19 Aug 2008 – Swearing in Ceremony

Today on the 50th year and 9th month anniversary of my birth, I swore my oath to become a PCV. PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER!  I have survived many hours of boring and loooong training sessions. I have also enjoyed many sessions. Laughed with trainers and other trainees, now PCVs. I have moved 6 times. Traveled to at least 5 cities or towns in Ghana. I have used tro tros, PC vehicals,  line cars, taxies, and state buses to travel around. Eaten fofo, snails, dried and salted fish and tons of chicken and rice. I have even had a Coke or two. I have greet people  in my neighborhoods. I have corrected children Yen fremay obruni ya fremay auntie vicky. They do not call me white man, they call me Auntie vicky.  As the above twi shows I  can’t spell in twi but I have at last found a langage I can spell in – Buili.

 

The sense of joy I feel today is close to euphoria.  I am happy to have my life back. It was very hard to be a student again. The days were long and I never felt that I had enough time to do a good job on any project I had to do. It feels great to have all that training behind me. and even better to have setting up my new home, meeting my new neighbors and market ladies, and starting my teaching duties ahead of me.

 

The swearing in ceremony was beautiful. Our trainers worked late into the night on Monday and got up very early on Tuesday to decorate the stage and the audience area. It made me feel like they were really proud of us. The program started on time not Ghana time either but on the stated time. We had the US ambassador there, District education director from Koforiduia, Ghana district and even the local police chief. Many press were there. We had speeches of course.  Joe B and Mary announced our sites. We all walked and received our certificates of completion. Grace hugged me and Suhyen cheered loudly for all their homestay volunteers. Then those of us who wanted to said something in our new languages. I sang a song Taa Maaa Chabbe. It means we help each other. Then the best thing of all the  PCV dance troupe made up of people from my group. If I did not have the boil I would have been in there dancing with the rest of them. That was probably my biggest disappointment of training that after all the practice I could not do the traditional dance. NEXT TIME I WILL! Whenever and whereever that is.

 

We were served a box lunch of rice and chicken. We ate with our host families. Then the ceremony was over.  Lenore and I got back to       our room and said “Wow we have a whole afternoon to ourselves. Let’s take a nap!”  I think the 50+ crowd adds a new dimension to Peace Corps activities nap time!

 

I did it. I made it through this first part. The PCVRFs told us that training is the most difficult and that as hard as it is to become part of the community, to teach and to live in a new culture at least you are more in control of what you do and how you do it.

 

Watch out Sandema here I come!

 

-vc

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