How I Managed to be Going to Manaus for #Brazil2014

In July 2012 while volunteering at the 19th International AIDS Conference, I met an activist from Cameroon who had a lot to share about his experience volunteering for South Africa 2010; I was intrigued and immediately set up a google alert to be notified when applications opened for Brazil 2014. The wait wasn’t long and I put in my bid two months later; as soon as the announcement was made. The same application was used for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup but I elected not to participate in the training for Confederations Cup and as a result I was not considered for that event.

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Brazuca: the official ball of Brazil 2014

The next step was initial online training – an overview of FIFA and the World Cup, including information on the venues and host cities as well as the basics of volunteering. There was also an optional training element that dealt with “themes of social legacy” such as diversity, ethics, conflict resolution, leadership and problem solving. I did not make it through most of these elective courses as they were only offered in Portuguese. The online training and evaluation also included an assessment of language skills; I completed an online test of both my English and Spanish proficiency. This helped the organizing committee to better allocate volunteers to an area of work.

After the training was complete, it was time to schedule my Skype interview. After carefully analyzing my calendar for the next month, I picked a date thirty days away. I had completely forgotten about the interview and was not physically prepared. I answered the call with video not knowing who was on the line, don’t ever do this! When I heard the Brazilian accent, I immediately realized this was the interview. My hair was in its most natural form and my not-quite-an-Afro tuft was still in its fresh-off-the-pillow state but I couldn’t just cut the video off midstream so I smiled and carried on. It turned out to be a great interview, more like a conversation about my skills- especially my interpersonal skills- and my interest in Brazil and the tournament. The interviewer didn’t care about my hair, thankfully.

After successfully completing the interview, I indicated my availability and was soon after presented with an offer to be a Media Volunteer in Manaus. I was happy to receive my first choice of assignment in the city I most desired to visit and immediately accepted. Jamaicans still require a visa to enter Brazil for any reason so the last step of my journey was applying for one1 , which I did as soon as I received the accreditation letter from the World Cup’s organizing committee. The US$20 fee was waived, since I am a volunteer, and the visa took around five business days to process.

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I will be working at Arena da Amazônia which will host four matches in the group stage

So there you have it – I did not need to conduct a seance or join a secret society in order to participate in the World Cup. Most major events, even not-so-major ones, will rely on volunteers to ensure a successful, safe and exciting experience while maximizing the involvement of the local and global community.

I will be flying to Manaus next week and I expect to have a whale of a time, eat feijoada and meet some amazing people. Yes, I’ll keep you posted.

Walk good,


P.S. Just a heads up, the Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and they will start accepting applications for volunteers on the 28th of August, 2014.

  1. i visited Brazil in December but the visas are only valid for three months. Bummer. []
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  1. David
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    I absolutely love how you always dive into opportunities that come your way! Have fun and continue reaching for the stars!

  2. Nickie
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    As simple as that! 🙂

    I look forward to seeing Brazil through your eyes.
    Thank you for sharing this. Have fun and boldly go!

  3. Oneil
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    Enjoy the experience.

  4. Lorna
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Karee I want to be like you right now. I can’t wait for the next life. Enjoy for us all so we can live vicariously through you. Thanks for the informative blog. I’ve become a fan after 2 posts.

  5. Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    so cool, thx for sharing !!! you definitely have to write about your experience there, it will be unforgettable!!! but most important ENJOY!

  6. Dave Rodney
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    My journey and exploration into Manaus and the heart of the Brazilian Amazon had a very different routing. I went to explore the river, the jungle and rain forest after reading the last page of The Testament by John Grisham. I suspect the natural wonders of the Amazon will be eternally more riveting that any football game. Enjoy!

    • Karee
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

      Thank you, Dave! I look forward to exploring all that is the Amazon.

  7. Posted May 31, 2014 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    It’s great to see that you are doing the very thing you most want to do.

  8. Bruno
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Karee, thanks for joining my team!
    The FWC was certainly a hell of a journey, but there’s just one word to express the real feeling of all of us: amazing!


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