Husband and wife Rafael Ruscher and Patricia Dourado are what you might call full-time volunteers. The 32-year-old systems analyst and his other half, a 38-year-old massage therapist, dedicate their lives to helping others, devoting their energies to people in need and throwing their weight behind projects that can change people’s lives for the better.

Six years man and wife, Rafael and Patricia did not think twice about applying to take part in the opening ceremony of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 last weekend. Faithfully attending all the rehearsals, they were just two of the 2,600 volunteers selected to perform in the show directed by carnival designer Paulo Barros, staged before the game between hosts Brazil and Japan.

As fate would have it, the two performed alongside each other during the ceremony at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, even though they had made their applications at different times.

Such was the excitement he felt in taking part in a historic occasion for his country, that Rafael was moved to give an account of his memorable experience in Brasilia last weekend:

 “I always volunteer whenever I see the opportunity to help build something big, something meaningful. I was drawn to the FIFA Confederations Cup because of the magnitude of the event and I wanted to play my part, to contribute to the competition in some way.

After two months of rehearsals, Patricia and I were full of expectation. On the eve of the opening ceremony we went to sleep with our thoughts filled by the unveiling of the stadium. We woke early and I remembered to put my right foot on the floor before I got out of bed. After all, it was such an important occasion for us that I just had to get luck on our side.

We took our time getting ready, devoting our attention to every detail. We drove to the Mane Garrincha and parked close to the stadium. My heart started beating fast when I saw just how amazing it looked.

There was a party atmosphere on the bus that took the performers to the Claudio Coutinho Gymnasium, which was the meeting point for everyone prior to the final journey to the Mane Garricha. Everyone was singing at the top of their voices: “I’m Brazilian and proud to be so, with lots of love!”

We reached the gym and the tension rose as the big moment neared. My hands were sweating even. Patricia and I were due to take part in the third act of the ceremony, which took the participating nations as its theme, and we were wearing typical Spanish costumes. Just before we went out on to the pitch, we met up with some of our fellow “Spaniards”, gave each other a hug and thanked God for the opportunity He had given us.

Patricia and I took up position in readiness for the start of the show. The performers in act one went out on to the pitch and were followed by our colleagues in the second act. Then came the point of no return. There was just one thing in our heads: to do things just right and help put on a great show. The applause and cheers from the stands gave us the courage we needed.

We were waving and smiling broadly as we walked on to the pitch and we felt so proud. We formed a human circle, with each participating nation being presented as the circle went round.

Everything happened very quickly but I’ll never forget the sight of the crowd on their feet applauding. Everything was worth it – all the effort we put it, the hours of rehearsals and all the practice until we got the routines just right. We really felt as if we had done our job.

After the show we returned to the gymnasium to watch the Brazil game. A Seleção played a great match at the Mane Garrincha, setting the seal on a perfect day for us all.”