Volunteers of the world

Volunteers of the world

Oct 11, 2023

Early Wanderlust

From the earliest days of my childhood, travel has been a constant companion. My mother, with her adventurous spirit, would whisk my siblings and me away on what felt like journeys through the skies. Those were the moments that ignited the wanderlust in my soul.

The Russia2018 World Cup: A Tale of Preparation

Fast forward to a few years later, and I found myself standing once again at the gates of the Russian Consulate. This time, however, I was armed with a wealth of experience and a newfound confidence. The reason for my return? The highly anticipated Russia2018 World Cup.

Rio de Janeiro: Where the Journey Begins

To provide context, let's rewind two years. It was the pinnacle of my volunteering journey. I had just landed in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, ready to lend a helping hand. The vibrant atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the sheer joy of being part of such a monumental event were indescribable. There were minor hiccups, of course, but they were overshadowed by the overwhelming sense of celebration.

An Unexpected Turn at Rio Galeao

Amidst the festivities, fate led me to a shift at the Rio Galeao airport. Little did I know, this shift would be the starting point of my journey towards the 2018 World Cup. It was there that I crossed paths with an intriguing fellow volunteer. We shared stories of our parallel paths, his volunteering journey beginning at the Brazil 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup at the tender age of 18 then to volunteer at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. Hours flew by as we discussed the nuances between events, and the level of play that defined each tournament.

The Promise of a Reunion

As the day wound down, we both realized that chance encounters in the vastness of the volunteer realm were rare. With exchanged details and a promise to meet at the next World Cup, our paths were set to converge once more. It was only later that it dawned on me—I was bound for Russia, a country and event I knew little about, especially in the context of football.

A Dream Materializes: IT Volunteer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™

Six months later, an email arrived with the words I had been eagerly awaiting: "You have successfully passed the selection process..." The thrill was palpable. I was now an approved "Information Technology" function volunteer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, sadly my friend from Brazil didn't make it through the selection process.

Moscow: The First Stop

With passport in hand, bureaucratic hurdles cleared, and visa stamped, it was time to board the flight. The journey began in Moscow, a brief stop before the main event in Nizhny Novgorod. The initial disorientation faded as I navigated the terminals, bound for a city pulsing with World Cup excitement.

Settling In at the University Dorm

Navigating Nizhny Novgorod led me to a taxi driver who guided me to the welcoming embrace of the University Dorm, a hub for volunteers from across the globe. Here, friendships were forged, stories exchanged, and a shared passion for the event ignited.

IT-Media Crew: Where Technical Prowess Meets Media Magic

Within the volunteer realm, I found myself among the IT-Media crew. Here, we delved into the technical underpinnings of communication and media operations during matches. From assisting photographers to aiding journalists in the Media centers, every moment was a fusion of technology and media magic.

The Global Tapestry of Comrades

In my team, there was a kaleidoscope of nationalities - Spain, Rwanda, Egypt, Italy, Pakistan, Mexico ,Brazil, China, and more from all around Russia. We became a tight-knit unit, sharing not only tasks but also countless memories. Nights out, international evenings, and cultural exchanges filled our time outside the stadiums.

Exploring Beyond the Pitch

In between matches and volunteer duties, I carved out moments to explore the rich tapestry of the city. The Volga River unfolded a landscape of history and beauty, each vista captured in my favorite hyperlapse. Cultural activities, like crafting my own Ocarina, further deepened my connection to the land.

[My Okarina] https://photos.app.goo.gl/3Jr8Uq37eHtZPoX18

[Nizhny Hyperlapse] https://www.instagram.com/p/BlBE8WKDsLb/

A Farewell, and a Glimpse of Immortality

As the final match drew near, the bittersweet reality set in. The time had come to bid adieu to an event that had transformed us all. Standing on the tribune, we volunteers were immortalized in a group photo, a testament to our collective endeavor. Then came the dismantling, the temporary structures yielding to the passage of time.

Tears of Joy and Sadness: A Pitch-Side Epiphany

For the first time, I stepped onto the pitch, and the weight of the moment settled over me. The realization of the colossal effort and the profound impact of the World Cup washed over us all. Tears flowed, a mixture of joy and sadness, as we said our final goodbyes. This, I knew, was a chapter forever etched in my memory—the volunteers of the world.

Embark on such adventures, and you'll find that the world is not merely a place on a map, but a living, breathing tapestry of stories waiting to be lived.

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