Diary of Jordan, Day 8 : The man who's been to 9 World Cups

By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

It was one of the back to back match-free days in this week but most importantly, it marked one week and a day I've been here in Jordan with the days flipping through like the frail pages of a book succumbing to breeze.

I had forgotten to set my alarm again, but I was up in time to get ready for the new day which will see us visit the Jordan Media Institute after class.

As usual, I helped myself to breakfast where I sat alongside the only boys in the programme, Pedro and Pablo - the Japanese, Masamichi, is expected on Friday.

Pedro who prefers to be called Victor, is from Brazil while Pablo is a Spaniard.

They do not necessarily look alike but some of us have had to think Pedro was Pablo and vice versa. Not me anyway.

There was also Rayane, from Lebanon on the same table. Pablo then jokingly told Pedro to change his alarm tune because it makes him want to jump out the window.

He insisted that Pedro played it there so that we could understand what he had to go through every morning. When Pedro played it, what we heard was the sound of a fire alarm.

Imagine that sound being the first thing you hear in the morning. Rayane and I sympathised with Pablo and laughed out loud at the same time.

In class, Andrea, remember him? He is from Italy, a proud dad, a former athlete who now trains athletes and is also a Sports Commentator.

He is in charge of anything that has to do with video at the AIPS Young Reporters Programme.

Andrea gave his thoughts regarding the videos that have been produced thus far and told us that we must always know how we want to build our video story.

Riccardo who has had quite an adventurous experience as a journalist then told us about DECISIONS, explaining that they are key in our lives as journalists.

He reminded us that we are still in the world where our story needs to be sold and in the end, whether you publish a story or not, boils down to decision making.

We had a visitor today. FIFA Television Commentator, John Helm, whose journalistic journey started on August 17, 1959.

Fifty Seven years and counting, Helm is so bubbly and enthusiastic as far as his job is concerned.

He has been a commentator since 1981 and has been to 87 countries, nine World Cups, five Olympic Games and a lot more tournaments. "I want to make it to 100 countries, I want to make it to 10 World Cups and I want to make it to another Olympics," he said.

Helm warned us to "never abuse the fact that we are in a privileged position" as journalists. He spends six to seven hours to prepare for every match he does and makes sure he gets two new INTERESTING facts for every player on the team sheet; from the starting eleven to the substitutes.

One thing that has kept John Helm going ever stronger is his ambition. He was the commentator for the Nigeria vs England match the day before and he admits he still makes mistakes because for "every single time you put on the head phone, you learn something new".

After class, we went to the Jordan Media Institute, where our mentors told them about the AIPS (International Sports Press Association) and how the association works.

We got to know some of the students better after the session and exchanged numbers with them.

We went back to the hotel afterwards and that was when AIPS President, Gianni Merlo told us he would be leaving us the next day. We had a kind of round table discussion that evening where he gave us lots of advice, and asked us individually what we thought about the AIPS Young Reporters Programme and how it has affected our lives.


The testimonies were amazing.

We went to our rooms when we were done at past six, to converge at the lobby by 8pm for our trip to Downtown Amman.

AIPS Young Reporters night out, I called it. It was the first time we were all hanging out and it was fun. We first had dinner at 'Hashim'.

Some of us had eaten at the hotel and I was one of those, so all I did was taste some of what was in front of me and drank a can of Fanta. And yes, I tasted the Jordanian version of 'akara', bean cake. It is called 'Felafe'.

After dinner we took a walk down the street and eventually entered a shop of mostly handmade Jordanian souvenirs and while some admired, some bought stuffs.

Then at about 12 midnight, we were back at the hotel. Sonja insisted that we all played a game called "Never-have-I-ever" aka "abadan, abadan".

It's a drinking game and we were allowed to drink even water. It was a team building game that saw us revealing a lot about our private lives as we laughed and drank.

And when we were done with that, we played another game that required us calling names of countries and cities starting from letter A, where you failed, you drank and restarted the game with the next letter.

While we were at it Sonja told us that Roselyn had arrived safely in Australia, then she took a photo of us and sent to her.


Christine was the first to say goodnight some minutes after 1 am, then I followed about 30 minutes later.
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