The Blueprint Ghana experience was intentionally designed to facilitate self-discovery, healing and growth for people of the African Diaspora. In this 9 day experience, we seek to discover our true selves, ask ourselves ‘who are we and whose are we?’, and experience the liberating feeling of a naming ceremony.
In this episode, I share how this trip to Ghana will allow you to:
- Embark on a transformative healing journey tailored specifically for people of the African Diaspora.
- Delve into your ancestral roots and identity by immersing yourself in local Ghanaian business and culture.
- Engage in carefully curated experiences that foster deep and authentic relationships with locals.
- Break free from the monotonous daily grind of your work to empower personal growth and self-discovery.
- Feed your curiosity by broadening your horizons and learning from diverse global viewpoints.
What You’ll Learn On This Episode:
00:00:00 – Introduction,
Asha Wilkerson, introduces the podcast episode, which is focused on her upcoming trip to Ghana designed for the African Diaspora. She provides an overview of the intentionality behind the trip, which is aimed at creating a safe space for individuals to explore their roots and grow.
00:02:03 – The Story Behind Planning the Trip,
Asha describes how her first trip to Ghana with her school sparked the idea of creating an intentional journey for the African Diaspora. She met Tetthe, who is now her partner in planning the trip, and they both believe that understanding one’s roots and identity is critical to the liberation of Black individuals worldwide.
00:06:12 – Facilitating Connection with Ghana,
Asha shares that the trip is designed to facilitate connection with Ghanaian culture and people, as well as nature. The accommodations are locally owned and operated, allowing for genuine connections with staff and owners. Participants will have opportunities to hike, explore national parks, and limit wifi usage to disconnect from the daily grind and be present in the experience.
00:10:20 – Moving Together as a Healing Circle,
Asha explains that participants will be moving from place to place together on one bus to create a healing circle. This will allow individuals to connect with each other and create a safe space for growth and healing. The purpose of the trip is to help individuals connect with their ancestors, identity, and the larger Pan-African community while feeling free to be themselves.
00:14:27 – The Beauty of Being Named in Ghana,
Asha shares how being named in a culture that wants you to succeed and knows that you are your ancestors returned to the same spot is a beautiful experience. By being a part of this new community, you will always have people to reach back to, to help you grow and transform.
00:15:01 – Curating the Trip to Ghana,
Asha explains how the trip to Ghana has been intentionally curated with participants in mind. It is a transformative experience that allows participants to learn and grow.
00:15:29 – Being Curious,
Asha encourages participants to stay open and curious during the trip. Instead of comparing Ghana to the United States, be curious and ask why things are done a certain way. There is more than one way to do something and the trip allows participants to learn and experience this.
00:15:48 – Traveling Abroad,
Asha shares how traveling abroad has taught her that there is more than one way to do something and that a number of people throughout the world are much happier than Americans. She encourages participants to experience joy and healing during the trip and bring their friends and family.
00:16:15 – Connect with Asha,
Asha invites listeners to connect with her through the Show Notes to find out more about the trip to Ghana and how she can help align their business and life as a coach.
Connect With Us:
Connect with me further on Instagram @ashawilkersonesq
00:00 You’re listening to Transcend the podcast. I’m Asha Wilkerson, a business coach helping service based entrepreneurs align their business goals with their personal goals to create a life they want to show up for. I will show you how to drop the expectations, thoughts and beliefs that weigh you down as a woman of color entrepreneur so you can create and walk your own path with success, confidence, and joy.
00:29 Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the podcast. I’m really, really happy that you are here. Delighted to talk to you a little bit more about Ghana. As you’ve noticed, I’ve been talking a lot about Ghana recently because I am planning a trip that I am inviting you to.
00:44 If you are part of the African Diaspora, we will be there from August 4 through August 13. And today I’m going to tell you a little bit about the intentionality that went into planning the trip. So my first experience in Ghana happened in September 2022. I don’t know why I really had to think about that date. It wasn’t that long ago, it was just last year, but September 2022 and I went with my school, American River College.
01:14 Grateful to them for creating this experience for us as Black educators or educators of Black students. And I had a really, really good time. This conference was more about education and less about connecting and homecoming and personal and growth work. But on that trip, I got to meet a fantastic leader and guide named me Tetteh, who is now my current partner as I am planning this trip for you. And what sparked my decision to connect with him, to plan a trip specifically for healing and homecoming and learning and nurturing and growth and all of those wonderful things was at the end of our school trip, he said, I wish I had a little bit more time.
02:03 I said, what would you do with the extra time? He said, I would have created a situation and taken us through a healing ceremony where we ask ourselves, who are we? And we begin to strip off these identities to get down to who we are at the core, at our essence. Who are we? Whose are we?
02:23 And what is the plan for us? And that really, really resonated with me. I’ve been on a really strong, really committed, self growth, personal development journey for the last couple of years, and I loved what Tetteh said about that. And so I decided to connect with him, start the conversation to see whether or not we could co create an experience for Diaspora folks. Now, Tetteh is not just a tour guide.
