This morning started with a sort of activities fair. the Volunteers Colombia staff set up various stations in a meeting room at the hotel, and all the new teachers cycled through them. At the various stations we had our blood drawn (Colombian national ID documents, which we all will get, must list the holder’s blood type), signed a bunch of paperwork, and had the opportunity to buy cell phones and Colombian SIM cards.
In the afternoon, we had training sessions on safety in Colombia, using the national health insurance, and how to deal with culture shock. We also all took a group picture wearing our new Volunteers Colombia t-shirts.
Tonight the Colombian soccer team was playing Paraguay in the Copa America tournament, so after dinner a big group of us headed to a park where the coordinators told us the game would be projected outside on a big screen.
There were a few hundred Colombians who had come out to watch; most sat on blankets in front of the screen. Everyone was wearing their yellow Colombia jerseys. Many people had brought their dogs and every single dog was also wearing a yellow jersey (from what I have seen so far, Bogoteños seem to really love their dogs!) People were cheering and blowing on vuvuzelas, and one guy had brought a big drum, which he beat on to lead the crowd in songs and cheers.
During halftime a cameraman came and started filming (for what, I don’t know). Everyone swarmed around him, jumping and singing and screaming “Colooombia!” And Colombia won!
Overall it was a very fun scene, though it was really cold! I was wearing a sweater, sweatshirt, and insulated jacket, and was still shivering by the end. Bogotá is definitely not a tropical destination.
Earlier in the day I’d heard a lot of stories about people’s phones getting stolen in Colombia, and as a result I was too scared to bring my phone or camera and couldn’t take any pictures. It turned out to be a very friendly event, not at all crowded, and there were police and security all over the place – so I am pretty sure it would have been fine. Live and learn!