Sitanala Staff Aerobics

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I woke up early to attend “Friday Hospital Staff Aerobics”. The staff have organized a weekly exercise routine in which a trainer brings a small stage, enormous amps and speakers,  a CD with the best combination of 80s, 90, and today. Mostly ladies attend. They dress in full “batik” with hijab despite the heat and movement.  Male staff also join in although their movements are clumsier and they have trouble keeping up with the steps. The instructor leads the group in dance routines that they have clearly done before because they are experts, all moving together to the beat, kicking feet out, pumping arms, curling abdomens. I joined in, struggling to keep up. I couldn’t stop laughing. The idea of a whole hospital staff exercise routine anywhere else in the world sounds impossible, but here in this country of fun-loving, light-hearted people, it is the best idea. I had so much fun with the ladies (and three determined gentlemen) that it hardly felt like exercise at all. Afterwards I could tell we had moved quite a lot because our clothes were sopping wet and our faces red. They gave me hot sweet lentil soup (an interesting choice after a hot work out) but it was actually delicious and exactly what my body needed. I am excited to attend all the aerobics classes at Sitanala.

That afternoon I got to see my favorite patient. He is a very tiny man and his wife is a very large woman. They are sweet together. August (that is his name), invited me to the leprosy settlement. He wanted me to come to his home where he will show me around. He told me there is no stigma there. No problem. You can have any deformity and you will still be accepted. I can’t wait to visit him at his home. I just have to think of the right sort of gift to bring… ideas?

In the evening we piled into the minivan to go to the supermarket where we could buy all ingredients necessary for traditional pizza. I was excited to share something with this family that has given me so much. The supermarket pretty much blew my mind. It is nestled deep inside a posh and intoxicating super mall. There are designer shops glittering behind glass, technology whizzing and whirring and flashing, people people everywhere not looking at each other, but having eyes only for the things that pop out of advertisements capturing everyone’s attention. There was too much to see. My brain felt overwhelmed. Finally we arrived at the super supermarket. It was sparkling just like the rest of the mall and stocked with imported olive oil, tomato sauce, flour, mozzarella cheese, and all other worldly delights. We got all lost in the supermarket and ended up getting home too late for pizza making.

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