02:48 He loves doing research and is a researcher in anthropology. He’s also connected to the art scene. He’s a yogini. He practices yoga on a regular basis, very mindful meditates all the time and is just someone who has really studied people, has studied African people, has studied people in the world and believes that our liberation as black folks worldwide is tied into knowing who we are and how we were created to be, which then sparked our experience. The Blueprint Ghana.
03:22 Now, this is not just an IG experience. There is a time and a place to go on trips that are just going to be great for your instagram. I believe in that. I believe sometimes you just need that kind of a break. But this is not that kind of experience.
03:37 This is really an experience that is created intentionally to help you connect to your ancestors, connect to the earth, and connect to yourself as an individual so you can decide how you want to move forward in this world with the support of your ancestors and the support of the larger Pan African community and Ghanaian community at your back. So we have totally planned it that way, and we are committed to your growth and development as well. Another reason why I decided to create an experience like this. And I wasn’t initially planning on Ghana. I was just planning in my head, thinking about different places that I could do retreats, but then landed on Ghana.
04:18 And Ghana felt right to be the first place for me because I realized somewhere over the years that there’s so many spaces and places that we, as particularly African American people, have to fit into. People of color in general, but particularly African American people have to fit into. I remember graduating law school and thinking, well, if I wear braids to work, what’s going to happen? If my hair gets poofy because there’s humidity, what’s going to happen? Can I be natural?
04:48 Do I need to wear a suit every day? Because that’s the culture. Can I wear a bright colored shirt? I have on a bright pink shirt today. Can I wear that?
04:57 Will that be acceptable? Or do I need to stick to navy blue and khaki and white? How do I fit into these spaces? I’m constantly thinking about that, whether that is consciously or subconsciously, there is always something that is curtailing my behavior, curtailing my speech, that’s curtailing my reactions, right? Because I’m not allowed we’re not allowed to be too expressive lest it come across angry.
05:24 We’re not allowed to be indignant when there’s an injustice that happens, lest we come across ungrateful. Where are we allowed to just be in spaces? And that comes when we are in spaces where we are surrounded by people who look like us, who are similar to us, who understand where we’re coming from, so that every reaction we have is not an affront to the dominant culture. So that is part of the reason why we are doing a Pan African Diaspora only trip to Ghana, so that we can have this curated, this safe space for us to explore and express and ask questions and to grow and to heal together. So we’re very intentional about that.
06:12 What if we could just be free. That’s what I kept thinking. What if I could just be free? But how do I even know what freedom is? Because so many of the rules and regulations have not only been passed down by dominant culture, but have also been passed down by people in my own family trying to keep me safe.
06:30 So what is it that I am actually supposed to be thinking? How is it that I’m actually supposed to be acting? Who am I actually supposed to be? And that’s what we’re going to start to figure out on this journey together to Ghana. So how are we going to facilitate your connection to the people and the places in Ghana?
06:54 Well, we have particularly chosen hotels that are locally owned and operated, and what that means is that there is a personal commitment and investment from the folks who are working at the hotels, from the folks who own the hotels to get to know us as individuals. And I challenge you to also get to know the staff and the owners and the people in the surrounding areas as individuals as well. Be curious. Ask them how they came to their jobs. Ask them what their schooling was like.
07:23 Ask them what their hopes and dreams are. Just really start to dissolve that barrier of traveler and host and start to connect on a real human, individual level. When we did that. Not all of us did that in September, but those of us that did that really, actually got to talk to. People were just so blessed by understanding a little bit more about the culture, the journeys that people had, the kids that they’re raising, their hopes and dreams for their children, their hopes and dreams for themselves.
07:54 And it was a really, really rich experience, definitely, for us as the visitors, and I would like to think so for our hosts that took care of us while we were there as well. In addition, we have created opportunities for you to connect with nature. So in one location, we’ll be staying in Lake Volta, which is in the mountainous region of Ghana. And so there’s a big, beautiful lake that’s there, but then we’ll also have opportunities to go hiking. And I think I mentioned it in another podcast now, or maybe I didn’t, but I’m going to tell you again.
08:23 I, a couple of weeks ago was talking to somebody about their experience in the Boy Scouts, and one of the things he said he had to do was hike through the Sierra Nevadas for four days and said, oh, no, when I talk about hiking, I don’t want to do any of that. I don’t want to have to use sticks, and I don’t want to have to carry a water bottle. Okay? So what I really mean is I want to go for a walk in the woods, not hiking. So as we are quote unquote, hiking in Ghana, it’ll really be a walk through the woods.
08:49 Not hiking where we need additional supplies, but just being in nature. Some people call it forest bathing. When you’re just around the trees and soaking it in has a powerful healing quality to it, starts to lower your blood pressure, starts to regulate your heart rate. You start to calm down because trees and plants are super healing. And it’s a really powerful experience just to take a walk.
09:15 Every time I notice that I go home to Portland, Oregon and look outside and see the green trees, I’m so much more calm than when I’m in my apartment in Oakland and looking outside at the street and listening to all the cars that are going by. So we’ll have an opportunity to do some hiking in nature. We’ll also go to a national park in Ghana just to experience something other than concrete walls that we might be used to here in the United States. We will also have limited access to WiFi. And I know that that might sound scary, but it’ll be a beautiful break.
