Mahatma Gandhi said this once, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”.
Parents of the Alexandrina Maduro Primary school were reminded of this when they were treated to a health fair after their first PTA meeting of 2020. With one of the classrooms transformed into a mini health center, parents were able to test the quality of their breathing, get massages, taste healthy foods and test their endurance. The principal of the Alexandrina Maduro Primary School learned about the L.I.G.H.T programme and contacted them to treat her Parents, Teachers Association with a mini health fair so they could benefit.
They received massages to reduce stress, delicious vegetarian food, lung testing to see how they are breathing and cardiovascular stress testing to see how physically fit they are. This brought awareness to areas of their health that needed improvement. A crowd favorite was the massage station where many parents and teachers received a relaxing massage. This was Abdul Richards’ favorite part because he “hadn’t had a massage for a long time. It was lovely and it reminded me that every now and then we need to take time out for ourselves. When we are healthy we could do a better job of taking care of our children.”
The L.I.G.H.T is a global programme whose acronym stands for The Lay Institute for Global Health Training (LIGHT) which is a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist church devoted to providing health evangelism training worldwide. Calvin Mills attended the event at Alexandrina Maduro Primary School and stated that “Jesus said he came to serve and we are honored to be served in such a manner.” The organization goes around the world training individuals in health applications that can improve or restore health using natural methods. They apply the principles of the acronym NEW START to aid individuals in improving, restoring and maintaining their health.
Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sun- shine, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in divine power.
N – Nutrition – This focuses on how your body uses nutrition and how you can use nutrition to restore health. They teach people how to eat properly and aid individuals in pinpointing poor nutritional habits.
E – Exercise – They help people identify exercises that can be done with various health conditions such as arthritis.
W – Water – This focuses on using water both internally and externally to improve health. Internally water can be used for various functions of the body and externally, using hydrotherapy to treat colds and relieve headaches.
S – Sunlight – This improves your immune system which enables you to be able to fight disease. Also, sunlight helps the body absorb vitamin D which strengthens the bones to help fight against osteoporosis.
T – Temperance – This means, doing everything, even the good things, in moderation and avoiding the bad things e.g. Alcohol and caffeine
A – Air – This focuses on how you breathe and the quality of air you breath which is very important for your health.
R – Rest – How and when you sleep is important. Because the body repairs itself during sleep.
T – Trust in divine power – without God, the above elements may fail. God gives peace of mind, strength and wisdom, which is important for your health.
The event was met with positive reviews. Michel Ambrose, a parent at the school, thought “this was a very good initiative to remind parent to take care of themselves. The vegetarian food stood out the most because I always try to eat healthy, but this showed me new ways I could incorporate healthy dishes.” Another parent, Abdul Richards, “this is something we need more frequently in the BVI, it was awesome. We only talk about healthy eating and its usually a salad, but this event showcased unique ways to eat healthy. The food station showed you how to use the basic products to make something different. And it showed you different ways to change your diet.” According to Sergio Estridge, “The event was interesting. It is good to see people give back to the community. It also helps us to be conscious of our health and motivates us to improve our health.”
The L.I.G.H.T programme came to the BVI in November 2019 as a part of the Health Ministries Department of the BVI Seventh-day Adventist Churches. The Health Ministries Department saw that this programme would improve the lives of members of the Seventh-day Adventist church. They trained sixty-six individuals for one month in various areas of Health Ministry after which certificates in health evangelism were awarded. They learned how to cook healthy, give massages, lung testing and stress testing among other things. The participants of the programme saw improvements in their own health and the health status of their family members and were prepared to help people in the society to improve their health as well.
This programme is open to anyone who is concerned about their health and want to learn how they could improve their health in a natural way.
Gracia Smith, the programme coordinator stated that the general population in the BVI can benefit from such a programme greatly. In the British Virgin Islands, there are a lot of cases of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension as wells as asthma and cancer. This programme can help to improve the quality of life of these patients. There are programme participants with these disorders, that have benefited in their personal health. They do not discourage people from taking their medications however they suggest adding a few lifestyle changes to help improve your health.
Health tips for the readers from the L.I.G.H.T programme:
We can look forward to health expos in various Seventh-day Adventist churches.
They thank God for the opportunity to do such a function for the Parents and Teachers of the Alexandrina Maduro Primary School.
“A healthy BVI is a health nation with healthy productivity and healthy people,” Gracia Smith.
To contact the L.I.G.H.T. Programme you can call Gracia Smith at 541 8323 or contact any pastor or health leader in any of the Seven (7) Seventh-day Adventist churches in the British Virgin Islands.