My name is Karlene Thompson. I was born and raised in Jamaica. I moved to the US in my 20's which was a big culture shock for me but I finally adjusted after more than 20 years. I love to travel and did so a lot in my single days. After marriage, divorce and a long custody battle I was still standing as a single Mom of two Wonderful boys and loads of debt. I say that not as a victim but as a warrior of the struggle and to let you know that you are not alone. My mother had been asking me for years to move to Africa with the children so at this particular time in my life the time seemed right. I sold all I possessed, which covered a lot of my debt, and moved to Liberia. While there I used my skills as a personal trainer and hit the ground running. I also home schooled my boys during that time until now. Moving was not as big a change for me as I thought it would be. After living in Jamaica, this was a breeze and my boys were still young enough to adjust to the changes.
You may have asked the obvious question, “Why did your Mom say come to Africa to live?” My mother, growing up poor in Jamaica, had the vision of having a big house with all her grand kids (I finally had two) running around inside and out. She loves to travel, just like me, and in her travels landed in Ghana and decided that this was where she would build her house and retire. This house has taken over 9 (yes 9) years to build. It was designed by my mother and she oversaw every detail herself. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears and, yes money to complete. It was made to be filled with family and love. When I first saw it, I had no intention or plans to move there. But that’s life for you. The house is now complete and we moved here over a year ago and are totally loving it. We have had friends and family come to visit us and each and everyone has been inspired by the environment and have had some kind of “Ah Ha moment”. Living in Africa, experiencing village life and going through the ups and downs of adjusting to a new way of living makes you have a greater appreciation for life, family and all that is important.
Being a single mom of boys and being very aware of the environment of violence and racism that America has for our black boys, I want to protect them and have them experience something different. I wish that everyone I know could be here with us. But if I can’t have that, then I want them to come visit and experience life here in Africa. I want my boys to appreciate the difficulties and the hardships of Africa and learn resilience from it. I want them to enjoy the beauty and majesty that is part of their heritage. I want them to live and experience it for themselves and not to be told or read about it in a book. I want them to have the Wakanda moments we saw in Black Panther. But there is no structured program to make that happen. There was a group of women here who conducted a rites of passage ceremony for girls but when I inquired about something similar for boys, there was nothing. So with what I have at my disposal, I ventured to fill this need for my boys. I want to also extend this to as many people as possible, boys especially.
The Prince to King Summer program was birthed from these desires, initially from my mother and now I have taken the baton and hope to carry it all the way home.
The Prince to King program was created for male youths with absent fathers and those which lack a positive male role model. But all black and brown boys are welcome (Akwaaba!!). Prince to King is a time for boys to learn African history, culture and traditions.
The Prince to King program will be held on our location at Tchambassi Retreat which is located in the village of Kpungonor. This is about a 2 hour drive from the capital city of Accra. It is located on a three and a half acres of land right on of the Atlantic Sea with beaches stretching for miles on either side. The Princes will be partnered with another prince who he will work with to complete assigned tasks. Princes will be given an African country to research before arrival. This will become the name of their teams. They will also make a presentation on the assigned African country and a selected African Leader during the Farewell Dinner. Day 1 will start with a Naming Ceremony and boys will be given their African names which will be used throughout their time at camp. They will be measured on Day 1 and given custom-made outfits at the Farewell Dinner where they will present a Personal Statement which they would have been preparing during their free time. During the Farewell Dinner awards will be given to Princes for the Jewels they have acquired during camp. The process will end with a “Rites of Passage” ceremony.
Activities will include:
Visits to Historic Sites
African Diaspora History
Hiking and Fitness
And many more...
The goal of this program is to present Princes and eventually Kings who are more confident, self-assured and proud to be black and Africans. They will be able to stand tall, speak boldly and present themselves as out-spoken leaders. Come share in the transformation that will take place and see it for yourself. Welcome to Prince to King 2020