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Aug 27

My first day on the job – “Work Force Ops” at the Paralympic Family Hotel.

Today was my first day at work and I was trained by Luciana. She was the first to get a pirate dog pin and she loved it! My job was checking in employees and volunteers at the Paralympic family hotel to distribute meal tickets, water and to help keep the staff motivated.

When I heard “Paralympic Family Hotel”, I thought this was where the moms, dads and siblings of the athletes stay. I found out that the “Paralympic Family” means all of the world delegations of the organizing committees.  It is comprised of the International Paralympic Committee “IPC” and the National Paralympic Committees “NPC” and the International Federations “IF” for each sport.  This is the “business/organizing” side of the Paralympics, and they all stay in the same hotel.  They have a variety of privileges depending on their credentials.  The paid employees and volunteers in my area are taking care of this group of organizers.

The check-in area is in the lower floor of the hotel.  I work primarily with local employees and volunteers, and they all primarily speak Portuguese.  One of the managers, Nathan, thought I would be better suited to a different area where my English would be more of a benefit to the clients.  Nathan was working with another group to see if they could use my help.  Although I enjoyed working with everyone, and really working on my Portuguese, I didn’t get to meet people from all over the world.  I was hoping for the change so I could get a better sense of this amazing event.

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This is where I worked for the first 3 days. It’s the check-in area in the basement of the hotel.

 

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I was trained by Luciana. She was the first to get a pirate dog pin and she loved it!

 

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Meet Nathan. He is the manager that tried, and succeeded in transferring me to a department he thought would be more interesting for me. He is also helping to get Mark assigned to a roster.

 

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This is Vanessa, another manager. She also loved the Keating pin!

 

Here’s a quick lesson taken out of the Paralympic Family Guide.

The History of the Paralympic Movement and the Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are the most prestigious international sports competition for athletes with an impairment. They help
break down stereotypes and promote change in the way that society views people with an impairment.

The History of the Paralympic Games
The origins of the Paralympic Movement are associated with the name of the distinguished neurosurgeon Ludwig Guttmann,
who actively used sports as a means of treatment for patients with motor system injuries. In 1948 he organized the first sports
competitions for people with impairment at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, United Kingdom. Participants in the
competitions included veterans who had been injured during the Second World War. These Games began to be known as the Stoke Mandeville Games, named after the village in which they were held. They gained international status as early as 1952, when Dutch military personnel took part in the competitions. The IX Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games were held
in Rome in 1960, a few weeks after the XVII Olympic Games. They are considered to be the first Paralympic Games.

The Term “Paralympic“
The name Paralympic Games originally referred to the term “paraplegia“, as the first regular competitions were among people
with spinal cord injuries. When athletes with different impairments began participating in the Games, the term “Paralympic Games“ took on the meaning of “alongside the Olympics“, from the Greek preposition para (“beside“ or “alongside“). The new interpretation was meant to declare the competition among people with an impairment to be equal to the Olympic Games.

The International Paralympic Committee The first General Assembly of International Sports Organizations for People with Disabilities was a pivotal event in the development of the Paralympic Movement. On 21 September 1989, in Düsseldorf, it founded the International Paralympic Committee, an international non-profit organization that promotes the Paralympic Movement around the world. The IPC’s goal is “to enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world“.

Aug 27

My first morning walk on the beach before reporting to work at noon.

Today I made my first steps onto the beach that is across the street. As soon as I met the water, I found the biggest sand dollar I have ever seen. Then I walked up to a volleyball net with green balloons with players in green tank tops. Turns out it was beach volleyball lessons. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I have always wanted to sneak in on a high school volleyball camp to improve my game. I joined the volleyball drills on the beach to see what class I would be in. I could have stayed there all day. SO COOL! The classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 am. I hope I can make it to some if not all. I’ll have to take my lunch hour on the beach!!!! So excited!! All this was before 10 am. I had to start my first day of volunteer work at noon.

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VoleiBom is a company that offers beach volleyball lessons!

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You can also buy fresh coconut water on the beach. They have the coconuts in a cooler and cut a hole in them for you and give you a straw.

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Back to my apartment for breakfast before my first day on the job! Fresh mango and avocado with my eggs.

 

Aug 26

Meet my new best friend in Rio – Claudia!

