The second installment of the AfroBotho Mindfulness Retreat took place from the 4th – 6th May 2018. The event was attended by people from all walks of life; these included participants from Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and South Africa. This was an inspiring and empowering exploratory journey – even if only for weekend.
The first episode of AfroBotho’s Mindfulness Retreat was held last year at around the same time. Those who attend these retreats do so for various reasons, and usually the common thread among them is to simply take time out to refresh, rejuvenate, and replenish – which is the overall goal of the organisers.
Dr. Didi Biorn and MotherK Masire, co-founders of AfroBotho and organisers of this growing Mindfulness Retreat, are currently constructing a retreat camp in Boronyana ward, Maun.
Upon the completion of this project, they will then be able to host retreats more frequently as well as other emotional and mental wellbeing programmes.
“The point of the retreat was to put energy in our space, and every three months there is so much that happens in one’s life; the point was to relax, recharge, and realign,” MotherK stated.
“This event was low-activity based but high impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing; we didn’t want people to do so much that they feel like they went to work. I got the participants to just be, for a change, which was the most difficult thing for most of them – they are so used to doing stuff.”
Participants came to the retreat simply to learn more about mindfulness, what it is, and how it can benefit them in their lives while some came because they wanted to recharge. All participants echoed in unison how they are challenged to find time to just be and focus on themselves.
Mindfulness activities, such as yoga, meditation, mindful eating and journaling, were in the itinerary for the weekend. The Mindfulness activities were facilitated by MotherK, who’s a Mindfulness Coach.
Since most of the participants were meeting for the first time, the facilitators worked to create a safe space for each participant, and this took place almost organically. Dr. Didi led the Fire Circle, where people had the opportunity to really become vulnerable and share with each other. “There’s something about fire,” Dr. Didi explained, “You can see the circle of life…for me, the fire represented a safe space because warmth cocoons you…there was a lot of sighing, laughing, crying, and a lot of ‘Aha!’ moments. You find answers at the fire; I find my answers at the fire.” There was a great sense of the fact that people are not only interested in more activities of this kind, but are undoubtedly hungry for them.
MotherK’s favourite moment of the retreat was day two when they were at the AfroBotho farm and participants were given time to find a spot where they could sit and journal things they were grateful for. Following that exercise, everyone was supposed to reconvene in one place. “But the way everyone was so relaxed and the look on their faces was undeniably refreshed and in a place of peace, and they couldn’t even get up,” MotherK joyfully shared. “That was the most beautiful thing, seeing them so relaxed and not being engaged in anything in particular. I thought, ‘Yes, that’s the point of the retreat, getting people to just be,’” she says.
Another goal was to arm participants with skills on how to use what they have learnt and gained on a daily basis.
“Each participant (was provided) with tools and encouragement to go away from the retreat equipped to face the challenges that we face on a daily basis by being mindful, (and) being in the moment,” said Michelle Wessels, who attended the retreat.
AfroBotho also facilitates Mindfulness Retreats for all male groups, and all female groups, and also for couples and carry out private programmes for corporates.