Dan, December 2020
A first time for everything
As of today I have been in Lebanon for two weeks, and it’s been a fortnight of firsts. First time in Lebanon; first time in Beirut; in fact, the first time I’ve ever been to an Arab speaking country for anything other than a stop over. First time meeting FA’s trustees (other than Chris); first time meeting the children I will be teaching and the first time seeing Future Academy’s ability in situ. Here are my initial observations:
Finding pleasure in what we have
The kids in Burj Burajneh have very little, but they wear a constant smile as if they don’t have a care in the world. Something we could all learn from in the West. Football means so much to them, and it was a pleasure to be involved in the annual inter camp football tournament. FA’s team on the ground invest so much time planning and executing these events, and it’s humbling to see just how invested in the lives of these children they are. I’m very much looking forward to working with the children and FA’s team here over the coming months.
Lockdowns and curfews
My first experiences of Beirut and Lebanon have been heavily influenced by the lockdown over the last few weeks. The city was quiet, which I’ve been led to believe is somewhat of a false dawn. There’s much to come from what the city has to offer, in the same way as there’s much for me to offer FA in the coming months.
Expectations vs Reality
The scare stories we hear in the West have so far proven to be completely unfounded. Everyone is friendly, and both the city and camp are safe and welcoming. Settling in has been very easy. Let’s see how the next few weeks pan out with my introduction to teaching and what Beirut has to offer. I’ll check back in with an update on both very soon.