animals (movement and meditation)

 

Nov.24- Zaina Lodge and Safari- Accra to Tamale

  • Transfer to the national park by plane. 

  •  After lunch enjoy a guided afternoon safari experiencing the   peaceful effects of seeing animals in the wild with no restrictions when in the natural wonder. 

  • The afternoon safari begins at 3:00 pm and lasts for an hour, in order not to disturb the animals. An armed guide in a rental jeep escorts you on this adventure. You have the choice of viewing the animals from the roof of the jeep or from the inside, as most of the rental jeeps have rooftop seating. 

  • Some of the animals that you may see are buffaloes, hyenas, roan antelopes, leopards, elephants and hartebeest. 

  • Dinner

  • Sankofa Sistah-circle™ 

Nov. 25- Zaina Lodge and Safari

  • After breakfast, depart for an early morning safari. The drive safari involves a drive through the park. If you ride on a Jeep, you are likely to see more animals than you would if you were walking, and you would certainly cover a large distance in a shorter space of time. 

  • Animals that you may see on a Day Safari are birds, roan antelopes, hartebeests, kobs, elephants, baboons, warthogs and monkeys. 

  • Enjoy more time in safari or enjoying the luxury of Zaina Lodge. Chose to do a game drive or enjoy relaxing in nature with all Zaina Lodge offers to pamper your senses.

  • Enjoy your final day at the safari with one last game drive and end the day with a Sundowner, a dinner in the outdoors during the breathtaking African sunset and Sankofa Sistah-circle™ with you new tribe of soul sisters. 

Nov.26- Larabanga mosque-Tamale to Accra

 

  • After breakfast, visit the Larabanga Mosque, which is thought to be the oldest mosque in Ghana and West Africa.

  • It is popularly referred to as the ‘Mecca of West Africa’, because of its rich historical and architectural values. 

  • The Larabanga Mosque made it to the World Monuments Fund’s List of 100 Most Endangered Sites. 

  • After this visit, check out of Zaina Lodge and drive to the Tamale airport to fly back to Accra. 

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Nov. 27

Return to Accra: Rest and Reflection

Today you understand why they say that this hotel has the best brunch in Ghana. Spend hours enticing your taste buds with mouthwatering and health-promoting dishes that make you feel loved and nourish.  

 

Reset your body and mind with an introduction to Yoga Nidra, also called the nourishment of sleep. 

  • Spend the day in Accra for a day of rest or visit the markets to test your haggling skills as an honorary Ghanian.

  • Iboga Quantum Leap Ceremony  by the Volta River banks...SANKOFA!  

  • Calabash dinner, Kente ceremony and Sankofa Sistah-circle™

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Nov. 28

FAREWELL– Departure

Today you will tap into your unique bioenergy, your unlocked ancestral messages, and your new found wisdom and prepare to return home with a sacred well of healing that flows within you. 

Prepare your body, mind, and spirit for the plane ride  as well as your re-entry to your home with kundalini yoga (meditation, mudras, mantras, and movement). to correspond to the theme of the day and the activities you will experience. 

  • Breakfast at the hotel. 

  • Enjoy the day at leisure. 

  • Dinner and final preparations for travailing back home.

  • Transfer to the airport to join your homebound flight (flight not included).

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Your Why

You have felt like you are not playing the game of life fully, hovering over who you are without landing on your authentic self, and want to take this journey with a group of soul sistahs so you can return home ready to blaze your trail from tapping into your inner power and convictions.

 

 

You know at your sacred center that the change you seek begins with your own inner work first and you want to go past the threshold. 

Collectively, with the guidance of a heart-centered host and co-facilitators you'll learn to step into your story and not live like an imposter in your own life so you can call all parts of you back and return home reawakened.

 

So, whatever the daily situation you need to navigate, or are looking for a breakthrough that’s trapped inside- then finding time for yourself with the support of wise West Africa and your new group of Soul-Sistas you will find your bountiful joy and set your body and mind free to live in your authentic purpose with unapologetic boldness and a courage that your family and the world will thank you for embracing. 

