1/13/2023 - Entertainment and Well-being

Volunteer in Qatar

By Guadalupe Camurati

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Imagen de portada

Recruitment

In March 2022 I noted myself as a FIFA volunteer to be part of this adventure knowing what it meant to go to a country with the culture of Qatar. Of five thousand selected international volunteers, I was one of them.

In the face of all the prejudices the whole world put on the country that was going to host the World Cup (and my own) I could confirm both many positive and negative things.

Impossible distances

The first challenge presented the distances. It is of public knowledge that this world broke the schemes by achieving the tournament in the least possible space. He was the first to give the chance to see two parties in one day... And you'd make yourself very comfortable, even three. Despite this ease or attempt to approach, it was not so simple. As a volunteer, I hosted an establishment built especially for the world, called “Barwa Barahat Al Janoub” located two hours from the center of Doha. Not only two hours from the center, but also two hours from my work and stadiums. This made it very exhausting and unmotivating to want to go to the center, work or even make small plans like going to dinner at night. I will admit that the last two weeks I started using Uber to transfer me, to save time and will, giving you more benefit to the experience. The famous Barwa – also known as “The Carcel” “The Barwargento” – was the place where, together with the volunteers, the fans of all sides of the world stayed: mostly Argentines. At $86 a.m., the room of two beds made its price for half if you shared with someone. The international volunteers were all staying for free.

Lack of organization

Although the entry and egress of spectators was not a problem in the stadiums, the frustration came when wanting to get tickets. Throughout the tournament the official page represented a challenge, especially for games as requested as those of Argentina. Most ended up buying resale tickets a few hours before starting the game.

As for the organization of the volunteer program, I honestly felt that it was all too much in the air and I miss much there. It doesn't take my experience to be incredible and I'd do it again. Both the country and the people of FIFA “sold” to the public the idea that the volunteer It was the heart of the world, the indispensable engine for everything to work. As this is completely true, with many areas that have depended strictly on us, we do not always feel this way.

Some positive things

To start with the positive, I must say that he gave us a super complete uniform designed by Adidas. Every day, when they came to fulfill their “shift”, that is, their work shift, they received it with some other gift. Each volunteer gave an entrance to watch as a viewer to a party (to clarify that this could not be chosen, and I do not agree with the home country of each). With accommodation far but free, buffet food included in each work shift and breakfast spread every morning, essential expenses were quite covered. Removing the plane ticket, the first two weeks don't waste $100. By finishing all necessary work shifts, the final present was a Smart Watch and official FIFA gold coins.

Other

As for the negative, as I mentioned, the four hours of travel spent on going and going back from work wore a lot, added at about 8 hours that lasted every turn of work. Depending on where you will play, you could be all day doing nothing or all day stirring you. The best job was to have a role in a stadium, having to do only seven work shifts throughout the World and can see the free games – even the possibility of being close to the players or in the very bad block. As the installations ceased to be used, the volunteers moved – ending many of them working on Lusail (the famous stadium where Argentina, juice the majority of its parties and the most miserable end of the world). Other works, instead, implied to be standing all day indicating to the people the place where they had to go, as was happening at the Fan Festival and some hotels. In my punctual case, I covered "Main Media Operations Center". Acting as an office for photographers and journalists, to whom we gave accreditations and merchandising, there were the press conferences of each country. In this space, the volunteers touched us to fulfill the double work shifts that people who worked in internships, i.e. 14 shifts, in which many of them was to spend hours sitting on a desktop without anything to do. It was very frustrating to have traveled so far, hoping to be part of something unique and be so many hours doing nothing.

To my surprise, simple details like the entrance to the National Museum of Qatar and other cultural places did not become free, but all the opposite. In the face of the high admission price, many of us choose to skip these activities. Transportation, instead, if it was free. This meant that the volumes of people using this generated queues between 30 and 60 minutes to access. The volunteers didn't count on priority, so there was no more left than being patient after eight hours of work. Even more surprising it was not to receive free tickets to the parties of our own countries.

Be a woman in Qatar

As for being a woman in Qatar, going to this country was going against all my morals really. Before leaving, we had filled the head of all that we would not be able to do there, such as dressing ourselves “discovered”, or hugging, taking alcohol, among other things – however, when we arrived we find ourselves with a completely different reality, without any restriction. This does not take the discomfort I have experienced on numerous occasions. The Arab culture often goes in a group, something intimidating when passing by and feeling the penetrating alien vision, fixed in each of us. I couldn't help thinking about this same situation, in my country, how it doesn't happen and if it happens, I'd take action quickly as a police officer, get me into a place or run because we all know what it means. To join the discomfort, it was a challenge to walk the street without approaching someone to ask for their number or social networks. In space, I was touched to live situations where I touched parts of the body without consent. All this generated a contrast to the “caballerosity” that presented us, occasionally treating us as queens. “I asked for this, you have” was the ideology that applied to us. It is worth remembering that the amount of women in the country is reduced in relation to the male population.

In the staff I went with the impression of a country that, being so economically rich, focused on the demonstration of luxury and innovative architecture on the diffusion of its customs and identity. With a perhaps too structured mindset, the strategy of “repaying the material” was applied to gain its acceptance, to generate a more personal exchange, to let the essence of Qatari be entertained – which, for me, is what attracts and leaves the memory of a country.

The focus on international volunteers could have been clearer and considered, as we were the ones who came back to our countries telling the experience. Until the stage before the trip, of preparation and online selection, it was unclear. We are constantly trying to guess answers to irresuelt questions, being communication with the organization very limited during the process.

Since he was gone, everything went out much better than even themselves expected. And it is probably highlighted by other countries that have been or will be hosts.

My conclusion

Despite all the things that many of us as volunteers did not close us, it was an excellent experience. Although I would not choose to go back to visiting Qatar, finding many clashes with local culture, I take a whole international group of people I met and made the trip unique. Being part of this experience as volunteer and as a shell is something I will never forget, where I not only saw my own country win, but also Messi lift the world cup, boys.

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guadalupe camurati

Guadalupe Camurati

Graphic designer, podcaster and content creator. In 2020 I made thesis on female pleasure and since then I created content on sexual education in networks. I recently started a podcast called "The G Point".

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