Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ain't no *wall* high enough!

One of our neighbors at Motor City, mom-of-two Sereen Goussous chose to leave the luxuries of her comfortable life in Dubai for  six unusual days in China. But not on vacation.

She had approached the community back in February to introduce a fantastic cause and her commitment to hike the Great Wall in order to raise awareness and funds for the visually impaired orphans at the Bethel Foundation.

Image: Dubai Motor City Residents

Now she is back and we are so jealous of her amazing adventure we decided to get the next best thing and have her tell us all about it. Curious?

So who is Sereen Goussous? I'm thirty-six years old and I come from Jordan. I have two kids, Zaid, six years old and Kristina, three years old. I have been married for ten years to Waleed Halasa. He is my best friend. Currently I am a house wife.

Have you been in Dubai long? I have been in Dubai for 5 years.

How did you learn about Gulf for Good? I was reading an article in Gulf News about them and I went to their website and just got hooked since. They provide the perfect package. You help kids around the world by staying fit and challenging yourself.

Image: Gulf For Good

What drove you to take the challenge? I love nature and outdoors so much and at the same I love to help kids in need so as I said it was the perfect package for me.

What were the pre-requisites to be admitted in the challenge? Anybody who is in good shape and health can join the challenge. It is open to anyone from the Gulf countries.

You had to raise some money before the trip, how did you go about this first challenge? I was actually lucky in raising my funds as I had one sole sponsor which is great.

How did you physically and mentally prepare? I started training three months in advance. I aimed for three times a week in a gym and I enlisted the help of a personal trainer which was great and extremely helpful.

Image: Gulf For Good

You are a mom, what goes through your mind when you are away from your children and leave your family behind, even if it is only for a few days? It was very difficult to leave them behind since they are so small and it was my first time doing it but it was for a great cause and everyone has to sacrifice in order for us to help our fellow human beings. I didn't have any signal so I couldn't talk to them which made it even harder but both of them understand very well why I left and what am I going to do and they very proud of me.

How did your husband and children react when you told them you were taking the challenge? My husband and kids were extremely supportive when I told them that I would like to take this challenge. My husband encouraged me a lot and actually kept telling me don't worry about us at all we are all going to be fine just try as much as possible to enjoy your time.

As a mother, how did you feel meeting children in need when we do all we can to protect our own little ones from harm? Can you tell us a little about the orphanage? It was very difficult and an emotional day for me. Because seeing a picture of a blind orphan is much more different than actually holding and hugging him in your arms... It just makes it so real. I felt so sad for them that they don't have any parents and that some of them actually have but they abandoned them because they were blind which just broke my heart. The orphanage is run by a french man and his wife. He has turned the orphanage into a home for these kids and has put lots of effort and love into it. The orphanage is called Bethel Foundation

Tell us a few words about China, did you have a hard time adjusting? Chinese people are very friendly and polite. I didn't have any problem adjusting. I considered the trip a learning experience to me. I just loved the whole experience.

Image: Gulf For Good

Even though you prepared physically and emotionally, how did it feel when you found yourself on that wall? The first day was very hard as we had to climb around 300 steps and I was exhausted by the end of the day. But eventually you try as much as possible to keep pushing yourself as you know that you are doing it for the sake of these kids. It was an amazing journey and adventure.

Who were your teammates? We were twenty-three people in total from fourteen different nationalities including nine arabs from all different walks of life. The oldest was fifty-seven and the youngest was twenty-four. We were a great team!

Image: Guf For Good

Now that you are back home, looking at that experience from a distance, how do you rate it? What did you learn about yourself? What did you gain as a person? It was one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever done in my life. I challenged myself and gained new self confidence and met many inspirational people. It made my kids proud of me which means that I have been a positive role model to them. It made my husband proud of me which brought us closer. It made me happy and satisfied about myself because I now know that I was able to make a difference, even if it is small, to the lives of these kids.

Would you do it again? Definitely if I had the chance again I will do it again and again!  

Mamma Mia

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