Earlier this year, I signed up for the Brasil Voluntário program for volunteering during the World Cup. It was at a moment when I was most concerned about how tourists would be welcomed to this wonderful country during the Cup. The protests were on, people making a mess in the streets, and negativity about the event's arrival was at an all-time high.
I participated in the four-week online course. It was much harder than I thought it would be and took me probably a total of 10 hours to complete. Yes, I was even forced to prove that I speak English. I wrote them a letter that said if they noted my ID document, they would see that I am American. Although it has been pointed out to me that many Americans do not speak English. And I don't just mean Texans (haha, can't resist).
I had two major concerns during the coursework. The first was that one of the sections, on first aid, was teaching people how to give CPR without even a video. Compressions, etc. Personally I think that could have been better done with a video. And secondary to that issue (an addendum if you will) is that the course then went on to explain that if CPR didn't work, there was always a defibrillator around and that should be used next. Ummm, what? You are putting a defibrillator into the hands of the untrained. Please, no.
The second major concern was the section on the Environment. There were five main subject areas, one of which was the environment. No, not recycling. Knowing which parts of the country were pampas, tropical, sub-tropical, etc. and all the terminology. Like a tourist was going to walk up to me and say "excuse me, is Belo Horizonte in the pampas or in the cerrado?" What were they thinking?
So, I'm proud to say I passed the online course, even with a 44% in the Environment. All scores were supposed to be above 50% but I think they gave me a "bye" since I speak English and they are desperate for English-speakers. Unfortunately I cannot make the in-person training so my flirtation with volunteering for the Brazil World Cup is over. Still I'll always have this letter to prove I made it:
Você está convidado(a) para a próxima etapa de seleção e preparação do Brasil Voluntário para a Copa do Mundo FIFA Brasil 2014. No treinamento presencial teremos quatro encontros, realizados nos dias 26 de abril, 03 de maio, 17 de maio e 24 de maio. A cada final de semana apresentaremos uma temática diferente e complementar aos conteúdos desenvolvidos no treinamento virtual,fundamental para sua atuação, caso seja selecionado(a) como voluntário da Copa.
Good luck, volunteers. And yes, Belo Horizonte is in the pampas. Or wait, no it's not. Go study.