• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Being a World Cup Volunteer in Qatar Has Been Exhilarating – YouTuber Beth Awino


Dec 19, 2022
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Beth Awino, 31, is an accountant and YouTuber who was among the 20,000 selected by Fifa to work as volunteers across the eight stadia hosting World Cup matches.

She shared her experience ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday.


“One time during my shift, I stood in the bustling crowd as Qatar played against Netherlands. There were thousands chanting in unison, some jumping up and down, cheering, and singing along to the music. The atmosphere at the stadium was electric, I could feel the floor below us shake.

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I looked around and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. I had applied as a volunteer to help out at the World Cup, and I was thrilled to be part of such a huge and historic event.

I come from Kakamega County and when I moved to Qatar in 2017 for work, I had no plans of staying for more than three years, but the money here, the working environment, and necessities conspired to have me here for five years now.

When I renewed my work contract in 2021, it clearly dawned on me that I would be here when the World Cup’s allure would pull fans from across the globe.

Last year, I started seeing a lot of Fifa World Cup-related activities. New buildings, new neighbourhoods, and an entirely new city. To be here is to be living the dream of perfection and beauty.

I love sports, but my father and brothers are football fanatics. When there is a major game, the world around them stops. I remember sitting around them as they watched past World Cup games, the cheers and excitement were palpable.

As I take part in volunteerism, I film a lot and share on my Youtube channel ‘Beth Awino’ so anyone who is a football fan and hasn’t made it to the world cup can experience vicariously through me. I am also doing it for me—call it memorabilia. It’s my first World Cup experience. Although it’s been difficult due to my tight schedule, I sacrifice a few hours of sleep to make daily updates.

As a volunteer, one among the 20,000 others selected from a pool of more than 400,000 applicants, it has been a great and exhilarating experience. I got to learn about the history of Fifa and its code of conduct, listening to other volunteers share their past experiences and training, especially where I got to learn about gestures and their meanings in different countries. Wait, I also got an opportunity to see the trophy at an intimate distance and watch major players live in action. Neymar, Mbappe, Messi, yes, all those, and Christiano Ronaldo who exited Manchester United last month.

I have had a total of 32 roles, 11 shifts and so far, 10 are done. My final shift is tomorrow, the day of the final match which gives me an opportunity to watch as a spectator.

There are eight stadiums and I have filmed for my Youtube fans in all of them. While each is unique in its own way, Al Bayt (to mean house) stadium is my favourite. It is designed in a way to pay homage to Qatari traditions and even features a hotel inside.

My greatest highlight so far is meeting and interacting with different cultures every day of the shift, watching football superstars, and learning and seeing how people are passionate about the teams they support. You’ll see them in jerseys, bodies painted and carrying mock trophies. My typical day as a volunteer starts four hours before a match and continues four hours after.

I dress up in our volunteer uniform, travel to the stadium I’ve been assigned and help with a variety of tasks, from handing out merchandise to directing fans to their seats.

I even helped a girl who couldn’t trace her dad find him and a man who had tagged his son along to get to the ground level because they could not stand the height at the top-level seats. He was so grateful that he gave me a token of appreciation.

Of the craziest things, I think being a volunteer has exposed me to the lengths that fans go to to support their teams and football. I have interacted with fans who took time off work to come to watch the games, to fans from countries like Japan who help clean up the stadiums after the matches. Did you know that fans can influence the outcome of a game?

Because of my work as a full-time accountant, I got into an agreement with my immediate supervisor that allows me to occasionally leave work early, Also, I got assigned a stadium where most matches are played in the evening, allowing me to go to the office first. Unlike other previous world cups where international volunteers covered all their expenses, here they are provided for accommodation, breakfast, and transportation.

My main reason for volunteering is my passion to serve. I have this big urge to help other people and I believe giving previous specifics helped me get in.

With the final game being tomorrow, anticipation, anxiety, and excitement floats in the air. I have a team that I am really cheering on but as with everything else, I am encouraging myself not to take it too personally because, with some past matches, I have had my eyes well with tears.”

The post Being a World Cup Volunteer in Qatar Has Been Exhilarating – YouTuber Beth Awino appeared first on Nairobi Wire.

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