Kigali - Day 3 (continued)

Pascal, Simon, Hussein, Samuel, Robert: names I can keep in mind easily, in contrary to their native Rwandan names which take me a lot more to remember than just one simple handshake. And my usual trick, i. e. asking a person how his or her name is spelled, would not work in this case: all men are illiterates. And all had been violent, very violent against their wives and children. Back then, they did not know any better and now they have come here to change their behaviour.

Just like the women, the men regularly attend the yoga lessons by Deirdre and her assistants after their psychotherapeutic meetings. Today we are going to have a first time special: the gym balls, sponsored by Mediafit. We inflate two of them. “Wait and see,” Deirdre says when I ask her why we take only two balls. Yoga novice Joseph conquers one of the balls enthusiastically doing push-ups and handstands. I show him a CANTIENICA® exercise which immediately makes him sweat. “Wow, what a difference,” he says. “I am feeling completely new muscles!”

Only now it dawns on me that this is the very first time these men are seeing something like a gym ball. They are approaching the balls, a big green and smaller blue one, just as I would have done with a tamed big cat: full of respect, cautiously and very curious.

The whole lesson circles around the balls, Joseph artfully integrating "Cantienic" details, all things he just has heard minutes ago. The men start to sweat. Later, Deirdre will tell me that she can tell from their sweat’s smell whether their muscles are in a state of hyperacidicy or not. Joseph, for one, is sweating without any smell.