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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Post War Trauma- A time to heal

Osisioma Foundation Reunion

Post War Trauma- A time to heal     

The voice of an Igbo woman in the Diaspora

Speech presented by 

Guest Speaker – Uzo Nwankpa, MSN-PH, BSN, RN

The Osisioma Foundation is dedicated to the Economic, Social and Political Agenda that TOUCH LIVES.

Wednesday Mar 23rd 2016

@ Standard Plaza, Opposite Crunches

Onitsha- Enugu Express Way

Awka, Anambra State

Nigeria, West Africa

 

Love & Lan{d}guage- A fundraiser evening of community art, music and poetry 

 

Love and Lan{d}guage Event Flier

When:Saturday Jan 16th 6:30pm- 8:30pm Where: Bellamys Gallery495 Portobello Rd, Macandrew Bay, Dunedin New Zealand

Donation: $5.00

You are invited to attend the arts exhibition, poetry and music fundraiser at the Bellamys Gallery in Macandrew Bay.

Eventfinder link here

Come gain some insight on the behind the scenes of Dunedins very own 2015 recipient of the Caroline Plummer community dance fellowship. Sharing her paintings, music and poetry that captures her journey from Africa, to the Americas landing in Dunedin. This event includes various collaborations including Singer song writer Kira Hundelby, Bongo Lion, King Leo’s very own Stevie Rice, Wyeth Chalmers and more. The funds raised for the art sales will support Uzo’s journey to continue to research the effects of community music and dance on wellbeing.

Come prepared to make art and engage in co creation by the community.

For more information please contact Uzo at nwankpa@gmail.com

Nga Maia ki Tamaki Makaurau

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NAU MAI HAERE MAI KI TE HUI A NGA MAIA KI TAMAKI MAKAURAU 

KAUPAPA FOR OUR NEXT HUI 

WHERE: NZCOM Auckland Region Resource Centre,

Yarnton House, 14 Erson Ave, Royal Oak, Auckland

WHEN: Wednesday 9th December 2015, 1800 – 2130 

1800 – 1930 

Committee meeting and regional business hui

Nga Maia ki Tamaki Makaurau members welcome

1930 – 2130 

Regional hui and guest speaker presentation

All midwives, students and whānau welcome

Christmas Hui – Highlights of 2015, looking forward to 2016 and special end of year Guest Speaker 

UZO NWANKPA 

MSN-PH, BSN, RN and 2015 Caroline Plummer Fellow 

“The Uzo Method for Therapeutic Movement, Song and Dance”

Please bring a plate of kai to share

Enquiries to

Megan Tahere: 027 3669358 or Kaniwa Kupenga: 021 02891937

Community Dance Classes Dunedin New Zealand

One of the most exciting things I get to do is bring the flavor of my homeland to New Zealand. For 8 weeks starting next week, we will move and groove to the rhythms of Africa to stay warm in cold Dunedin. I cannot wait to dance with you all. See you there.  

Wednesday Afrobeats July 15 @ 4pm

Friday Afro-Dizzy-ak (Aphrodesiac

July 17th @12:10pm 

665 Cumberland Street

3rd floor dance studio

Cost: Koha (Donation)

 

Reflections and gratitude- The journey of the 2015 Caroline Plummer Dance Fellow

My welcome message at the Auckland airport
My welcome message at the Auckland airport

I am finally here in Aotearoa!!!!!

I am ecstatic about this moment. I remember when I was informed  about this fellowship and I thought to myself ” This is perfect for me and I must go for it”  and then the self doubt began. Am I good enough? What about my full time job? What about my living arrangements? Would they care for what an African woman living in the U.S has to say? Would they care that I am not a trained classical dancer? Would they care that I am not a stick figured dancer? What if they don’t understand my accent? Are there black people there? (this was before I found out the meaning of black in Aotearoa is different from  where I live). I pushed through all the doubts and moved  forward  with the application. The application process was much simpler than I had expected. I had to send in a proposal about what I planned on doing through a paper and an unedited video. I had so much anxiety around making the video. I looked through youtube and could not find any previous winners of the fellowship posted. I had one week left to go before the deadline and no video. A friend suggested the interview style I used which made it less nerve racking and it worked. I had sent in numerous proposals  which all got rejected so why would this time be different?  sent it in with crossed fingers hoping they wouldn’t judge all the background noise and my hair (its a black girl thing to be worried about the perception of the hair). It was less than perfect but because of the timeline, I sent it in anyway. I prayed that it would be selected. I envisioned myself jumping up and down from hearing the good news. Once it was submitted, the anxiety dissipated and all I had control over was my mantras, visualizations and positive thoughts.  

On June 26th 2014, I received an email that stated Great news, I’m pleased to advise that you have been shortlisted for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship for 2015. Your application will be considered by the full board in mid-July. We will be in contact with you again following the boards consideration of the short-listed applications”. I was ecstatic!!!! I prayed, mediated and envisioned the possibilities of this opportunity. In July 2014, I received a phone call from the Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences personally to notify me that I was the chosen recipient. I of course dramatically fell on the floor from shock of the great news and was in shock the rest of the week. It’s been almost a year since I received the initial information and since then, the press release went out, I notified my friends and family, left my full time nurse consultant job,  and I have moved to a foreign country. I am here in Dunedin NZ reflecting on how I got here to this moment. Six months seems like hardly enough time to accomplish the work I have set out to do researching the effect music and dance has on mothers and babies. I hope that I am able to connect with the right people, learn what needs to be learned, honor and respect the people of the land and be present in the precious moments that are yet to come. Stay tuned for more of my reflections.
In gratitude
Uzo