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Saturday, August 09, 2008
Volunteers at the North Star Media Village wait to assist visitors to the XXIX Olympiad. More than 70,000 volunteers have been employed by Olympic ogranizers in China.

BEIJING - The volunteers have been unleashed at the Olympics, and everywhere you go, day and night, they are inescapable.
One day before the start of XXIX Olympiad, one of the big stories here is overwhelming hospitality Chinese organizers are attempting to exhibit (though overwhelming isn't strong enough term).
At all turns, Olympic volunteers -- in their visible-from-afar, blue and yellow jerseys -- are at your side lending a hand, opening a door, offering to carry your bags. There are volunteers just standing there.
There are seemingly a dozen volunteers for each visitor, as Beijing organizers have employed 70,000 volunteers for the Games and have dispatched an additional 400,000 non-Games volunteers for across the city, displaying the pearly-white goodwill that Olympic officials hope will come across.
At the North Star Media Village, where many of the 20,000 journalists are staying, a dozen volunteers stand inside the dining hall, arms dutifully crossed behind backs waiting to serve breakfast at 6 am. Each tends to his or her own serving tray. One serves the "Steamed Local Fish With Winter Mushrooms". Another volunteers serves bacon - just bacon.
Over the empty tables, one volunteer holds a spray cleaner and washcloth scrubs an already spotless table. She looks as if she's desperate to help out with something, anything.
At the gleaming new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport, two dozen volunteers greet one arriving visitor nearing midnight.
In the city's trendy Chaoyang District, groups of volunteers are huddled beneath makeshift tents along busy thoroughfares, waiting for the chance to offer help.
"It's a good opportunity for my city and country", said He Yan, 21, whose job is to translate Chinese for Italian speakers.
Volunteers work up to a 12 hour shift every other day.
Those selected (nearly half a million people applied) went through 16 hours of training in which they were taught to display, according to Olympic officials, "good manners, being honored and trustworthy, conscious in environmental protection and helping others."

(Source:TRIBUNE by Kevin Pang TRIBUNE OLYMPIC BUREAU/kpang@tribune.com)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:18 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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