Journey to Africa-the Heart of the Motherland

Hello loves,

I recently traveled to Dano, Burkina Faso, in West Africa to visit the land of my grief mentors-Sobonfu Somé and Elder Malidoma Patrice Somé. 

In this blog I begin to share what I learned and I also have new offerings of grief coaching/counseling packages which include my online grief relief course.

Also, I’m doing another round of my Tending the Tenders online support group for therapists and wellness practitioners. We start March 15, 2023.  I’m including the theme of how to be with disenfranchised grief, specifically suicide loss. 

See all info below in “How to work with me.”

Now some gems from Africa… 

Thank you Spirit, Ancestors and Nature for guiding me.

All praise be to the ones who carried me safely there and back.
All praise be to the abundance I had to make the journey.


I’ll be integrating you for a while.

I’ve fallen in love with you and all that you offered me.

Red earth embedded forever in my sandals and the sweet sour taste of the baobab tree fruit still lingers on my tongue.

Beth laying on the Baobab tree

Thank you to the community of Dano-my new mentors, friends and guides.

Thank you to Alwyn Thomas our soulful guide.  
Thank you for your leadership, guidance, and the many teachings on ritual. Thank you for your patience with our delays and detours. 
Thanks for driving us on the red dusty pothole filled roads.

There were many highlights…I will share them slowly, like fat drips of water. 

We met Sobonfu Somé’s family-her brother Francois and her father. 

Wendy Kaas, Francois (Sobonfu’s brother) and Beth

We saw her family compound, and met some of her village. It was an honor to be on the land where she grew up and where she’s now buried. I cried and placed my tears on her grave. 

It opened up my gates of grief for her; I cried for about 30 minutes in the back of the truck on the way to our next destination. I heard her sweet voice say to me, “You haven’t grieved enough for me have you?”  

Laughing with sweet grief, I replied, “No, no I haven’t.”

Sobonfu would always ask, “Have you grieved enough?” 

Wendy and Beth

So I let the grief come. I cried, sobbed, and laughed and cried some more. Now when the grief waves come, I just allow it to come out fully. Sobonfu taught me well—to clean out the pipes of grief. 

I didn’t know I had to travel half way across the world to clean out my pipes of grief. 

Her father was so grateful for our visit. As a thank you, he gifted us a live chicken! And he said, “If we had known you were coming, we would have given you a goat.” 

We drove all the way back to town with a chicken. It clucked each time we hit a bump in the road. It was a duet of chicken clucks and my griefy sounds. It was perfection and just what I needed. 

I am grateful beyond words.

Our friend Ourmorou & the chicken

Last year I gave 13 cowry shell divinations and I vowed to give back $25 from each one to the village of Dano. 

$200 was given to Elder Malidoma’s family to buy a water pump, generator and irrigation tubing. This will help them to water their moringa trees and other crops. 

Irrigation tubing, generator & pump

And the rest was given to any woman I saw on the compound working. 

One elder woman was so overjoyed when I shook her hand and gave her what to me seems like a small amount of money, but to her was a huge gift. She immediately replied, “Barka.” (Thank you in Dagara).

She then grabbed my bag I was carrying. I was startled and confused; I thought she was stealing it. But then I realized because of her beautiful smile that she was immediately giving back to me…you see there’s a natural law that exists there-if you receive, you give back, you do not receive and not give something in return. 

It’s not abundance if you don’t give it away.

That moment is etched in my heart forever. Now any time I am given something, I do or give something to show my gratitude.

Thank you to all of you who gave to me in exchange for a divination. You helped the village of Dano.

I will continue this practice of giving back for each divination given. Reach out if you’d like one soon. 

I’m honoring my trip by taking time to integrate all that happened.

I received the message to slow down and play with words, so I’ll end with this…

Journey to Africa-the heart of the motherland.

A call to go.  
Many pauses along the way.
Start. Stop, go, start again. 
It’s near groundhogs day after all.
Spirit asks-do you really want this?
I’m tested already.

Many detours and bumpy roads.
Potholes yell, “Slow down you Westerner!”

Open to mystery, feet planted in red earth.

Crickets sing, mosquitos quietly sting. 
A bed of thick black chicken feathers clings to my feet.

Donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, guinea hens, and dogs run free.

And even the trees are in community!

Starry skies at night with new moon growing. 
Constellations slightly skewed because I’m half way across the world. 
New views above and within. 
Change in my veins

My growth too, this newness 
Liminal space like cocoon goo.

Africa the bridge between what was and what’s next.

Doors opening now and doors gently shutting or slamming behind me. I can’t look back. I stand tall and pivot. Ants crawl up my legs.

This trip uncomfortable yet sleep like a baby with big long dreams. 
The maternal side coming through with fishnet stockings and throw out high heels.

Stand tall they said. Stand tall like a mountain. Be seen.

Ancestor mountain. Speak to us there. Speak your prayers and your longings. 
We want to hear what aches your heart.

Pökk, danke, tack så mycket.
Foreldra, foreldra.

Ancestor speak. Learn your language. Our languages.
Come and lay down and whisper your desires, your prayers. We are eager to hear you.
Open your heart wide to the waterfall; clear and reconcile that which you no longer need.

Let spirit fill you.
Hello earth, yellow ochre and terra cotta soil, dirt etched into my footprints and embedded under fingernails still.
Africa is part of me now.

Feet sink deep in thick red mud
While head is in the dark cave filled with bats.