The Uzo Method Project in Nigeria

I (Uzo) have been in Africa for the past few months traveling through cities and countries  surveying the region for possible social and economic development opportunities. While in Enugu visiting my parents, every morning, I jog around the infamous Okpara Square in Independence Layout.

IMG_1652

To my pleasant surprise, there is a large number of people who come out to exercise. The park is closed to the public however, the people have been resilient through police raids, arrests, tear gas pollution and other attempts to remove them from public property. The motivated locals set up as early as 6am daily on side walks to conduct their fitness business.

IMG_1818.JPG

Rad Jogging club that uses live instruments as a “pod piper” to draw people in to jog with them 

They even use gravel filled recycled water bottles for weights and prayer mats for floor work. I approached Emeka, one of the fitness coaches and asked if he would be willing to share his group with me. I explained that I have numerous years of group fitness experience and would love to volunteer my time supporting motivated people in my hometown. He agreed to test it out. It has been 6 weeks now and the participants are enjoying themselves.

IMG_1291

Fitness Coach Emeka

One participant stated “I was attracted to this group because I have not yet seen a female coach around here”. This was exciting for me to see and observe her feedback. She was right. There were many independent groups (mostly women participants) led by men who they call sports coach but no female instructor in sight.

IMG_1292

The amazing team ” Rockstars” that allowed me to crash their training session 

We meet daily at 6:30am for an hour using AFAA standards. The format that I use is as follows

  • Warm up and stretch
  • Low impact, low intensity exercises
  • Low impact, high intensity exercises
  • High impact, high intensity exercises
  • High Impact, low intensity exercises
  • Low impact, low intensity exercises
  • Weight training and Floor Work
  • Cool down and stretch

The participants are also connected via the app “Whatsaap” to remind their friends to attend or to update the team on their progress.

IMG_1306.JPG

This positive experience with Enugutians has inspired me to move forward with my dream of expanding the Uzo Method Project into Africa.

I have been thinking about this for a while and I have decided to move forward with this burning desire.

The Uzo Method Project Nigeria 

Vision 

To promote wellness and prevent illness from a human ecology perspective. 

Mission

To create the opportunity for education using the appropriate knowledge and skills necessary to stay healthy in the mind, body and spirit.

This project in the Nigerian region will focus on wellbeing using fitness, nutrition, the arts, indigenous practices and economic sustainability practices. We need to work at wellbeing at the individual, family, community and societal level. It takes the individual to spark the change needed but the environment has to be conducive and supportive to thrive.

If you are interested in becoming a part of this process, please contact Uzo at nwankpa@gmail.com for more details.

 

Uzo’s Summer Reflections 2013 part one

My summer has been really busy this year. A year ago, I visited Nigeria and danced/learned from the great Ozulumba international dance troop. It was a dream come true. This year, I decided to keep living the dream. I am grateful for the priviledge to travel , to dance, to teach, to relax and most of all, be with the people I love. I’ll let you use your immagination while you scroll through these photos and I hope you enjoy them.

Nigeria at Hermosa Montessori School 

Working with this classroom of kindergarteners was the highlight of the year WOW. They were engaged, excited and I had to stop myself from tearing up. Their teacher was great and bubba Faz ( the drummer) was really suportive to me and great with the kids. These lovely Photos were taken by http://www.amber-rose-photo.com/

IMG_5994

IMG_6179IMG_6045IMG_6051IMG_6128

San Fransisco was ahhmazing!!!!! 

Teaching the Nigerian Dance class there was surreal and I loved every minute of it. We danced Ikorodo using a Djembe and a crin one talented drummer and lots of excited dancers. Although I do not have any photos of the dance class 😦  (beacause it is impossible to live in the moment while capturing the moment) I decided to visit a few museums, walk around town and get treated to a massage. This was my fist time in the bay area. Oh, the FELA show was awesome and the after party rocked too. 🙂

image_5 image_4 image_7 image image_1image_2

Truly an amazing show!!!!!

