Saturday, July 19, 2014

A year after, JMJ Rio, trainings and sightseeing

17/07/2013: General training for all volunteers & visiting Pao Açucar

On the way to the metro station from my accommodation
Yes, that's right. We take our volunteering job so seriously. The 1st training day it was general for all volunteers to know more about the general important information like in case of emergency, the schedule of events.. There were different sessions for the different languages so me and my friends attended the English one. We were gathered in a big auditorium. We had the chance to see some of the volunteers that were communicating with us about the JMJ before travelling.

Australia, North America, Africa and Asia :)
After the session, we decided to go and have lunch. It was a new area so we were just walking till we find a small restaurant. We were just a small group, mainly most of the Arab countries (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt) as well as the only volunteer from Iran. Then other friends were also looking for a place so I tried to explain to them how to reach where we are on whatsapp and sending them our location. Actually, whatsapp was our most important way of communication since we were working with different teams and working in different areas so whenever we try to arrange for something, we just discussed over whatsapp.. of course by now most of us had a Brazilian number to ease the communication. 

After that some went off right after lunch and the rest we just went walking. We found a little church so we went inside to visit it. The priest when he knew we are voluntarios, invited us inside and asked to take a photo with us. He told us that this is the 1st church for Saint Rita outside Italy and it was very old (built in 1722). The style of the church was different than in Europe. I felt like it was bright and with much decorations. He was so kind and offered for us cold water to fill our bottles.
Group photo with the priest at Saint Rita Church

On our way up to Pao de Açucar

We had still all afternoon so we decided to go to Pao de Açucar or Sugar Loaf as called in English. It is a hill where we go up on a teleferic and you can see Rio de Janeiro and the famous Corcovado hill. We arrived just on time to watch the beautiful sunset over Rio. It was an unforgettable scene.

Panorama view of Rio de Janeiro at sunset from Pao de Açucar

18/07/2013: Communication team training & visiting Corcovado

View from the Media Center at Copacabana
This is the 1st day at the Media Center where we had the communication department training. Since all the girls with me in the accommodation are volunteers in communication, we headed up all together to the media center situated at the end of Copacabana beach. We didn't know that the metro ended 1 station earlier than the map so we had to walk a bigger distance to arrive. I didn't have much time to enjoy the walk on the beach as we were already late and we had to move fast to catch up but i managed to take few photos. 

Schedule of shifts
Arriving at the center, they gave us special tags so that we can move freely inside and outside. I was impressed by the media center. It was very crowded in the auditorium and we had to sit on the floor to attend the presentations. We had a quick tour after finishing the presentation and met the team of social media. We were divided by languages and for each language there were official accounts on facebook and twitter and our role was to manage them. for the Arabic language, we were 4, 2 from Syria and 2 from Egypt. We were luckier than others who were alone for their language so they had to work all the time.

Posing with my friends at Corcovado

After staying for a while in the media center and getting everything set for the work, i went to Corcovado. I had already reserved a ticket the day before to go by train as my friends advised me that it's very crowded and if i just show off i could wait for long time before finding an empty seat. 
It was very crowded and very difficult to take photos cos this is what everybody is doing. I tried to look for someone who seems to know about photography to take me a nice shot with the Redeemer. The place was full of volunteers, pilgrims and others with flags from all nations. Luckily, i found some of my friends up there and we took some photos together. The view from the top was amazing. I never imagined Rio to be that beautiful.

The view of Rio from Corcovado
Cristo Redentor, Corcovado
Cristo Redentor at night

I stayed there till the night. On my way back by train, i met a French freelance photographer who was there to cover the JMJ. It's so amazing how you can meet people everywhere and you can start any conversation. It's like a one big family and it doesn't matter from where you come from or what language you can speak.

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