BY PATTY HOUSTON HOLM
At most there are 12 of us exercise disciples – out on the UCU running track, at 6.45 am when others are either sleeping or trying to beat the traffic outside of Mukono town. I suspect it is special too for the two guys who run together, never mind that they do so in sandals!
Then there are the four Save-the-Mothers students encouraging each other at the parallel bars, the young woman jogging with ear buds, the male student jumping the concrete steps and even the vice chancellor, who frequents the track before his busy day.
While Ugandans are a communal lot, these exercise warriors become Americans like me in the sense that we each stay in our own “zone” and seldom talk, save for the customary wave or smile.
When we exercise, in addition to taking care of the bodies God gave us, we are nourishing our minds. Among the biblical scriptures supporting exercise is 1 Corinthians that addresses training “my body” (9:27), realizing that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (6:19) and having “every athlete exercise discipline” (9:25). Personally, this time and movement enable me to think about the people whom I cherish in my life or those I should like a little bit more.
I say silent prayers for them. Often I reflect on how I can be a more creative and overall better person. Sometimes, I sing a hymn. I also really enjoy a good sweat uninhibited by formal attire before the heat of the mid-day sun.
The jump-start for the day is also tremendous. Later on a rare dawn when I did not exercise, she noticed I was irritable most of that day, so she never asked again.
I love hearing roosters crow without audible competition, watching the culled-shape monkeys swing from trees and the lack of boda boda commotion on the road outside the campus fence. And the peculiar sightings on the track!
One morning I saw yellow, white and red roses in various stages of decomposition after the previous day’s graduation ceremony. On a different morning, in a break from the normal silence among us, a second-year education student sought advice on how to reduce weight in her abdominal area.
Together we laughed and did sit-ups and planks on the netball court concrete and the wooden school desks gently covered with dew. I write this to encourage more morning enthusiasts to join us.
Patty Huston-Holm, a former journalist from Ohio, USA, is on campus through November, working with the UCU School of Research and Postgraduate Studies to help master’s students complete their dissertations