One thing I always enjoyed growing up was learning new games and playing different sports with my friends at school. The games I learned throughout my childhood planted the seeds for the active and healthy lifestyle I lead today. You can imagine how amazed I was to learn that our school didn’t even have a PE program, or any real plan to start one. I see the kids playing games and sports every day, but there’s never been any organization to it. Football matches quickly turn into a combination of Muay Thai boxing and rugby, badminton practice looks more like fencing, and basketball…. Don’t get me started on basketball. This just could not stand. So we decided to do something about it.
Soon after putting the word out, I was contacted by a fellow Samui resident, Gowri Sivakumaran, about a fun, sweaty and, in my case, hilariously awkward way to exercise…. Zumba. Oh dear.
Incorporating different elements of hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, meringue, mambo and martial arts, Zumba is a combination of wicked sweet dance moves and shirt drenching aerobics. I wasn’t quite sure how the kids would respond to it, but as soon as the music kicked in and Gowri took control it was truly a thing of beauty. You had Big Mark shaking what his momma gave him, little Kitty trying her best to keep up with the older kids, the Thai teachers grooving harder than the students, and our lovely volunteers – Alex and Alice – smiling and sweating profusely throughout. Hannah was our master photographer and seemed to thoroughly enjoy laughing at us all.
The end result was a full hour of physical fitness, with all instructions given in English, and by far the most productive and fun lesson I’ve seen in the last year. The best part is… we get to do it again next week.
Many thanks to Gowri, Siam, the Thai teachers and our lovely volunteers, Alex, Alice and Hannah for making it happen.
Want to join in on all the fun down in Koh Samui? Then take a look at our Koh Samui Volunteer abroad experiences.