One December 9th, 2009we swore in as Peace Corps Volunteers. The ceremony took place in Apia at our home away from home, the Pasifika Inn.
Earlier in the morning my Manunu sister, brother and cousin stopped by to tafao (hang out) for one of the last times I would be living on the island of Upolu. Camilla, my sister, also brought with her a brand new pulatasi for me to wear to our ceremony. After spending a little time with them I finally had to retreat back inside to get ready for the big affair.
We met downstairs in the Peace Corps office for the first part of our induction. Robin Jager from the ambassadors office lead us in our official swearing in, where afterwards we had to sign the oath we gave.
We then went back up the few flights of stairs where our Manunu families were waiting. It was a wonderful ceremony. Romo, the local pastor for Manunu, was there to lead us in prayer and had some very nice things to say. We then sang our trademark song that we preformed at the Me (probably spelled wrong, but it was the gathering of churches for a kind of sing off). Our country director, Dale, and Hp, our fearless leader throughout training, explained how amazing we were for the past 2 months. Recapping just a glance of what we did during training. The CEO of MESC (Ministry of Schools Sports and Culture) talked about our program and how excited she is to see it begin. She also talked about her experiences as a child with the first wave of Peace Corps Volunteer teachers. Robin lead us in another oath specific oath for Samoa while also adding wonderful remarks of her experiences as a teacher.
Then probably, the best speech came. We elected Martini to speak on behalf of our group and he did a fantastic job representing each one of us. The previous night while we were having out amazing family dinner of Mexican food, Martini began pulling everyone aside to ask about their experiences leading up to the Peace Corps, what it means to them to be a volunteer, and the best experience they have had. He did a spectacular job summing it all up in a speech. He mentioned Uefa’s spaghetti sandwiches, and Emi’s hats. After that a few of us said a few words of thanks to our training staff. I was asked to talk about Joe.
Joe was my first language instructor here and did an amazing job teaching us (especially for this being his first teaching assignment).Joe reminded us all of the Gecko from the Geico commercials. The first day of class we did the Macarena to learn the alphabet and the fun continued to roll on with singing Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes nonstop. We played a lot of games, which sometimes got us frustrated with the language being difficult . Joe continued to push us and it paid off. We were terrified to get another teacher because of our comfort level with Joe being so high. So our first day of class with Terry, he snuck in early to write us a quick note to wish us luck and tell us he loved us.
It’s hard to believe the grueling 9 weeks of training are now over. We had a lot of fun living with each other and taught each other a lot. We know embarked on our own journeys, the real reason we came here. Our paths will cross a lot, as we continue to make up the Peace Corps family, and I am excited to see what the future entails. (Hopefully no spaghetti sandwiches!)