November 23, 2015

Iko Poran

I received an email from Iko Poran stating that I had missed the start date for the World Cup nonetheless I could volunteer with them once the games were over. So, I decided to consider this. A week into Rio however, and this changed as I received another email from Iko Poran stating that I could actually start before the games if I still wanted to. So I left the hostel, cancelled my bus ticket to Salvador and headed to Santa Teressa where the volunteer house is situated.

The volunteer house is high up in a beautiful neighbourhood. Not too from Lapa, the famous Lapa stairs or the arches. And also close to the beautiful, chic stores of Santa Teressa. I arrived on a Saturday afternoon, with many of the volunteers in the house. Unfortunately, one of the volunteers was flying back home as her mother passed away. I felt very sad for her and many others in the house were very supportive naturally and empathetic. I was the last volunteer to join this group before the games started. Some of the others had been at the house for a week some a little more.

I shared my room with two other American girls and we had a bathroom close by. The house itself is very big with plenty of rooms. At the time, there were next to 30 volunteers in the house and around 25 at the volunteer house down the road. We had volunteers from a range of countries; England, America, The Netherlands, Cyprus, Canada and Australia. Most people had arranged for their volunteering experience, months in advance to insure they were in Rio for the World Cup.

I met the volunteer co-ordinator, Zac on Monday, he explained more about the project, I had my induction and a walking tour of the area. The house is surrounded by many iconic and beautiful buildings. He explained the various projects and how I would be based at Borel favela. I would be taking over from Lorena, who volunteered here for six weeks. I would be teaching women English twice a week and working with children in the ceshe for the remainder of the time. There are a whole host of projects, from surfing, to gardening and to teaching children football. There is a lot of flexibility in regards to what project you can chose. And to support all volunteers, two week of Portuguese classes are offered to help enrich your experiences.