As I was searching for a place to stay on Airbnb.com, I almost rented a room from a woman (Claudia) who had two sons.  But just before I confirmed the room, I found the apartment on the beach and chose that instead. In the process, Claudia and I became Facebook friends, and she seemed to have a lot in common with me. When I arrived in Brazil, I sent her a message and asked if she wanted to get together.  She immediately responded with lots of options and since I was pretty tired on my first day here, we decided to get together Friday night.

I had a terrific evening with Claudia on my second day in Rio. She picked me up around 9 and we went out to a great Arabian restaurant. Several of her friends from work joined us – including Roger, a previous Olympic soccer player (who also kite surfs) and Domitila, who is a reporter on SporTV. There were also a few famous actors and comedians that Claudia knew. Not a bad day 2 in Rio! And guess what… Claudia roller blades too!

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Cheers to my new friend Claudia. She lives in Rio and not too far from my apartment.

 

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Nancy, Roger and Claudia. Roger was a famous soccer player in Rio, and has won medals in past Olympics. He is not a sports broadcaster for a channel called SporTV.

 

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Nancy, Domitila and Claudia. Domitila also works with Claudia at SporTV and is a well-known personality.

 

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A typical bar/restaurant on the trendy street in town. I can walk here during the day, but not at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 26

The Official Paralympic Uniform!

The second day I traveled to downtown Rio to get my credentials and uniform. I took the scenic route by bus and connected with a new train called the VLT. Very few people spoke English. Thank goodness for my phone and Google Translate. The line was super long, but they pulled out the volunteers and moved us along. The uniforms are very nice. They include a lot; 2 pants, 3 shirts, tennis Shoes, 3 socks a jacket, hat, bag and water bottle.

 

Web-lineOne of the volunteers in line with me pointed out that my credentials didn’t look right, so after I got my uniform, I had to wait at the help desk to check.  Indeed, he was correct and I had to get my credentials reprinted.

Also in the line I met Curry.  He is also a volunteer from China and speaks English. He is in Rio about a month, but only has a 4 day assignment.  Turns out that his apartment is close to mine, so we exchanged numbers.  Everyone here uses an app called “Whatspp”  It’s like Facebook messenger and free to communicate.  Using Whatapp, I do not need to get a Brazilian telephone number.

Curry is 25 and is staying with friends at Barra beach also.  He has many friends in Brazil and is doing a lot of traveling/exploring.  For only 25, he has already traveled the world and is a great travel buddy.  You’ll see more of Curry.

 

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This is my new friend Curry from China. He is excited to just get his credentials. He is also staying in Barra da Tijuca.

 

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Trying on my new uniform at the credentialing and uniform center!

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Aug 25

Nancy settles in her Rio apartment and it’s amazing!

I settled in the first day, found the market got a few directions and ate dinner at a small kiosk restaurant across the street on the beach. The area seems to be pretty safe and everyone is very friendly and helpful. It’s winter here but still perfect beach weather day and night. I haven’t seen any mosquitoes yet

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Restaurant Kiosk across the street – on the beach!

 

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View from my restaurant table on day one!

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The logo for the Paralympics is not the Olympic Rings. They have their own logo, and there is an awesome display across the street from me!

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Here are some pictures of my apartment and the view across the street.

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This is the view from my balcony. Not a bad place to drink my coffee every morning! I still can’t believe how lucky I got on this apartment!

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Aug 25

We are volunteers for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

In 2012 after the London Olympics, Mark and I decided to volunteer for the 2016 Paralympics.  After three years of applying, interviewing, and training, the time is finally here!
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I decided to accept the one month roster that I was assigned, so I arrived on August 25. Mark arrives two weeks later, and will volunteer during the games.

The 2016 Paralympics in Rio take place after the regular Olympics,  they run from Sept 7-18.

I took an overnight flight and arrived at 8 am.  After a two bus trips, I arrived at the apartment that I found on Airbnb.com.  I tried to find a place to stay close to my work assignment.  Turns out it is next door.  Score!

 

First Day in Rio!!

Bom Dia (Good morning) from Rio everyone! I arrived in Rio on August 25.  Rio is beautiful and the beaches are amazing. My assignment is “work force ops” in the Paralympic Family Hotel.  ThIMG_5756e hotel I work in is actually the “Windsor Barra” hotel and I live next door.  My one-bedroom apartment is across the street from the ocean and I have an ocean view. I can’t believe how lucky I got with my choice.

 

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