The Journey

When I first went home after my first semester in college, everyone could not help but stutter at how big and fair I had become. To them I looked like a round doll. In all honesty, I could not care. I mean I had a red mo-hawk! Right? With that mentality, I continued indulging in my unhealthy eating habits and over consumption of alcohol.

You see during my first year in college, being an “outcast” as the only African and more specifically the only Kenyan from the continent in my year I sought to do everything in my power to fit in. That meant partying every week consistently from Wednesday to Friday. My friends were all doing it and I thought oh well, I am in college right? For a whole year straight I never missed the; 1dollar beer on Wednesday at Splitures, 1 dollar margaritas at Lupita’s (not the Kenyan actress) restaurant, Happy hour on Friday and finally turn up sessions on Saturday. These drinking and partying sprees were always followed by hunger pans that resulted in late night snacking on 2dollar Mc Donald meals, 7dollar Dominos pizzas, Ice cream, vending machine chocolates and late night Chinese take away.

I was a time bomb waiting to explode. My efforts to be accepted among my peers led me to neglect my body and my body began to neglect me as well. My cholesterol levels shot up, my blood sugar was high and my weight had increased by 18kgs from 64kg – 82kgs. None of my clothes could fit and internally my body felt dirty. At that point I decided enough was enough and that I was going to embrace a new lifestyle change.

I have always been an active person and so this Academic year, I decided to reactivate that. I began going to the gym everyday at 6am so as to start my day well. At the gym I sought to push myself because I believe that our mind is the only obstacle in our body. Our bodies can do so much and withstand a lot if only our minds didn’t tell them to.

I also decided to change my nutrition. I began to do this gradually so that I do not give up halfway. I began eating breakfast and staying away from fast foods, late night snacks that weren’t fruits or vegetables and most importantly too much alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my Happy hour, but I have a limit to how much I drink. One thing most people don”t realize is that Alcohol contains so many calories and can easily make one gain weight especially around their bellies.

To me right now, fitness and healthy nutrition has become a lifestyle and not so much a means for me to lose weight or to get my hormones back in check. I breathe and live healthily. Your body is your temple treat it well and it shall treat you even better. 🙂

PS: I also want to be looking 26 when I’m 60, so I better prepare my body for that right now. As Mr Peter always says, Africa does not only need intelligent leaders, she also needs well groomed leaders.

If you want to follow me through my fitness journey follow @suzifit on instagram for inspiration, nutrition tips and lots of fitness fun. Always remember, why you began when you want to quit 🙂

By Sophie Umazi

Language Barrier

My name is Sira and I come from Senegal. I am 17 years old and I have 3 young sisters. Before coming to ALA, I was in secondary high school. I was in the top 5 of my class; that’s why I was advised to apply to ALA. I didn’t get in the first time. After my second application, I got accepted. I was so excited to come to ALA, a new environment, to meet new friends and so on. Senegalese alumni told me that I would have a lot of fun even if the language would be a barrier in the beginning and I did not have to worry about that. The first day at ALA, I realised that I would suffer a lot because I didn’t understand anything that was going on. First of all, I had orientation in the auditorium with Mr Peter. He spoke very fast and I used to ask myself how I will survive in such environment. I couldn’t even interact with my roommate. Continue reading “Language Barrier”

African Studies

Continue reading “African Studies”

ALA’s Sexuality Discussion Group

In August 2012, I decided to start ALA’s Sexuality Discussion Group (SDG) with my colleague, Robyn Sweetman. It came as the result of two years at ALA realizing that as much as Diversity is a foundational value of the Academy, many of our students have very one-sided views around diversity of sexual orientation. Where our value says “Diversity: We respect others,” I know that many people Continue reading “ALA’s Sexuality Discussion Group”

Flashback: Valentines Ball

Tamasha Entertainment always makes it a point that ALA students are entertained. I didn’t know the amount of effort they put in until the Halloween Party which they did tremendously well, the turn up was fantastic. However, Babatope should be acknowledged for the effort he puts into taking ALA entertainment to another level. The carols night which was his first gig was eccentric, thel Christmas carols turned into a serious turn up with lovely Christmas carols performances and the beautiful dĂ©cor around the quad. Moreover, his latest gig proved that he still has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment at ALA because the Valentine Ball was AWESOME! Continue reading “Flashback: Valentines Ball”

Behind the Heels and Suitcases

I was woken up on the morning of the 10th of February, 2014 by resonating sounds of heels and suitcases. It took me a while before I decided to lift my duvet up and go see what was happening in the hall. When I opened the door, an unusual mix of fancy perfumes of Gucci, Dior and Victoria Secret suddenly invaded my nostrils. In front of me, wonderful goddesses of Athena were fitting in their official clothes (dresses and skirts) and rising up on their very special heels. I was wondering if I was a somnambulant before I realized it was the “heels and suitcases ceremony”.  I immediately sighed: “Oh God, heels!” Continue reading “Behind the Heels and Suitcases”

What Makes an African?

What makes an “authentic” African? Who is an “authentic” African? I often spend hours asking myself : Will I be an “authentic” African if I put away my biological individualism and refer to myself as one? Will I be an “authentic” African when I become familiar with all her countries? I speak fluent Hausa (the most common language spoken in northern Nigeria), I wear pants from Senegal, walk in Moroccan slippers and eat South African pap, yet I am not starving. I did not witness genocide. I have never suffered from drought. I do not cook using firewood and I do not live in a shed. I’ve had malaria more than three times and I am still alive and healthy. Am I not “authentically” African? Continue reading “What Makes an African?”

Why Do I Blog?

I always loved to write. My mother always encouraged me, and it was with her prodding that I was published for the first (and last) time when I was just 7 years old (I think). But as I grew older, I ventured more and more into the sciences, and the constant stream of enthusiasm I had for writing began to dry up. At that stage (about 4 years ago) I only wrote for English homework, even the praise I got from my English teacher, Ms. Flanagan, was not enough to convince me to write more. I like to express myself creatively, and so, I love to Continue reading “Why Do I Blog?”