A recent segment that aired on VICE News Tonight showcases a group of black women participating in a unique 10-day healing retreat in Costa Rica. The Women of Colour Healing retreat is a sacred space that allows black females to hear and see themselves in nature — a space where they can unwind and disconnect from the psychological trauma of systemic racism.
It involves 10 days of mediating, hiking, swimming, practicing yoga, as well as nourishing the body with vegan food — and, it’s 10 days without white people.
“I don’t think we’d be as open and as honest as we are with the group that we’re in now,” one woman admitted when asked if the dynamic would change with white people present. “People are automatically going to have this perception of me before I even open my mouth,” another participant said.
There are more than a dozen black-owned travel groups that market trips toward people a colour, and nearly half told VICE that they’ve seen a spike in interest coinciding with Donald Trump’s election.
Women of Color Healing Retreats & Wellness Garden was created in 2014 by Satya X (also known as Andrea X). Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., she left America to experience life in Central America after losing her job as a health care facilitator. She says she left the United States because she was sick of gentrification, racism and dealing with being a black woman trying to figure it all out there.
“Every time I have a conversation with (white people), I just pick up on certain things that they say, I pick up on the micro-aggressions, the passive aggressiveness, I pick up on it,” she noted in the interview. “So, I decided one day to just eliminate white people from my personal life, and ever since then, my life has been way more breezy.”
Costa Rica changed Satya’s entire life — not only did her spiritual journey blossom, she expanded upon her pan-Afrikan beliefs.
“It was now vital for me to share the experience of being outside of the United States, back in nature with other people of color, growing our own food, healing with the eastern practice of yoga and meditation, connecting with the elements and each other, before colonialism,” Satya noted.
It’s a steep price — the 10-day trip costs about $3,333 USD ($4,222 CAD) — and the retreat is held at a white-owned resort. But Satya and her business partner have partnered with the local community of Cahuita and invested nearly $100,000 of their own money to build their own private retreat space.
“We needed a safe space, that was outside of the United States to hold certain conversations,” she told VICE. “I think that we’re suffering and suffocating and just dying every single day just to survive there.”
When asked if this is motivated by the same hate by white people who want to create white spaces, Satya says it doesn’t have anything to do with that.
“This is about us healing our community.”