Second time in a lifetime experience for Jamaican in Rio

by

August 08, 2016
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Jamaican volunteer for the Rio2016 Olympics, Yashekia 'Shea' Powell, inside the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

She spends much of her life travelling to every corner of the planet, but there's hardly a more exciting place to be than Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games.

That was the lure for Jamaican travel blogger Shea Powell, who is in the Brazilian city as one of the more than 50,000 volunteers at the Rio 2016 Games.

Powell, who is assigned to help with faulty tickets and seating problems, as well as language services, is a fluent Spanish speaker. She says her decision to give her time to the Games was in search of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one she is anticipating here.

"I travel for a living, so I am always open to trying new things, experience new things, and in the meantime, give back," said the 26-year-old travel blogger from Thompson Town in Clarendon.

"I want to have an experience that will probably be once in a lifetime."

Powell, who is making her second trip to Brazil after a short stay two years ago, says her experi-ence has been nothing but positive as she looks towards the rest of the Games and experiencing much more of the country.

"I've always heard really good things about Brazil and its people, but also some really negative ones. [I've had] nothing but great experiences so far, and I'm hoping it will be like that for the rest of my time here," she said.

"The Brazilians get so excited and overjoyed when I'm being asked where am I from and I say, Jamaica. Their response is: "Ayyyy. Que muito legal!" (Oh that's really cool!) Then I get dozens of questions after. Not to mention, how much they adore Usain Bolt and Bob Marley. They all want to visit. I love it!"

WASN'T WORRIED

Powell said that despite the negative news surrounding the build-up to the Games, she was never particularly worried about travelling here, even if that was not always the case with her family.

"I have visited Brazil before, so coming here for Rio 2016 wasn't so ... nervewracking for them. After all, they are now asking for gifts, so I think they are OK," she laughed. "I kind of had an idea what it would be like where the country itself is concerned. To be honest, I wasn't overly worried. I think my family was or is more worried that I am."

Powell, who writes about her travel experiences at www.theworldupcloser.com, her trip to Brazil was sponsored and she is not expecting to return home any time soon, with a stop in Iceland also on her schedule.

- A.L.

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