Mental and Physical Health, through the eyes of Africa

This past summer I was given the opportunity of a lifetime when I was able to travel to West Africa for two weeks. I traveled the country of Burkina Faso meeting people, helping people, visiting orphanages, and making memories. Through those events, Africa became one of the most impactful trips of my life.

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In Burkina Faso, they like to take life slow. Sending a single email can take up to six hours. Being an American, I wasn’t used to this style of life and constantly found myself tapping my foot and checking my phone impatiently…but after a few days, I finally started to open my mind and realized they may be onto something. Life isn’t supposed to be rushed. Over in Africa they aren’t worried about sending 50 emails, or checking their phone every minute, or hurrying through the workday. The people of Burkina take their day as it comes along. If something doesn’t work out, they go with the flow and accept it instead of letting it ruin their whole day. I learned to truly admire this way of life. When I think of the term “wellness” I think of living a low stress life. I personally can’t think of a better lifestyle to lead to your personal wellness than the lifestyle in Burkina Faso. Take life slow, live stress free, and be happy because the sun is shinning. Although those goals are not always easy, anytime I become overwhelmed I think back to Burkina.

Fitness is something else that has a different definition in Burkina. The people don’t obsess about going to the gym or lifting weights like we often do hear in the states. As a matter of fact, the whole time I was there I never saw a single gym. They get their exercise from carrying goods on their heads all day, or walking the streets selling fabrics. I would see women walk up and downs streets all day carrying bananas on their heads and babies on their backs.  Without even intentionally realizing it, these women “workout” more in one day than a lot of Americans do in one week!

Overall, the people that I met abroad were very hardworking. Sometimes it’s easy to get lazy living in the states. Everything is pre-made and ready to go for you, but over in Africa they make everything from scratch. I bought a pair of shoes from a man after I watched him cut the leather, sew the leather to the sole, and fabricate the whole shoe. Same goes for the hand carven drum I purchased; wood was craved, hide was stretched, robes were tided together. It truly is amazing to see a scarf being made string by string. The point is, the people taught me to not be lazy. Do not live an easy pre-made way of life, but strive for high quality. High quality fitness, high quality wellness, and overall a high quality life.

 

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong.

Mary Marren



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