Me Being Important

When I watch a South African sports team or sports person, and they win of course ūüėČ I feel proudly South African, but yesterday I felt not only proud, but I privileged to be of the Rainbow Nation.

After bumping into Brian on the platform at Surbiton (he is also a Games Maker and we have seen each other regularly on our journeys into Stratford) I arrived at Westfield for my pain au chocolat and coffee at Pret. There are so many of us in our uniforms and we instantly make eye contact and launch into conversations about what job we have at the Games and how excited we are about the experience. I sat opposite a man who has a very interesting story about being made redundant, travelling and his complete change in career. He was high up in mining and now exports cars to Malaysia. He is working in the stadium for the Games and is chuffed to bits to be involved. I was almost late for my shift..

Going through security has become one of my favourite parts of the day. We are met by a group of G4S staff who are friendly, engaging and chatty. The press was filled last week with the shortfall of security staff which prompted the military to be deployed. After having my accreditation checked and gone through airport security, I check in at the workforce to claim my meal vouchers, pick up our newsletter and collect a bottle of water. Yesterday there were 2 policemen at the water table.

6 0f the 7 of the team working with Team SA

“Amazing job you guys are doing protecting the water!”

“Yes, well, we are working hard at it. We even have 2 back up officers (pointing to fully kitted police officers with big guns) if it kicks off at the water table”.

The banter is always a great way to start the day…

One of the guys at the scanner thanked me for being a volunteer yesterday…how wonderful!!

I arrived at the Team SA office and my name was down to go to the SA High Commission to being the Sports Minister and his entourage to the Olympic Village. How exciting!

We did the car paperwork and collected the Olympic liveried BMW and the Citroen people carrier, I picked up Patience (the Chef de Mission) at the protocol entrance and headed to South Africa House.

We had a lovely journey to South Africa House chatting about London and sport. The Chef went in to meet the Sports Minister, and Kumers and I parked in the diplomatic parking next to ‘RSA 1’. Sooo cool!

Waiting for the delegation between Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square was such experience. People walking past stopped to ask what we were doing at the Games and wished us luck, tourists asked for directions and advice and other Olympic workers and volunteers chatted briefly. An American family with a little girl stopped to ask if they could get a photo with us. We posed in front of the Olympic BM, with the Chef, (who had popped out to update us). They family were so happy!

Then the entourage emerged, and as we headed through the City I pointed out some landmarks when it seemed appropriate (I am a City Guide! I wasn’t going to drive past some of the City’s most amazing sites and not say anything!)

The vehicle screening was interesting. These areas are manned by the military, and we got out of the car while they did the sweep Рunder the car, in the boot, under the bonnet etc. The army boys were so lovely! Friendly, efficient and enthusiastic! We chatted while the car was checked and then I drove the delegation to the Protocol Lounge where they met the Minister and where they were briefed.

Kumers and I rushed to the dining room to get something to eat before the South African Welcome Ceremony. As we got back I was asked to meet the Minister and his entourage at their dining room and accompany them to the Welcoming Ceremony. We took a slow stroll to the Village Plaza, and the event began…

Getting ready for the Welcoming Ceremony

What a fantastically informal, fun, professional and entertaining show. The performers did their bit in between the teams. They used their act to manoeuvre the groups to where they wanted them. So colourful and energetic!

After each county’s flag raising, gift exchange and welcome by the Village Mayor, we were shepherded out and there were smiles and laughter all round.

You tube clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB1mafaz1f0&feature=plcp

Wow is all I can really say….

What a day! 

Dawn Denton©

www.dawndenton.wordpress.com

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One Comment on “Me Being Important”

  1. Vicki says:

    Doon, thanks for sharing. I find myself grinning when I read your blog as I just know how much you must be loving every minute. If you see Roland Schoeman please tell him Tjaart and I say hi and we hope to see him this weekend. Yes, even though we don’t have tickets we changed our tickets back to SA by a couple of days to soak up some of the Olympic vibe. Do you think we can meet up? It’s Sun/Mon/Tues xxxxxx


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