Saturday, March 3, 2012

Special Olympics Part 2

The Special Olympics also wanted volunteers, and so I volunteered to help at the awards ceremony on Sunday. They requested 24 volunteers, 8 each at 3 different events, and asked for us to be there from 11 to 1 pm.

We met in front of Mega, the mall near our home, at 10:30 pm. The teacher who lives in my building was also going, and so I got a ride with him.

We noticed that the people who didn't have rides were waiting for the bus at the bus stop in front of Mega. We tried to tell them that no bus goes to Alau from here. But they didn't listen. And I wonder if it's in part my fault; I told the principal that buses 12 and 43 go to Alau, and she had probably told them. What I didn't think to add was where those buses stop, which is on the other side of Mega and across the street, not directly in front.

We arrived at Alau and entered. Sometime after the last year's Asian Winter Games ended, Alau opened for public ice skating. I had asked the principal if it would be open for us, after the ceremony, and she had said that she'd been told no. She was wrong.

We went down and under the speed-skating track to come up in the center. In the middle Alau has two ice skating rinks, as well as a small cafe-area, with seating and some booths for food. Lots of people were ice skating, and they looked as if they had no connection to the Special Olympics. I really wish we'd brought our ice skates!

We waited for a while. A booth was selling pizza-in-a-cone, and I ordered one for Sophia. She'd had one before, at the airport in Almaty, and had liked it, but this one was gross--they microwaved it! Ew! Sophia didn't eat much.

The group who'd been waiting for a bus arrived--they'd taken a taxi.

I never heard anything directly; few of us spoke Russian, and so when a Russian-speaker heard news, it was passed along the lines until it got to me. But apparently whoever was organizing this event didn't know why we'd shown up so early. They told us we could watch the first awards ceremony, get an idea of what we'd have to do. Well, we watched, and there didn't seem to be any volunteers or any need for any!

Sophia attends an hour a week of religious education -- preparation for First Communion -- and she'd missed last week, so I had her take out her "First Penance" book and read and do her work. Near us was a group of Special Olympics athletes; one was very interested in the book and asked to look at it. I let him, and he spent quite some time carefully looking through the book. I wonder what he thought of it....

Finally, we decided that we could leave and we did. On the way out, I asked about ice skating -- 1000 Tenge to rent ice skates, so around the price of the "Ice Club" we usually go to. They also rent speed skates here, that'd be fun to try one day!

We then went to Mega to eat lunch with friends; after that, we went across the street from Mega to ice skate in a parking lot. After watching others ice skate for an hour, I was really dying to go!

We had about 30 minutes of ice skating before it was time to leave for church. We ran into 3 boys who go to our school. They enjoyed ice-skating towards the edge and then jumping into a pile of snow.

And so that was my attempt to volunteer.

No comments:

Post a Comment