Any Given Sunday Morning on Lumbley Beach

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Close your eyes for a minute and try to conjure a physical image of the average Salone man or woman. If you’re like me then the person u imagine is niether tall nor short, chocolate brown skin (not to be confused with the creamy dark black SeneGambia skin tone), black hair, brown eyes, and certainly not obese, overweight or anything close to what would be considered fat or round for that matter. You might even think of an individual who looks underfed or suffering from a bit of malnutrition with sunken in cheeks. Whatever the case I think it is safe to say that Sierra Leoneans do not have a weight issue…we may have the battle of the bulge for some but most are ok.

However, if you were up early on a Sunday morning you might begin to wonder why everyone is running to Lumbley Beach. Is there a fitness craze???!!!

Last Sunday as I do often, I drove to the beach sometime around 7am for my version of a brisk walk. As I was driving, I thought whoa this beach thing has gotten serious. Men, women and even young teens coming in shorts, leggings, sneakers, slippers (bought from the local junks second hand boutique) and one girl looking no more than 14 jogging towards the beach on the Aberdeen Bridge had on ballerina flats. People jogged on both sides of the bridge and jogging bodies in groups and individuals littered the street past paddies, Aberdeen village, police barracks, down past UN office at Mammy Yoko and burst out on Lumbley.

Some of the young guys jog from Circular Rd in the central part of town and even as far out as Kissy to come to Lumbley Beach on a Sunday. I haven’t figured out if they just like to jog or if it’s a transportation issue. When you pull up to the beach Round About by family kingdom there are hundreds of young men and women stretching, sitting, doing knee ups, while those who have just arrived catch their breaths and talk to old friends. While some of these people are here to jog and exercise (many a Sunday to Sunday ritual) the majority of them are there to play football on the sand. THE BEACH IS THE #1 LOCATION TO PLAY FOOTBALL ON SUNDAYS. Yes, they run all the way from home to spend up to 4-6 hours playing football. With all these super hard bodied, 12 pack totting aspiring athletes and footballers in one place, its enough to give a girl palpitations or even better a reason to come to the beach on a Sunday for the views.

Though the hotties make up the chunk of people at the beach at this hour the presence of Prados, Mercedes Benz’s of all makes and models, and other Freetown car favourites sparsely parked on the 3km strip lets you know that your “money man dem” battling the bulge dem day na ya. There is also the occasional expat running with ipod and seeming to be in a better shape than most. And finally also available on the beach on any given Sunday? Me ofcourse….Ah no go lie no to di exercise kin carry me fo there, I simply just love the feel of the cool morning breeze and even cooler ocean water hitting my skin. I walk very slowly thinking “man I am so lucky, to be here right now” and then I make sure to keep my eyes in front of me so no one sees me staring at them, even though that is sooooo what I’m doing

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