Friday, July 18, 2014

A year after, JMJ Rio, the beginning

14/07/2013: Meeting with the group

I arrived in Rio on the 14th of July 2013. It was a long trip, Cairo to Amsterdam then Amsterdam to Rio. I started to feel the mood and the ambiance just before going on board of the 2nd flight as there was a group of pilgrims having fun and waiting to board. I couldn't tell from which country they were but it was obvious they were going for the JMJ.
I had a nice trip sitting next to a person from Madagascar working in the Netherlands and a lady who is half French half Brazilian. we had long discussions about many things, and of course about what was happening in Egypt as it was right after the famous June 30th.

Finally I arrived to Rio at night and went straight to the Che Lagarto hostel where i was supposed to meet some of my friends for the 1st time. We knew each other from whatsapp months before the JMJ. This is one of the great things about JMJ, is that you get to know people from all around the world and with the new technologies like whatsapp and facebook, and distances and time zones are no longer a barrier.

Caipirinha com Maracuja
We decided to go out for the night.  We ended up a bigger group as others from the hostel joined us. We went to a club we heard there was a party there to join but it was already raining heavily and when we arrived there we found it closed. So we headed to another place where we can have a drink and eat something and i tried my 1st caipirinha, but it was with maracuja!!

15/07/2013: Volunteer kit retrieval, 1st trial

Our group (9) moving from Che Lagarto to the Cathedral
We moved early morning to go to the Cathedral where we were supposed to get our volunteer kits, with the cards for food and transportation then to go to our respective accommodation. No one of my friends was assigned with me in the same accommodation as no one was with me in the team of communication department except one Egyptian guy but he was assigned to another place.

Inside Catedral Metropolitana
de Sao Sebastiao
It seems we were not early enough as there were already long queues of volunteers inside the church, all with their luggage. We met the rest of our friends who arrived earlier in the morning to Rio so more or less, all the gang was complete. In order to pass the time, people started to talk together, taking photos with flags, singing... I couldn't find my big stick inside the bag to put my flag but it didn't really matter cos we met the most craziest and loudest Egyptian in the whole Brazil :). I knew before travelling that we were 6 Egyptian volunteers, 2 of them were already my friends and i was wondering if i would meet the rest. I met 2 that day and the 3rd one the day after and it turned out to be someone i know also.
So our dear friend, who can considered as the most famous volunteer after Antonio Mateo (the manager of international volunteers) in no time made people singing Egito Egito... we can say that Egypt's name was even louder with the echo of many others from around the world.

The queues were moving slowly and slowly.. people started to help each other, like someone going
It was kind of a problem because we didn't receive our cards for food and transportation and we had to manage. Volunteers arranged with each other, so some would go out to get anything to eat for the rest of the group while others wait to save the turn... till maybe at the afternoon where we heard that there are no more kits and we have to leave and return the next day.
Photos with volunteers from Nicaragua & my friends from
Egypt and Singapore
Meeting with Paula who turned to be my colleague in
social media team and Jamil, 1 of the 3 Jordanians volunteers
They tried to organize people by accommodation so the group goes to the place together but i couldn't find anyone staying in the same place as me.. so i went on my own. I didn't have the exact address as i was supposed to first to report to a church and they would show us later on the place we should go to. I arrived finally to the church, it was only few stops by metro from the cathedral. It was a little bit an adventure moving around with my luggage but i made it. At the church, we were a small group and we stayed for a while before taking us to a nearby place. While waiting, we had small talks, getting to know each other. I was happy cos they were from many countries and they were all assigned to the social media team.
They took us in cars to a convent of nuns. We tried to settle, we were more than the number of available beds so we got mattresses to sleep on...

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