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Patrons experience 'Joie De Vie' at wellness festival

BY ANIKA RICHARDS Observer staff reporter richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 04, 2014    

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FORT Clarence Beach in Portmore, St Catherine, was abuzz with activities on the weekend, when health and wellness took centre stage at Joie De Vie or The Joy of Living festival.

Spearheaded by Essential Medical Services' Get Healthy Jamaica Movement, patrons were exposed to wellness games and a wellness village, complete with a beach party and comedy show over the two-day event. From cycling and a swim challenge to beach volleyball and football, a kiddies village, more than 70 booths as well as face and body painting and music emanating from every angle of the beach - patrons had very little time to keep still.

The activity that had most patrons on their toes was the obstacle course, which Mario Cummings, one of the organisers and the designer of the military-style course, told the Jamaica Observer was the only activity that tested all components of fitness — lower body, upper body, core muscles, and endurance.

Participants had to do a tyre run, which took them to beams that they had to alternately go under and over before doing a tunnel run. They were then faced with an eight-foot wall, monkey bars, tunnel hurdles, another eight-foot wall then from sand to sea, participants had to do a water run before crawling under a wire entanglement, through another tunnel, then over a five-foot wall. It still wasn't over; participants had to drop into the sand once more, going through a small tunnel before running through the finish line. Did we mention that this must be done while racing against the clock?

Jamaica Defence Force member Mickoy Cushnie completed the individual obstacle course in 1 minute and 51 seconds and made it look like child's play to onlookers.

"I am feeling good," Cushnie told the Observer at the finish line. "It was a challenge but not extremely difficult."

Another of the organisers, Kamaikae Elliot, told the Observer that the response from patrons had been great and that many are expecting the next one to be even bigger.

In the wellness village, patrons could do disease screenings or even get an on-the-spot massage. The village was very much like a one-stop-shop for health information on the areas of wellness, be it intellectual, physical, occupational, financial, social or emotional and mental wellness.

"There is something for everyone," one patron told the Observer. "It's like a wealth of knowledge put together in a fun and attractive way for us to enjoy while learning."

Organisers of the $15-million Joie De Vie Fest, said it is a first-time event that they hope to make even bigger once more if corporate Jamaica buys into it.

"Health and wellness in Jamaica has not filtered down to who you would call the 'common man'," Edgar Lewis, one of the organisers of the event, told the Observer about the reason for the movement. "He knows about it and is aware but, I guess for a number of reasons, including financial reasons, has not been able to relate to health and wellness the way he ought to."

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