09:46 And where we will have limited access to WiFi is really at the beach. And when we’re staying at a beachfront property that’s also locally owned and operated. But what I mean by limited access is that it doesn’t connect that well in the rooms, but it connects very well at the beachfront bar. So it’ll be a great opportunity to disconnect from the day to day grind. Don’t expect to be doing work while you’re there.
10:11 You might check in, check some emails and things like that, but please really try and disconnect as much as possible so you can be present for the experience. Now, I have not had a TV for probably seven or eight years at this point. And when I first got rid of the TV, I felt like, oh my gosh, what am I going to do? I started watching Netflix and all that stuff on my iPad or on my computer, and then now I barely watch it at all. When you start to move some of those things out of your life, you start to make room for other things, other thoughts to come up, other ideas to come up.
10:45 I do a lot more writing, a lot more reading, because I’m not distracted by I’ve always have WiFi, but I’m not distracted by the shows that I’m not watching anymore. So take this opportunity to disconnect, really go deep, and maybe just to sit, maybe you just need some quiet space. This will be a great opportunity to do that as well. We will also be moving from place to place together on one bus so we’ll all be together for transportation unless we decide to go off and do something at night. We can take different Ubers and things like that.
11:17 But the purpose of being together is to create this healing circle together and to give ourselves opportunities to process and to decompress and to share stories and laughter and joy together with each other. We don’t get these experiences often in the United States. One, because we’re busy working, and two, because we’ve got families to take care of, and three, because most of us aren’t working in predominantly black environments to be able to just process what’s going on throughout the day. So we wanted to make sure that we stay together as a group. Not to say that you won’t have your own alone time and spaces to process individually, but we are really creating sort of a mobile healing circle because we will be moving from place to place with each other.
12:04 And I’ve traveled a lot by myself, gone to a lot of places by myself, but I have had the most transformational experiences or really beneficial experiences when I’ve been able to share them with other people, with my friends and family. So we’ll be creating a new family. Maybe you’re bringing your friends and your family with you, but we will sort of process together, create this healing circle together, which will be of great benefit to all of us. I was going to say one of the last connection points, but it won’t necessarily be the last, but the last main point that I’ll talk to you about today in terms of connection and intentionality is participating in a naming ceremony in Ghana. Now, as Tetteh explained it, if somebody has children, even if they’ve never met them, or they lost contact with them, or they didn’t know that they had a child somewhere, even if that child is abroad when that child comes Home to Ghana and Comes To Their Community and Says, hey, I Am The daughter or The Son or The Child of So and So.
13:02 That community immediately wraps that person in their arms and welcomes them home and names them as if they would have been born within the community. It’s a symbolic way of saying, you are here, you are a part of us. We embrace you and we love you. Now we will be getting the experience, the awesome invitation to be named in Ghana. So we will have a Ghanaian name according to the tribe that names us, that has a meaning that we can carry with us into the future.
13:33 This is a beautiful point of connection, especially because I feel like oftentimes as African Americans or maybe diaspora folks, we don’t exactly know which country we came from, we don’t exactly know which tribe we have come from. And so to be able to have a community of folks welcome us home and welcome us into their family is a really beautiful opportunity. You can take it as far as you want. I know plenty of people have changed their names after they have had an experience like that. I’m not suggesting that you change.
14:05 I’m not suggesting that you do anything but what feels right for you. But I will say, having witnessed a naming ceremony before. It is extremely powerful and just liberating. It’s like, I have a new identity because most of us have very Western names anyway, very Western and Anglo names that we have been named. And so we are taking on the identity of that name.
14:30 But to be named in a culture that really wants you here and wants you to succeed and wants you to know that you are your ancestors returned to that very same spot, or at least that have passed through those same doors, it’s incredibly beautiful. And by being a part of this new community, you will always have people to reach back to, to go back and visit, to contact, to help you grow, or you can just store it in your memory bank as an experience that was transformational for you. So that’s how we have intentionally curated this trip to Ghana. That’s how the trip has come about. I hope that you know that we have designed it exactly with you in mind, and we want to see you in August.
15:14 My advice to you or my I guess it’s advice yeah, my advice to you is to stay open, to be curious. You’re naturally going to want to compare what it’s like in Ghana versus what it’s like in the United States, which totally makes sense, because that’s what you know. But be curious. Instead of saying, oh, why do they do it that way? Go, oh, why is it done that way?
15:36 What can I learn from this experience? What I learned from traveling abroad is that America does a really good job of telling Americans that we’re the best, the biggest, the brightest, the baddest, that we know the right way to do it. And everybody else was falling behind. When I started traveling, I very quickly realized that there is more than one way to do something, more than one way to get it done, more than one way to live, and that a number of people throughout the world are arguably much happier than Americans are. So come with us.
16:05 Be curious. Experience some joy, experience some healing. Bring your friends and family, and let’s do this thing. To connect with me, go to the link in the Show Notes. You can find out more information about the trip.
16:17 So I hope to see you there and talk to you soon. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to hear more on how you can align your business and your life with me as a coach, head to the Show Notes and sign up for the email list. See you next week.
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