We’ve Got Your Back kicked off in June at the same time as the Dubai summer, which for an outdoor event wasn’t great timing, but in true [sameness] project style it was a case of lets just get this going. Six hundred plus drivers later, a whole bunch of stretches, lots of laughs, heaps of tales of families back home, and some genuinely beautiful conversations, we can have ourselves a We’ve Got Your Back 2013 recap.
But first we should quickly tell you about the last WGYB adventure of 2013, which was probably the best one so far, taking place at the Dubai Taxi Corporation. The last 60 booklets we had left were gone in about half an hour and our two trainers for the day, Aris and Max, spent every minute surrounded by drivers who were soaking up every stretch, exercise, health tip, and explanation.
We had our first ever trainer vs driver fitness showdown (say that in a deep voice with a bit of an echo) with a planking/pushup competition between Aris and a trainee driver who didn’t tell us his name, only that he weighed 65kg. It was pretty impressive.
We met Rahim (below) from Bangladesh, who loved the stretches and couldn’t wait to show us his own regular morning stretching routine. He’s got 5 daughters back home and plans to see the last two married soon, so is determined to stay fit and healthy for them.
We ran out of WGYB booklets pretty quickly, meaning there were a lot of drivers who saw the stretches demonstrated but then had no booklet to take away with them. Luckily taxi drivers are a resourceful bunch and it wasn't long before they had come up with their own solution - taking photos of each page of the booklet on their phones.
It was really cool to see one copy of the booklet laid out on a bench with drivers taking turns snapping pictures of each page and then running back through them on their phones.
We've Got Your Numbers:
We aren't that good at maths but these numbers from June - December 2013 look pretty good.
Some of the things we learnt through WGYB:
- Anything that helps the taxi drivers with their physical health is gladly accepted.
Out of the 650 drivers we have seen, we have only had about 7 decline a booklet, and they generally said no because they were off to pick someone up.
- Taxi Drivers have a lot of questions related to their health & wellbeing and when given the chance to talk with a fitness professional the guys (and a few ladies) have some great questions.
- Nutrition questions - what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat - are the most common questions we get asked every WGYB event.
- Dubai's taxi drivers are genuinely some of the nicest guys you will ever hope to meet. Seeing them as more than just taxi drivers, spending time with them, laughing and hanging out is the reason this project is so special.
Some Shout Outs...
FITNESSLINK: Our WGYB partners in crime who have been on board since day one, making sure the cabbies get some of the best training, advice, and guidance that the Dubai fitness community has to offer.
DUBAI TAXI CORPORATION: For seeing the value in WGYB, opening up the DTC headquarters for training sessions, and printing 500 booklets and "thank you" facecloths!
THE TRAINERS: The 13 guys and girls shown below who took mornings out of their normal schedules and volunteered their time, their awesomeness, and their fitness skills, usually outside under a proper hot sun. Some even did it twice.
Thanks Emilie Goldstein, Kelly Montoya (P3 Dubai), Craig Harriman (Reebok CrossFit Lifespark), Danny Cordero, Kathryn Clark (Phoenix Rising), Tommao Meravigliao, Alexandra Dionisio, Martin Grove, Boby Mathisen (SHP Dubai), Tamara Ghazi (California Chiropractic Center), Aris Serquina, Max Philipp (CrossFit Hour)
Here's to 2014!
The WGYB goodness is rolling on into 2014 because even though 650 is a pretty large number for an organic, self-funded program like WGYB its still got a long way to go with another 18,000 drivers in Dubai!
The biggest WGYB need in 2014 is funding! If money grew on trees we would be lumberjacks, but it doesn't (not that we know of anyways...)
To be able to take the project to the next level in 2014, with a greater reach and a more consistent timetable we simply need the engagement of a corporate sponsor. Imagine if 650 drivers could become 6500! Imagine if Dubai was known for an initiative that takes care of, and is vital to the well being, of the men who keep this city moving...
If you can help with this then contact us and lets talk!
We’ll leave the final word on We've Got Your Back to Moshuir Rahman from Bangladesh...