At 2pm every Monday afternoon, the Fugalei market comes alive with music and dancing.
Started four months ago by the Projects Abroad Nutrition Programme, a weekly Zumba session for stall holders is designed to get the blood pumping and promote a healthy active lifestyle.
Many of the stall holders both sleep and work at the market so the sessions were initiated to provide them with an enjoyable exercise opportunity.
Chris Presissner a volunteer who has been with the Nutrition Programme for three and a half months explained.
“All that these people do 24/7 is sit and sleep here. So it’s basically from the ground to the chair, from the ground to the chair. We want to have a least one hour a week for the people to move around and have fun.” Zumba was chosen as it is an activity in which exercise and enjoyment can easily be blended together.
“It’s also fun to do Zumba. It’s not just about healthy eating it’s also about fun and exercise,” he said.
Since the weekly sessions began, the volunteers have seen more and more stallholders joining in each week. Many of the stallholders cited a healthy body and fun as the main reasons why they like to participate in Zumba.
Tupa’i Iulai, said that he did the Zumba “for my body,” and that it makes him “so happy when I dance.” Asovale Stowers said she enjoyed Zumba as “it’s good for me to do exercise to strengthen my body.”
The market place is not the only venue where Zumba classes are conducted by the Nutrition Programme. They are also run on Fridays at the hospital and on outreach programs in the villages.
The purpose of the sessions, in the words of Preissner, is to encourage people to include exercise in their day-to-day routine as part of a healthy lifestyle. “We from the nutrition programme just want to have a healthy Samoa, a longer living Samoa.
“It’s not that we want to force our palagi ways on the people here, we just want to show them that it can be fun and it can be done [having an active lifestyle].
“And it makes you feel so much better if you have at least one hour a week of exercise, fun and dancing. People love dancing so we hope they can incorporate it into their everyday lives.”