The holdiay had just finished and the new semester was still crawling, classes had not started and students were streaming into campus. The beauty of those early days of the semester was in the gossip, tall tales and extended periods of gist. People exchanged stories of how they had gone to London on vacation and seen the King of England, how they were on the plane and the pilot put the plane in reverse because of turbulence upfront, stories that would make Shakespeare's jaw drop. But it was alot of fun. For the Pacoliso residents, it was a time to catch up.
Samurai had just endured the 9 hour road trip from Abuja to PH via Edoline, and he was looking forward to the new semester. He had spent his holiday relaxing and 'gyming' (this was a Naija term for exercise which roughly translated to benchpressing iron and concrete, gyms were non-existent, a bench and 2 concrete slabs was equivalent to a gym), so he was pretty impressed with his physique. To spice up his new Johnny Bravo look, he had invested some of his pocket money in buying 3 brand new BYC vests. "Chicks will notice that I have upgraded from singlet to BYC", he muttered to himself happily. The evening was spent gisting with Shimon and other neighbors (as at this time, Samurai and Shimon had become popular in Pacoliso and their room was the hanging spot).
Early the next morning, before Oga Sam's turkeys were awake, Samurai rolled out of bed, put on slippers and did a few push-ups. Shimon was awakened by the sound of someone panting with exertion...
"25, 26, 27..."
"Bros, are you okay? Wetin you dey do?", he asked sleepily.
"29, 30... I dey gym...32", Samurai muttered between count.
After a few seconds, the count stopped. "I'm going outside to jog for a few minutes. Since we don't have classes yet, I want to start gyming and jogging to keep fit. Do you want to join?" Samurai asked Shimon, who was still curled up in bed.
"Gym ke? I don't have any weight to burn. Enjoy yourself", was Shimon's response.
So Samurai went out and ran from one end of Pacoliso to the other, his flip-flops (slippers) slapping the ground in rhythm while the sweat ran down his body. Since it was the early hours of the morning, the sound of footfalls was an alien intrusion. A few heads peeked out of their windows wondering if there was something amiss. All they could see was a shirtless figure jogging from one end of the compound to the other. As the skies brightened and darkness gave way, a few of the early birds in Pacoliso could make out the face of the lone runner, and the smooth ripple of his muscles as he jogged. After a few minutes of observation, one of the few guys in Pacoliso, Bitterleaf came out of his room and joined Samurai. After about 30minutes, the 2 runners sat down in front of Samurai's room and stretched and gisted. By this time most Pacoliso residents had woken and noticed the 2 well built young men jogging.
The next day, Samurai came out again like before and started jogging. After 5 minutes Bitterleaf had joined him, 5 minutes later Agbani and Potential BigBoi joined them. This time they all ran 20 laps. Afterwards, they gathered under the tree in front of Samurai's room and began 'gyming', benchpressing concrete.
Agbani (male) was as skinny as a rake. Potential BigBoi (male) was also skinny. Samurai couldn't figure out why they were jogging, but he was glad for the company. When it came to 'gyming', Agbani and PBB struggled to carry the weights, while Samurai and Bitterleaf offered tips and encouragement. That day, the 4 of them agreed on a detailed exercise regimen: 20 laps of jogging (starting at 6am) and 30 mins of gyming afterwards.
"Ol boi, some of the estate babes wan join us o, is that okay?" Bitterleaf asked.
By the 3rd day, there were the 4 guys and then PinkPanther. The routine continued and the number kept increasing. A week later, Samurai was awoken by a buzz of voices, he glanced at his watch and noticed he had overslept, it was 5.10am. He could hear Bitterleaf's voice at his window, "Guy, where you dey, we dey wait you". When he finally made it outside, he froze. There were over 30 people standing outside waiting for him, a good majority of the Pacoliso babes and even faces of visitors. Bitterleaf was buzzing around like an army drill sergeant arranging everyone in a straight line, Potential BigBoi was offering to help a girl named ExcessWaist (she was shaped like Toolz) if she got tired, Agbani's eyes were alight with excitement (fine fine girls wey no dey talk to am before were standing close to him, wearing few clothes, chei, see heaven). For a few seconds, Samurai didn't know what to say, it was evident that they had all been waiting for him. Shimon came outside and started laughing, it was almost like the start of an african marathon, people were jostling for space, adjusting hairnets and scarves, pulling down bum shots. A few people wore running shoes, others rocked flip flops.
Samurai took a deep breath, walked to the centre of the pack, a hush descended. He spoke:
"We'll jog 20 laps, the first 10 at a slow steady pace, then we'll pick up speed gradually and finish the final lap at a sprint. Don't overdo yourself, try to partner with someone. Afterwards, when everyone has finished, we'll gather here under the tree and..."
He was unsure what to say, he couldn't say gym cos most were girls. So Pink Panther cut in, "the guys can gym, while the girls do aerobics".
"Which one be aerobics again", Potential Bigboi muttered.
"You'll wind and stretch your waist and your body", Shakira responded. (Shakira was arguably the best dancer in Pacoliso, and her dance moves were so hypnotic that guys were always caught staring with their jaws on the floor whenever she danced).
"Okay na, the boiz sef go follow wind waist! Wetin u wan tell press!" PBB retorted joyfully, his mind on fire with the image of Shakira winding waist. All the guys nodded furiously in support, "we go wind waist and do aerobics".
Samurai continued, "in that case, after we finish jogging, we'll rest for 5 minutes and Shakira will lead the aerobics session for 30 minutes and the guys can gym afterwards".
There was a general agreement to this proposal. He smiled, happy with his mini-speech. Not knowing how to start off the race, he muttered "Let's run" and trotted off, behind him the rhythm of happy feet followed his lead...
NB: The "exercise project" lasted for 2 weeks and fostered great friendships. It was the beginning of a new chapter of friendship at Pacoliso. People came from far to partake and it became a popular hit.The project wasn't sustainable, after 2 weeks classes started and hunger became a factor, so energy had to be conserved.