Roots! They are the stories that ground us, the food that connects us, the music that comforts you, and the people who know us. We all have roots that influence us, even if we don’t consciously know them or can’t always access them.

With that said, I would love to reintroduce myself.
My name is Olivia Samuel and I am a Descendant of runaway Enslaved Africans in Suriname, South America.
I was born in Albina the capital of district Marowijne which is the respective town of my late mother. My late father was from Brokopondo district but migrated to Moengo a town in Marowijne when he started working for A bauxite mining and aluminum refining company, SURALCO (owned by the US’s ALCOA).I believe that’s how he met my mother.

While growing up I moved around a lot due to different circumstances, such as the death of my mother. I can imagine living in Marowijne, French Guyana and many different places and neighborhoods in Paramaribo. Even though I learned a lot about my culture and roots as a child somewhere during my journey I got out of touch with my roots and as the years passed by I focused on overcoming all lives struggles, getting a degree, having a great career and becoming the best version of myself spiritually, mentally and physically.

When I look back I am in awe because of all that I have accomplished so far and I am very proud of myself. I am a strong woman for sure…..BUT! At some point during my growth process, I started to get the feeling that something very important was missing. I didn’t know what it was or where to look for it but
I started searching for the missing piece.

“What you seek is seeking YOU! Don’t STOP”

I didn’t take long for me to find it because it was right in front of my nose and everything I got in touch with started pointing in one direction. My roots! Situations, experiences, the people who came into my life, my thoughts and my feelings had something to do with my roots in some unexplainable way. I felt more than ever that I had to reconnect with my roots in order to know myself and stand “fully” in my power and decided to take action.

I started to invest time in learning about the maroon culture and even though I still have a long way to go it feels like an awakening, an amazing experience of my existence, one that I never had before. I am in this beautiful state of spirituality, where I start to realize who I really am.

I will stay in touch with your roots, knowing that that’s the way to stand in my power. To me standing in my power means that I accept myself as I am— My weaknesses and my strengths, past, my actions and my foolish blunders— and my authentic self no matter what anyone else thinks about me.
It means that I honor whatever is really important to me. It means that I know who I am, what I am capable of, and why I make the decisions I make. Nothing can rock my boat or shake the foundation of who I am.

So with that said my message to you is to stay connected to your roots. I am sure that when you know your roots, you will feel a sense of identity that gives you strength to go through life, which is never an easy thing. You will have a feeling of meaning and most of all you will You will stand in your power. Your roots will always remind you of that you are part of a history that defines your past, shapes who you are today and who you are likely to become.

I am proud of my roots and I hope I portrayed the innate strength of women everywhere. Whether you are expressing yourself, selling goods at the local market, being an entrepreneur or supporting your family, you are FIERCE and strong!

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