The goal of every Vitality Culinary Retreat: An Ancestral Awakening curated by Zella Palmer is to create a sacred community with those who, like you, crave evolutionary and healing experiences.
Join us in 2022 for Thanksgiving in Morocco! November 20-28, 2022 for a powerful life-enriching, restorative retreat that blends relaxation, gratitude, yoga, spiritual healing, soulful dining and manifestation practices in the most serene environment with new and lifelong friends.
Something powerful happens when we break bread together and we give thanks. You are a LIGHT BEARER! It is time to rejuvenate in seclusion, sanctity, and in the safety of the Sahara desert in Morocco.
Here is my WHY I am curating this experience to Morocco?
2020 COVID hit. I was like many of you worried about my parents who were quarantined without me, feeling deep sadness for the state of our world and an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we survived. It was March 2020 when my best friend Comfort and I were in Atlanta for a much-needed girls' trip to catch up since she repatriated back to Abuja, Nigeria. We just knew that the media was overexaggerating and we promised to see each other soon before I headed back to New Orleans and she headed back to Canada to see her Dad. I called my parents to make sure they were alright in Chicago. EVERYTHING shut down real quick.
During our daily COVID calls, Comfort told me about this amazing goddess she met in Bali. Comfort said enthusiastically, “Zella you and Tanesha will hit it off, I know you both will have great synergy!” Comfort introduced me to this trailblazer in travel, Tanesha Barnes, Founder of Mwasi Global Community. You ever met someone that you know you have met in a previous life?
Tanesha invited me to come to Morocco and to test the waters before I curated my own trip. I usually hate group trips because I am a nomad by birth. I have lived and traveled to so many destinations thanks to the OG global alchemists, my parents! Besides, I usually hate group trips, you know those touristy, low vibrational energy travelers and Lawd Jesus somebody get me off of this charter bus? But I took a chance and got on that plane to Marrakesh! PCR Negative!!!!! Won’t he do it! I was still holding on to my anti-group trip and stayed at my girl who is Moroccan but lives in New Orleans family home in Marakkesh. Pride and ego, smh. Sis let it goooooo. Tanesha said, “Ok suit yourself. You could be at this luxurious riad with us.”
I finally relented and met up with all of the Mwasi Global Community. Babyyyy when I tell you, I found my soul tribe in this grown womban 40+ body. The most magical trip of my life! Mwasi Global Community, I didn’t know I needed you but my ancestors knew. There I was cooking, dancing, chopping it up with a fellow Chef Ashley from Philly and sharing a universal language with Moroccans that people of African & Indigenous origin understand anywhere in the world. And then….I found out that my Dad was sick. It’s strange because I was feeling something wasn’t right in my womb but I thought it was the anxiety from COVID and traveling. I couldn’t get a flight back, flights were scarce and limited. Europe was even closing their border. My whole body and mind was tense. Tanesha and my new friend and Sister in Spirit and Christ Reverend Tisha Williams who was in Morocco with me did what we as black women do, we pray and we lay hands on each other.
The next day we went to the Sahara Desert, rode a camel to the camp (remind me to ask you ladies how was your camel ride after our trek to the Sahara. Inside joke). Here we were, the Mwasi Global Community-5 African Americans, 1 Nigerian, 1 Russian, rolling deep with Moroccan + Afro-Nomadic Tuareg extended family of our host Tanesha. That night under the most beautiful stars my human eyes have ever seen, we sang, laughed, danced, drummed, ate traditional Tuareg cuisine, cooked in the sand under the brightest stars and galaxy I have ever seen in this lifetime. I was filled with gratitude for this experience. I knew that no matter what was awaiting me at home, I had released the weight I had been carrying during COVID and even before that.
The next morning I realized, I woke up in the SAHARA DESERT!!! The sand felt like soft powdered sugar that blew in the wind. I woke up with a peace I hadn’t felt since my Daddy would tuck me in at night and ask me, “Are you warm enough baby?” The stars were my grandmother’s quilt and I was reminded that my ancestors always walk with me! Maferefun Olodumare, Maferefun Oshun, Maferefun Chango!
They knew I needed to sit in the Sahara Desert and have the calm that I needed to return to my father’s bedside and spend the next few months by his bedside until he passed. I learned so many lessons in the Sahara from the Mwasi Global Community about life, to remove worries and put it in God’s hands. Inshallah! My Daddy’s final words before he left this earth was to LIVE and to remember him, so I invite you to LIVE and join me on this curated ancestral culinary experience to Morocco during the week of Thanksgiving, November 20-28, 2022. If COVID taught us anything it taught us that life is precious and a gift. We MUST enjoy the moments, heal and travel to destinations that allow us the capacity to release and BE!
We Nourish You
We Feed You
Healing Your Body & Soul
Herbs, Warming Spices and Ancestral Rituals
See you soon! Inshallah
Who is Zella Palmer?
Zella Palmer, author, professor, filmmaker, curator and scholar is the Chair and Director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture in New Orleans, Louisiana. Palmer is committed to documenting and preserving the legacy African American, Latinx, Creole, and Indigenous culinary history. As the Chair of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program, Palmer filmed and produced the Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot documentary and the Legacies of American Slavery: Food, Music & Tourism film series. In 2014, Palmer launched the Dr. Rudy Joseph Lombard: Black Hand in the Pot Lecture Series that invited guest speakers such as Dr. Howard Conyers, a NASA rocket scientist, barbecue pitmaster from South Carolina and Kingsford Charcoal ‘Preserve the Pit’ ambassador. In 2020, under Palmer’s leadership, Dillard University launched a Food Studies Minor, 1 of 2 accredited academic Food Studies programs at a (HBCU) Historically Black College & University.
In the fall of 2016, Palmer and her students filmed and produced the documentary The Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot about the history and contributions of the world-famous New Orleans Creole Cuisine. She also is the author of three books and many articles. Her latest publication, Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard: 1869-2019 shares archival recipes and stories from Dillard University. In 2016, she was guest speaker for NYU Food Studies, Nicholls State University, and Maryville University. Palmer serves on the board of Hermann Grima +Gallier Historic Houses, James Beard Black & Indigenous Fund Committee and she is a judge for the 2022 James Beard Restaurant & Chef Awards.
Palmer’s research and articles appeared in the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Cultural Vistas (64 Parishes), Essence Magazine and For the Culture magazine. In 2019, Palmer performed as Nellie Murray, a 19th century New Orleans Creole caterer for La Cocina in San Francisco, California. Nellie Murray was the most sought after caterer in nineteenth century New Orleans, the Leah Chase of the era. Palmer and a group of prestigious New Orleans women curated the Nellie Murray Feast in 2016 which raised funds for the Leah Chase documentary and the Dillard University Ray Charles Program. Palmer received the 2018 ‘Cultural Bearer Award’ from the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, 2020 New Orleans Magazine ‘People To Watch’ and 2022 Dine Diaspora Black Women in Food ‘Trailblazer’ Honoree..