This past November, You’re the Cure advocate and stroke survivor, Michelle Ballasiotes, had the privilege of attending the Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance Global Forum in Sharjah, UAE. Michelle represented the AHA/ASA and her mom joined her on this experience of a lifetime. Over the next few weeks we will be posting a multi-part series of Michelle’s reflections on the trip. Many thanks to Michelle for writing about her experience and allowing us to share it on the blog! Check back next week to read more about Michelle’s trip! Missed a week? You can find the earlier posts about her trip here and here.
Fri. Nov. 13:
Before a planned gala dinner, there was to be a patient/youth meeting. Not everyone had arrived yet and not many people knew each other, but I found a lot of people to talk to and made connections with some of them. My mom and I also handed out "You’re the Cure" pins and Dr. Mychelle Farmer from NCD Child handed out gold NCD tattoos. The tattoos were a hit and it was fun showing people who have never seen one before how to put it on. After the gathering, everyone else showed up and we all went on buses to the Heart of Sharjah where we toured museums, indoor souks (shops), and the calligraphy museum where I got my name written in Arabic.
They also had some dancers for entertainment and women could get henna tattoos. There was a workshop where I got to mix together traditional scents that many people like to spray in their homes. It smelled lovely! We were given dates and tea to try, which were a unique taste but very good! We also got a cloth tote bag filled with postcards and information about the area. It was interesting to learn that in Sharjah, they are building a new "old" Sharjah for a traditional culture feel.
The gala dinner was served outdoors with purple lighting. My mom and I sat with people from Africa and South America, as well as with Dr. Mychelle Farmer. We were offered lots of delicious tropical fruit drinks to choose from. I couldn’t always tell exactly what we were eating and again some of the tastes were unique, but still very good. They fed us well with a plate of appetizers that I thought was our dinner, but it was followed by tasty beef and chicken, and finally a chocolate mousse cake with fruit. Everyone was very hospitable that night and it was enjoyable to socialize and experience the Heart of Sharjah!
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