Saturday, August 9, 2008

Swearing In…No longer a Peace Corps trainees,

Last Wednesday (august 6th) We were finally sworn is as Peace Corps volunteers, and are no longer trainees. This event took place at the embassy and once again I was impressed by the embassy. I guess one is surprised by the stark differences between what’s outside and the embassy grounds. The event took place under a covered patio outside. We don’t have an ambassador at the moment and the Peace Corps country director is on vacation. So the assistant country director presided over the event. The event was pretty simple, nothing too fancy, but still a big moment. I really can’t explain why it was a big moment, but I guess it has to do with the extremely lengthy process to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.

When you sign up to become a volunteer you first have to fill out a very lengthy application. Second, you are called in for an interview. If the interview goes well, then you are nominated to be a volunteer. These first three step can take 6 to 8 months. Then you have to wait another 2 to 3 months to find out where in the world you are going to be nominated for. Fourth, you receive your invitation to serve. Once you agree to the invitation, you are still not a volunteer yet. Technically, you are agreeing to participate in the “training”. Once you arrive at staging (the U.S. city you fly to immediately before departing to country of service) the Peace Corps begins preparing you for what you will see and do immediately after arriving in the country of service. Fifth, you arrive in country. This seems great because your surroundings are new and exciting. Yet at the same time, you don’t know what to expect. At this point the Peace Corps informs you that, still you are not volunteers. We are Peace Corps aspirants in training. From the time you turn in your application to his point, can sometimes be as long as 2 years. This is the only explanation I can give for the grandeur of the swearing in ceremony. It just amazing how simple the ceremony is but also how a wave of emotions hit you at the same time. So anyway, we swore our allegiance to the U.S. and then were allowed to enjoy the food. Most of the volunteers decided to spend the last few days in the capital before going to their site for the next few months.

While in Asunción I decided I was going to have a BIG FAT HAMBURGER from BURGER KING (burger KANG, as Steve and I would say it). So I walked to 25 blocks and found Burger King. I went inside and ordered a double whopper and the biggest French fries I could get. I didn’t finish either one, but boy was in heaven for the short time I was stuffing that hamburger in.
Anyway, below I have attached some pictures of the swearing in ceremony.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Ok, so I'm an avid Mark blog reader! My brother works in the embassy, so you guys must have crossed paths! I should have given you my family's info had I known you would be going back to the capital. Anyway, I will still email you some info.