A Summer Retreat Experience for Girls!
A symptom . . A cure
A calling . . . A listening
A need . . . . A response
A dream was realized!
And so it is . . . I inhale satisfaction and I exhale gratitude for a summer of transformation and for all those who accompanied me on the iThings 2 Collard Greens journey.Â Lives were forever changed. New friendships were made and old ones rekindled.Â There were breakdowns and breakthroughs.Â Joy and fun was the backdrop for healing. My little girl was attended to in attending to the little girls who heeded our cry.Â We put away the â€œithingsâ€ â€“ the technology, the isolation and the focus on the little â€œiâ€ to step into the south â€“ the land of collard greens â€“ the earth, the garden, the creek and the animals. It is there where we came home to the bigger â€œIâ€ in a retreat back to self.
We did it â€“ 52 little girls in a 6 week camp and 15 young ladies on a one week retreat honoring the legacy of Nannie Helen Burroughs and all those who taught the ways of women.Â We were a collective of mamas and daughters (with a sprinkling of strong babas) on a mission to create a safe and sacred space emphasizing service and sharing the wisdom and traditional teachings of woman all while honoring the divinity in ourselves, each other and the earth.
When iThings 2 Collard Greens converged on Medissage Center in Mount Croghan, SC on August 4th, we brought the spirits of the Grand Mothers. Â Nannie Helen Burroughs, Dorothy Height, Maggie Lena Walker and Mary McLeod Bethune joined forces with the ancestral spirits of Grand Mothers native to that region and together we created â€œGrandmaâ€™s Houseâ€.
At Grandmaâ€™s House, girls return to feel the warmth of the suns we left behind during our great migration from the southern United States to the north.Â Each day begins with giving honor to God in meditation, prayer and devotion.Â In the silence we hear Godâ€™s creations – the gulls as they hit the lake, the rooster crowing, the sheep baaing and the wind rustling in the trees. The soothing music and incense enhance the round meditation space as girls learn to go within and honor each other with Namaste.
After meditation is a walk or run around the lake followed by a hearty breakfast served on the front porch. Morning lessons include the how-toâ€™s of cleaning a kitchen and bathroom, making a bed with â€œhospitalâ€ tucks, preparing green and natural cleaning solutions, sorting laundry and folding sheets and towels while afternoons are devoted to swimming, play, exploration and art!
At Grandmaâ€™s House, girls harvest the garden while chewing freshly picked okra. They snap beans under a Carolina blue sky while watching the cows and horses graze.Â They gather fresh eggs from the chicken coop and put them in the cake theyâ€™ll bake that evening.
At Grandmaâ€™s House, color is everywhere. Hand washed undies hang on the line creating a brilliant patchwork runner with a backdrop of evergreens. Beautiful hula hoops are made using pvc pipe and wrapped in tape the colors of the rainbow. Â The aprons worn during kitchen duty are the girlsâ€™ designs painted in lively patterns with vibrant colors.
At Grandmaâ€™s House there is spa night and movie night.Â We celebrate Christmas and birthdays and cuddle up on the couch to tell stories during an evening storm.Â At Grandmaâ€™s House, we showcase our talents and cheer everyone on.
At Grandmaâ€™s House, we sing songs, say bedtime prayers and perform water ballet in the pool. We paddle boats, take afternoon tea and hold knitting circles. We practice our table etiquette and even dine at downtown restaurants after a delightful museum outing.
At Grandmaâ€™s house, we jump rope, play jacks and swing a tether ball.Â We play board games and ping pong, pull animal cards and discover insights about ourselves.Â We share stories and laugh at silly jokes and totally experience the dynamics of family and community â€“ where God is in the center.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who made the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp and Retreat for girls a rewarding rich experience. To my children, Corcoran and Kasmin, my beloved Baba Senghor, my mentor – Beatrice Davis-Williams, Â my sister – Â Mama Cheryl, Â Mama Zalika, Swami Gyan Kirti and the staff and my many sisterfriends who volunteered all summer I love you and THANK YOU! Â Where would I be without you? Â And to our many donors large and small your contributions made this happen and we are forever appreciative!
Please stay tuned for more updates. We anticipate expanding our program to include an after school program and monthly circles for girls!
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!Â Â NANNIE LIVES!!!