Updated: Oct 3
By Julie Auma, Metis Cohort 3 Fellow, Africa Yoga Project
Dispatches from Metis Fellows on the Frontlines, Part 2
“Being of Service” was an alien concept to me before August 2016. When I joined Africa Yoga Project and became acquainted with this impactful ideal, it has made a complete difference for me personally and professionally. Being of service means doing what is wanted and needed, when it is wanted and needed.
As wellbeing leaders, the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis was and is another Africa Yoga Project call to action. Our program beneficiaries (yoga teachers) reside in our city’s low income neighborhoods. As you read this right now, you may not be aware of the realities and inherent challenges of calling these neighborhoods home.
Babadogo, Kahawa west, Luckysummer, Gachie, Eastleigh, Huruma, Kariobangi, Majengo, Jericho, Mathare, Embakasi, Lungalunga, Kangemi, Umoja, Kiambu, Saika, Deep Sea Slums, Kibera and Wanyee. There are areas in these neighborhoods where majority of vital resources are shared. Bathrooms, toilets, water taps, kiosks/stalls, markets, food, and general sanitation.
It is a daunting challenge to socially distance when a whole family shares one room. Where a whole floor/plot share one bathroom. Where water is collected from a central point. How do we “lockdown” where every day you are not at the market, at your stall, at a construction site is a day without money and without a meal? Leave alone the luxury of 2 meals a day or an extravagant 3. We looked for ways to be of service to members of our community while still keeping the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 at bay. “Share the Sanitizer” Wellbeing Kit.
This starter campaign from creation, fundraising and delivery of kits took 1week. Africa Yoga Project received such generous support from our community members, to organizations, to random individuals who wanted to make a difference. Together we were able to be of service and provide 1,485 kits to address a few immediate needs. Each kit contains
20 litre jerrycan for water storage.
A mandala and crayons
A loaf of bread and snack
Wellbeing booklet - containing yoga poses for immunity and stress relief and actionable precautions.
Within this same one week, studio owners and Alumni of AYP, Yoga Heart Kenya began setting up hand washing stations in Kangemi, Kawangware and beyond.
Current Africa Yoga Project teachers living in Masoro Rwanda, pulled together to provide soap and educate the elderly in their community on how to wash their hands as a precaution for Coronavirus COVID-19.
There is still much to do, however, the beauty of being of service is the domino effect it has in creating impact. In inspiring people to do what is in their power to be of service in their communities.
As you take precautions to protect yourself and others at this time, spare a thought and be of service. Opportunities are everywhere. It may be in this period of taking precautions. Be it at your next work call, as you create content, as you prepare food for yourself or your family, as you write that email or dial that number, get curious and think: How can I be of service at this very moment?