A 349 year journey culminated in a massive homecoming! Tenk GAWD fa we Bajan Famlee! Thousands of people tuned in online via Facebook and Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) to view my first steps onto the island of Barbados which were dance steps:
Mudda Sally gladdee mi bin dey dey wid she! Mi bin gladdee fa shum tuh!
Proudly the Tuk Band played to welcome the Gullah/Geechee Nation delegation officially back home. Prior to us getting to them, numerous people that were working on the plane and in the airport wanted to know if we were going to a wedding given that we were all dressed in my official color. However, Consul General Neval Greenidge quickly and proudly let the folks in Florida and aboard the airline know that these are special guests of the island of Barbados because they are the first official delegation of Gullah/Geechees to return to the island since their ancestors has been taken to the Carolinas to be enslaved there. Everyone that heard this smiled and nodded and wish us well on our journey. When we arrived at night fall to the sound of drums that could be heard before we got out of the door, we knew that the delay was not a denial. The journey was already blessed!
No doubt when our ancestors left this island, they didn’t leave with such fan fare. However, the Barbados Ministry of Tourism, Inc. (BTMI) and the Counsel General would have our return home be no other way. The journey of reconnection during the International Decade of People of African Descent would not be complete without the drums.
This journey also would not be complete without honoring our ancestors that suffered due to the crime against humanity that dispersed us all from Mother Africa onto these various islands of the world scattered throughout the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. So, we made a journey to the Newton Plantation which is still a sugar cane plantation. The entire Pan Africanist Community of Barbados was represented as we processed to the African Burial Ground that sits in the midst of a yet functioning field that has recently been harvested. The Crop Over Celebration was taking place, but the name didn’t totally resonate in my soul until we drove pass miles and miles of fields that had been harvested and I could see small plants yet making their way out of the ground to be ready for the next harvest.
The power of walking through the field to reach where the ancestors were laid to rest without any headstones to denote that there are there cannot be described in words. It has to be felt. I felt them walking with me as I proceeded onward toward where the drum was playing and the people had paused to take in the sacred space. In my spirit, the harvest was not ended because we had traveled all these miles to harvest the power and strength of our ancestors and replant those seeds of freedom in the mind and souls of our people yet toiling on this ancestral soil called “Barbados.”
As the family processed together up the hill at Newton there was a heavy weight that felt like we were carrying burdens and that many in the group were bound. Even as the libation ceremony went on, this energy wasn’t changing. There was tension and confusion and pain that was in the midst. This led the Spirit to have me ask the question,
“When the libation comes, will anyone call your name? Will anyone draw or pull up a picture of you and if they do, will they call you a freedom fighter or will they bury you here at the slave burial ground?”
This question was crucial because so many seem to still be bound by believing that which those that had enslaved us and had torn our family apart had taught them. It was now time for that to be buried and for our people to heal and be united and not divided by water nor island names. We are ONE!
I was led by the Spirit to conduct a healing ceremony and I laid hands on each person in the circle and gave each a personal message. I am thankful that many of them not only told me at the end of the evening that I was on point when it came to what I said, but many have written me since then to say the same. I am thankful to have been a vessel that could pour out healing and power where my ancestors had poured out blood, sweat and tears.
The circle that came together for healing in Barbados continued as the circle united at Mosquito Beach on Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day and we stood on land that our people still own and fight to maintain. Once again the Spirit led me to not only teach about the laws that were set against us gathering together and against us owning land, but also to make it abundantly clear that we cannot allow others to disrespect us. People believe that they can because
if we don’t respect us, other people won’t respect us!
Anyone that has his or her spirit in tact and properly aligned with GOD has to respect people that remain united in spite of all the things that have come to tear them apart and make them feel low. We have been able to hold up one another and remain united because for many of the Gullah/Geehee Bajan Famlee our circle remains unbroken! Tenk GAWD! Asé!