Friday, July 26, 2013

Reporting from JMJ Rio 2013

So, i have been already 12 days in Rio but already so much to tell. It's difficult to say everything but i will do my best to remember as much as i can.
First, i found out that my name in Brazil is pronounced as 'Mariannie'. It sounds funny but i like it that way. Many brazilian don't know English so lot of time i try to communicate in Spanish. It's funny, as some of them don't even know Spanish but we manage to understand each other.
The spirit in this JMJ is very warm and joyful, specially that it's full of latinos from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Mexico... they add a certain flavor to the whole event. I wish i can visit all these countries and get to know their culture. They are somehow like Egyptians, maybe that's why i enjoy seeing them everywhere.
My work as volunteer is with the communication team in social media. Basically i work in the social media, updating facebook and twitter for arabic language with the news from the JMJ so that people from around the world can watch what's happening wherever they are.  Today, I was working in the media center in the morning shift, then we were told that the Pope will pass by so they won't let people to come in or go out during a certain period. I hesitated to stay longer or leave and catch the welcoming ceremony itself in copacaban since my shift has finished. I decided to stay and actually it turned out to be better cos i've seen the Pope from a very close distance!! Actually we were asked later on to be human chains, those people who stand up to not let the crowd go beyond it. It was worth it cos i actually saw the Pope from a very short distance, passing through in his papamovel. I couldn't take photo for this moment but i will remember it. The Pope was smiling and he has a pure radiating face that captures you. No wonder, when you know how humble he is, in the little details we here from here and there. For example. he flew to Brazil in an ordinary flight like normal passengers, he met people in poor area, visited hospitals, and even prisons. His speeches are inspiring and I believe he is bringing a lot to the church.
Before yesterday we had the opening ceremony in Copacabana beach. It was very impressive, to have thousands of people all along the beach, first dancing and enjoying music then praying in the opening mass and following it on the big screens although it was raining. I had mixed feelings captured in between. Although i was away from the stage, i was completely taken by the prayers. I actually love the theme of this JMJ and the hymn. Christ invites us to be his missionaries "Go and make disciples of all nations".
Another amazing thing that actually surprised me is how people love Egypt. Whenever they see the flag, they just stop us to take a photo. One day i was carrying a small one as i forgot the big one at my accomodation, and a brazilian lady stopped me just to say how much she loves our country. I really feel proud for being Egyptian and representing my country to the whole world. Despite the problems and the bad habits we have, i feel so much love for Egypt and it will always remain in my heart. I really wish that we build the Egypt we want, the Egypt we are fighting for, and truly to be up the challenge. The world is watching us and many of the people respect us but we have a lot to achieve first.
One of the things i really love about the JMJ is that whenever you see someone carrying a JMJ bag, you can just go and talk to him or her. It's like we are a big family although we don't know each other. One day i was buying a juice to drink and one of the volunteers saw me and invited me to sit with the group. We just talk, sometimes we speak too many languages at the same time, sometimes we don't understand each other but still we enjoy it. Soemtimes, we meet again, in another place, sometimes not.. but this is the beauty of the JMJ. Also, from the traditions of the JMJ is to bring souvenirs to trade with each other.. so i have already some from several countries. I wish i have brought more but i didn't have much time before I travel with all the demonstrations going on in Egypt.
Anyway, this was just a glimpse of what has been going on the past week. I will try to write another post soon. As for Brazil, it's another story. I will write more about Brazil the country later on.

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