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.

pic for blog

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

Sun, Sand, & Safety – A guide for Spring Break Survival

Spring Break Safety PhotoBy: Kenzi Weidman

Who is excited for some sunshine, beaches, good beverages, and good company? I sure am. Spending a week with new people, new surroundings, and new experiences is exactly what Spring Break is about! But don’t forget one thing…. SAFETY! Here are some things to remember in order to survive Spring Break and come home in one piece!

On the road Make sure you buckle up! Wearing a seat belt can be uncomfortable if you’re in a car for a very long drive, but it’s better than what would happen to you if you get in an accident. Make sure you are also switching off drivers every couple of hours. The front seat passenger should also stay awake to keep the driver company and to also help with directions.

Booking your hotel room – Try choosing a room that is above the 1st floor but below the 6th. According to the article Fight Back on Spring Break, First floor rooms are easier to break into, and rooms above the sixth floor are sometimes too high for fire ladders to reach. Take advantage of the safes the rooms might include. You never know what the cleaning person might take, or if someone does break in, your stuff is locked up.

Laying on the beach – Pack your sunscreen and use it! Many people like to tan before they head somewhere warm so they do not have to wear sunscreen. This is a no-no! Any tan or darkened skin pigmentation due to light–fake or real–is a sign of damaged skin. Don’t use “vacation” as an excuse to tan beforehand. You can avoid sunburn on vacation by applying the necessary amount of sunblock regularly.

When drinking – Do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and at least “try” to be responsible. Pace yourself and avoid hard liquor all day. Also, make sure you are drinking LOTS and LOTS of water.

Going out – Remember to party smart. If you go out with your friends, then go home with your friends. Take the phrase “no man–or woman–gets left behind” seriously. This means your friends shouldn’t leave you no matter what the situation is, and vice versa. Also, keep your drink in your hand and don’t accept open drinks from strangers. Moral of the story–don’t become a statistic.

So many bad things can happen if you “switch off” the good ole noggin as soon as spring break starts. Here are some statistics that will hopefully scare some sense int you:

  1. At least 1 college student dies every Spring Break from falling off of a balcony. 11 Great and Terrifying Facts About Spring Break
  2. In 2013, authorities confiscated over 20,000 fake ID’s and arrested over 2,000 people ages 15-21 in Panama City Beach and Daytona, FL.  Teens and Spring Break: A Dangerous Mix!
  3. If caught drinking underage, you can charged with a misdemeanor which means you MUST appear in court. Teens and Spring Break: A Dangerous Mix!

The moral of the story here is to have fun, but be safe! If you use your head and make some good decisions, your trip will be not only successful, but also an absolute blast!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”
~Kenzi Weidman