*I’ve tried several times to upload photos, but don’t think it’s going to be possible here in the village!
On May 3, 2018, the Peace Corps family received 72 new volunteers. For the first 11 weeks in country, we technically were Peace Corps Trainees. It was not until we took an oath at the swear-in ceremony that we officially become Peace Corps Volunteers.
Everyone dressed in their best tailored chitenge (traditional cloth) outfit, including Adam’s zip-off pants. Then we shuffled over to the Peace Corps Zambia office for the ceremony, where we finally got to see the famous insaka (hut) with Peace Corps Zambia engraved on the roof.
After a few administrative tasks and waiting around at our assigned seats, the ceremony began by welcoming the guests of honor. We sang the Zambian and American national anthems and listened to speeches, including those given by volunteers in local language. The ambassador, an RPCV, gave an entertaining and wise speech. He closed with some final words: don’t be stupid! He then led the oath as we lifted our right hands and repeated:
I, (first, last name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
The Ambassador deemed us official PCVs! Next, the country director led the next oath:
I (first, last name) promise to serve alongside the people of Zambia. I promise to share my culture with an open heart and open mind. I promise to foster an understanding of the people of Zambia, with creativity, cultural sensitivity, and respect. I will face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination. I will embrace the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I serve and beyond. In the proud tradition of Peace Corps’ legacy, and in the spirit of the Peace Corps family past, present, and future- I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.
That last sentence felt good! So proud to be part of the Peace Corps family and excited to get to work!
What’s next? Travel to Kasama, Northern Province with 22 fellow volunteers, buy what we need to move into our empty house, and finally move into our home for the next two years. The first three months are dedicated to getting integrated into the community.