Full: Containing all that is possible; having depth, entirety
Circle: a symbol of centering, completion and the feminine
Retreats: a time of solitude and reflection: a quiet, private or secure place
The Story of Full Circle Retreats
"The story of Full Circle Retreats is an interesting one. On a trip to Ghana about four years ago, I was walking through the Elmina Slave Dungeon with my Mom and my Aunt. In the reception area of the dungeons, there is an artist’s rendition of captured Africans in shackles, on the historical final journey through what is called the door of no return
. Every slave dungeon that dots the coast of West Africa has such a door, constructed in such a way that was too small for any captured African to have returned back the way they’d come, as they were being forcibly removed from their homelands. And it struck me that when any person of African ascent returns to the knowledge and motherland of Africa, we have by our very return come full circle
: How powerful it was to recognize that even the doors of no return cannot keep a people away from our original homes, the place of our original breath!
Given the horrors and trauma of the slave trade and the remnants that still manifest today in the worldwide condition of African peoples, I knew on that day that my work as a teacher had to include creating sacred spaces for all people (regardless of ethnic or cultural heritage) to re – member the healing and cultural legacies of African people, to facilitate the sort of powerful, life-changing sense of purpose that I had on that day in Elmina. And that’s the day that Full Circle Retreats was born."
What We Do
Full Circle Retreats provide custom designed educational, cultural and spirit-focused retreats for individuals and organizations seeking to integrate greater cultural understanding and spirituality into their lives. As Full Circle Retreats take place in the beautiful country of Ghana, West Africa, they provide a life-changing cross cultural and global environment where participants can reach inside themselves – and outward to the wisdom of Africa – to experience inner growth, renewal and a sense of greater meaning and purpose in their lives.
About Cynthia B. Dillard, Your Retreat Facilitator
Cynthia B.Dillard, Ph.D. has extensive experience in Ghana, West Africa. She is enstooled as Nkosua Ohemaa (Queen Mother of Development) in the village of Mpeasem in the Central Region of the country and was given the name Nana Mansa II. There, she built a preschool and is actively engaged in a number of community development projects. Given the success of the preschool, she and her husband are currently building an elementary school in Mpeasem as well! Her future plans include the establishment of the Full Circle Rest and Retreat Center, also in the Central Region of Ghana.
Dr. Dillard is a Professor of Education at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and specializes in the areas of African centered and multicultural education and spirituality in education. A gifted speaker, Dr. Dillard has shared her insights and stories about education, African (American) culture and spirituality at educational meetings, conferences and workshops throughout the world in place as diverse as Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Canada, and Ghana.
She has authored numerous articles and publications and is celebrating her first book, On Spiritual Striving: Transforming an African American Woman’s Academic Life
in July 2006 (SUNY Press
). She is currently working on a second book Living Africa: A Book of Meditations
Dr. Dillard is married to Henry (Kwaku) Oppong, who often assists with the Full Circle Retreats. They currently share their time and life between Columbus, OH and Ghana, West Africa.