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The First Day !
It was an early start - 5.00am - although the Olympic Park is not too far from where I am staying and the start time was 8.00am I was very unsure as to where to go,hence the early start. But you know, when you set your alarm for that sort of time ,as the night goes on, you wake up constantly awaiting the big blast - so I am not sure about how much sleep I had. But - it was a lovely sunny clear morning when I arrived ,everything looked bright colourful particularly the wild flower bedding. The number of people buzzing around on a Sunday morning was also a suprise particularly the large number of volunteers - like me- dressed in red,grey & purple.
I found the "workforce check in" where I was given a gift - a journal - very appropriate - and more importantly my meal voucher. With these firmily in my hands I went on to find the venue for the first briefing -here many others had also set out early from all corners of London. It is the fantastic diversity of the people I am working with that is so wonderful - all ages,colours,backgrounds from every part of the UK. One young woman was from the West Coast of Scotland and is having her holiday as a volunteer "gamesmaker" another was an accountant having been recruited through her firm.The phrase I hear many times when people discuss the reasons why they have decided to volunteer at the games is simply "its a once in a lifetime opportunity" - you cant argue with that. The tasks being carried out are hugely varied requiring skill ,dedication and initiative, so its no "holiday" but a very solid days work.
The other gossip around the tea break - was the stuff in the press about empty seats at some sporting events - apparently much of this is due to corporate supporters including some countries not using their ticket allocations -the venue I am working at is full to the rafters! Investigations are currently going on but one thing I would advise is that even if you are unable to buy a ticket for the event of your choice - our family drew a blank on everything we looked at - try and get down to the park just to take in the atmosphere - you wont regret it!
One of the highlights of the day was making my way to the canteen for lunch. Here hundreds of people,security,armed forces,police,volunteers were in an orderly queue - it was efficently dealt with most enjoying what was on offer. It was on the return journey to the venue I was working in that the heavens opened - even the supplied umbrella was not strong enough to keep the wet stuff off and the lovely special red /grey trainers are not made for H2O - yes the rain is back !
There is still something I am trying to work out - its probably too early in my experience here to put my finger on it. But I do detect a different mood in the people I talk to ,who sometimes even smile at me while I walk by - its the uniform - I hear you say - people say hello - they note your existence. Someone was saying to me that when the torch relay was going through some of the bits of London that were hit by last years riots, that there were thousands of people on the streets - it was great - so friendly - it was "like a public holiday"!
Anyway - this is all my brain is good for this evening particularly as I lost the first piece I did on this computer -so this is it for now particularly after a can or two of beer!
29th June 8.45pm
Yinnon Ezra MBE