Bollywood/Nollywood Class by Uzo  and Kiran 

This was a blast. Kiran normally facilitates a Bolloywood class in Tucson but this time, She asked for a little Naija flavor. We rocked the house and we will do it again this fall. Stay tuned. In the meantime, chek her out. http://kirane.yolasite.com/about-me.php
bollywood

Camp Mabina
OK Camp mabina every year for the past thre years has been really exciting. We camp out in the desert, we dance, sing, drum and party. This year, I worked with the kids, we told stories and learned traditional igbo gamesand songs. Here are some casual photos of some friends chillin. Also, the Creative Strategies for Change (CSC ) made a debut at camp. At CSC, the focus is racial justice. We organize, mobilize, and actualize with the CSC 3: Social Justice Frameworks, Arts Engagement, and Restorative Practices.Check them out. http://www.creativestrategiesforchange.com/wp/

mabina 2mabina

mabina3

mabina5mabina 4

Check out camp mabina aso at http://campmabina.com/ and these photos were taken by friends at Camp

Tucson City of Refuge- A United Nations Meeting Presentation by Uzo Nwankpa

image_9

This was a very special presentation. You just had to be there. At the end of my talk about my journey as a first generation immigrant to the US, a nurse working with low income moms and a person with a passion for women and empowerment, there was a standing ovation. My dad would be proud. Here is the prezi incase you are curious.

http://prezi.com/uiyjq1zhy3xx/uzoamaka-nwankpa/#

“A” Camp at the University of Arizona

This event was important to me beacuase it was an opportunity to teach our Tucson kids about culture. The kids listened, they played, they danced and they made me cry at the finale.

imageimage_2

photo

Rialto Performance with K Bass Band and Farafina Musiki 

check out the artist http://www.kbassmusic.com

Uzo Nwankpa is the choreographer and dancer for this band. Djan Tie from Ivory Coast as well as Male Fainke from Mali came through to bless our stage with their presence. The dancers were awsome and it was a blast.

kbass

image (2) - Copy home

image_1   rehearsals post show

This has been a very enjoyable summer as you can see. Stay tuned for more information on classes, auditions, healing sessions and performances.

Love you all for reading this far.

Uzo

Uzo to present at The United Nations Annual Meeting

20130511-151433.jpg

Posted by Ariel Sim

Once a year, the United Nations Association puts on an annual meeting event. This year, the theme is ‘Tucson:City of Refuge’ and is highlighting both the refugee populations in Tucson and the general, larger immigrant community. Tucson is a place where people come for various reasons, but we’re all able to grow, heal, and work together to solve some of the region’s issues (and maybe change the world just a little bit). We’ve still got a lot of mountains to climb, but these events try to highlight what good is already being done and what the next challenges are.

The keynote speaker will be Jeffrey Cornish, Executive Director of the IRC (International Rescue Committee), one of the largest refugee organizations here in town. Uzoamaka Nwankpa, a health practitioner and artist, will give a personal testimonial of her immigration story from Nigeria, highlighting her work with the IRC and Tucson arts community. She’ll be sharing some of her wonderful dancing and movement also. Finally, Richard Noel from Sticks and Fingers will be playing smooth Caribbean steel drums during the banquet buffet.

The tickets are $25 a person and include lunch, speakers and entertainment. There will also be a raffle. People who support the cause but cannot go themselves can sponsor someone to go in their place: a refugee, a student, or a UNICEF store volunteer. Partial sponsorships are also great, but I’d really like to get YOU there.

The UN association is really trying to reach out and engage a larger audience here in Tucson, so come out and enjoy the event! Good people, good music, good food.

The event is next Saturday, May 18th, at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, starting at 1130AM. RSVP by May 15 Ariel Sim  at 480-203-0039 or message me on Facebook!

Edited by Uzo.