Beyond the Retreat

​By the end of the retreat, you will have learned:

  • Life-changing culturally relevant African self-care techniques, personalized for your unique mind, body and spirit needs

  • To develop a daily self-care routine informed by African traditions that work for your unique needs

  •  To use a series of health and life-enhancing herbs that support your vitality and health

  • The benefits of sacred stillness, being at one with animals in nature and to consider adding nature-inspired vision walks to your daily self-care routine

  • Several African rituals and ceremonial techniques and their stress reduction benefits

  • To use your primal powers to ignite the "fire in your belly" by learning about your undiscovered potential

  • To tap into your personal power and convictions so you can take those attitudes home with you

  • To stand in own your power, so you can live authentically, boldly and with an unapologetic joy, together with your new network of soul-Sistahs, 

  • That your freedom is a journey and feel equipped to continue on it, feeling that you have taken back what was lost

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What is Included

  • Accommodation at 3 hotels

  • All accommodations as specified in itinerary or similar.

  • Accommodations are at world class hotels in Cotonou Benin, Accra Ghana and Mole National Park, Ghana

  • Retreat experience (heritage and healing workshops, cultural self-care rituals, daily yoga sessions, medicine woman visit, trauma-informed mental health support, Sankofa Sistah-circles ™, Calabash dinner, Sundowner Dinner, Diaspora Goddess initiation,)

  • Guided tours with a professional driver and tour guides for every tour listed on the itinerary.

  • All group transportation and transfers as per itinerary. 

  •  All meals specified on itinerary.

  • Breakfast and Dinner will be provided daily. On most days you will have lunch on your own. Keep in mind that African breakfasts are very heavy.

  • Entrance fees for tours and excursions. 

  • Fees for all tours and excursions specified in the itinerary or ones that are similar.

  • Special guest appearance on last night, it’s a surprise…and will be Am.Azing!

Body Builder

What is not Included

  • Your round-trip airfare or transport from home

  • Alcohol except at Calabash dinner

  • Any additional transport during free time and not related to planned excursions

  • Shopping and additional services, personal snacks, personal food, personal toiletries or items, medical expenses

  • Private one-on-one coaching or consultation on site 

  • Insurance, (personal, medical, travel)

  • International airfafe

  • Departure taxes & fuel surcharges, seat selection

  • Optional Tours not listed on the itinerary 

  • Meals unless listed in itinerary

  •   Tips & Gratuities 

  •  Increase in local tax rates

  • Early check-in & late check out of rooms (standard check-in time is 2pm and check out 10am) 

  • Visa/passport handling fees 

Your Host and Facilitator

Michelle  "Dr. Michelle" Cromwell

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Growing up with the Joie de vivre of a West Indian childhood, I was hardwired to think, speak, and feel a sense of freedom. I always felt the strong pull of my African heritage and traveling to Africa and taking a tribe of my soul-sistahs with me has been my dream. 

 

After almost 20 years as a social science professor and more recently university Vice President, I came to a difficult crossroads in my higher ed career. A light bulb switched on when I started my training to become an Africa destination specialist during a recent travel business owner workshop. I realized that I could use my combined background as a sociology professor, equity worker, and travel business owner to be able to curate and host travel experiences that heal deep ancestral trauma and ignite a joy to reconnect with what was stolen or forgotten.  

 

That is why I'm jumping for joy that you are joining this journey where you will breathe new life into your daily self-care routine using a practice sprinkled with African rituals and ceremony, eating foods that are cooked to nourish the soul, exploring sites and meeting new friends that help you to connect to and unlock your ancestral wisdom, and learning new tools that will awaken your authenticity and boldness so that you can maintain your unapologetic joy regardless of what life throws your way. 

 

My favorite books:  Caste by Isabel Wilkinson and African Goddess Initiation by Abiola Abrams

My favorite ancestors:  Sylvia Cromwell, Zora Neale Hurston, bell hooks, and James Baldwin. 

My favorite song of all times: What about your friends by TLC

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With over 20 years of experience, Selah Love is a dynamic Energy Transformation Coach and Clinical Trauma Specialist, holding a degree in Natural Health with a focus on Chinese Medicine and Energy Work. As a single mother of four, Selah embodies resilience and compassion, qualities that deeply inform her work.

 

Her practice, rooted in the philosophy of "healing the black woman to heal the black community," combines mindset intervention, mind-body-spirit techniques, and tapping into the All and the Divine. Certified in Crystal and Sound Healing and an EFT Practitioner, Selah specializes in identifying and transforming the body’s responses to trauma, guiding clients towards profound mindset and spiritual shifts.

 

Selah’s work extends to organizing full moon ceremonies, creating spaces for communal healing and spiritual growth. Her mission is to empower individuals, especially within the black community, to navigate and overcome their trauma, fostering a legacy of wellness and strength.

Selah Love

Clinical Trauma Specialist/
Energy Transformation Coach