The SanaFirenze team was represented by Dr. Sana Barada who made a speech and had a question & answer time with the youngsters on various addiction-related topics. She also took part in a soccer game and had a TV interview.
When the ‘5xChallenge’ became 6 – a few days in Dubai:
It all started during my recent participation in the ‘2015 edition 5xChallenge’ event that took place at the UAE Football Association in Dubai from 14-16 October 2015. I was supposed to attend as a guest, being part of the SanaFirenze team (Organisation for the prevention and treatment of addic-tion), since one of the main event objectives was to promote educational sports as a good way to al-low teenagers to gain more in-depth knowledge about themselves and their limits, reinforce their endurance, acquire an additional emotional resource and offer them a healthy socialising model. Hence, my presence made sense mainly for illustrating how sport could be an appropriate means of preventing addiction. Mind you, the latter does not just include drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling but it also covers inappropriate behaviour towards food, electronics, relationships, sport itself, and medications, etc.
Between the tournament sessions, there was a meeting with the youngsters participating in order to discuss addiction issues. I was asked to make an on-the-spot speech – me, who has have only ever been used to speaking in public after long hours of research. I found myself in front of all those young eyes expecting to hear amazing world discoveries from this international expert. Honesty saved me as usual and I found myself telling those kids “the only role I can always improvise with-out preparation is that of being a mother. Let me tell you what I’ve learnt to define as an addiction and let’s open the door instead to your concerns so that I can answer them through the facts I dealt with over my work experience”. It’s interesting though to see how culture differences play a key role in varying addiction-related problems and the manner of handling them. Yet those eyes were the same…..nothing new about them, my kids’ eyes.
The adventure wasn’t over. Soccer games got started and this time I was part of the team! All of the Emirates’ generosity was reflected through one of the UAE Football Association coaches and my opponent in this game who passed the ball at my request to encourage his Italian guest who was hopeless at soccer! Then there was the UAE FA museum visit, a TV interview…..then lot of talking on the side. It’s wonderful how generous people can transmit this mainly by giving their time to an-swer all the questions asked by this inquisitive Italian doctor. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this culture through mingling and chatting. Dealing with addiction starts first by having a bet-ter understanding of the traditions and cultures.
In short, I went there to learn from you guys and widen my perspectives through getting exposed to events abroad. I ended up being a VIP guest which I deserved to be only because you treated me this way in your hometown.
Very big thanks go to Ghanem, Youssef, Mohamed, Aboud, Ali, and last but not least, to you Nour (the event organiser). I don’t think your job really included checking on your guest late at night to make sure she was not feeling homesick for her 3 kids after just 2 days away from home, or to take her shopping to buy the mermaid tails for her little girls, plus a long list of other things…
My words seem to go with a bulimic description and anorexic scientific values, but feeling at home is a good feeling and that’s how you made me feel.