My host in Awi, Cross River State led me to a community of elderly and middle-aged lecturers who support each other by working out together. I was fascinated by their story so I spoke with their lead coach, and this is his story:
“My name is Dr. Obi Sylvanus, I am the chief coach of the Awi Fitness and Recreation Club. We just want to keep fit, live long and support each. It is true we began as a community of lecturers, but now, more people are joining us outside the academia. We meet every Saturdays. We first gather at the field in the school, then one of our members who is a retired army officer leads us in a march. Then we jog and stretch our bodies. After a few hours of exercising, we gather at a bar to drink and eat, hosted by a member of our club – this is the recreational part of our club. We are more than just a fitness club, we are there for each other, both in sorrow and in joy.
We’ve had a lot of sudden deaths here and there. People will go to bed and they will not wake up, and they will even attribute it to an old man in their village as the cause. But it’s because of the sedentary life they’re living. If you keep your body active and have all your organs working correctly, it will lead to longevity.
Every last Saturday of the month, we go out to the village and sensitize the people on the importance of keeping their body fit.
This is important, because in life, we have to help ourselves”
It’s great to know there are people that have your back. Community is a very important thing. Our race in life may be personal but it doesn’t have to be lonely.
Awi, Cross River (Nigeria).