We left early this morning from Welisso. My mama cried. It was probably a blessing that I was too frazzled over the ridiculous quantity of miscellaneous items I was trying to tote with me – acquired from Christmas packages, as well as my mama's attempts to provide her motherly support for the next two years – to feel sadness over leaving.
Upon arriving in Addis, we hit the ground running. We had just enough time to unload our luggage and carry it to our rooms before our scheduled meeting with the worldwide director of Peace Corps, who, due to the importance of Peace Corps' reentry to
In the afternoon, we officially swore in as volunteers. Swear-in was a rather incredible affair. 120 invitations were sent out; 235 attendance confirmations were received. Attendees included Peace Corps administrators, our pre-service training staff, former PCVs in
Peace Corps makes a concerted effort to reserve the title of Peace Corps VOLUNTEER for those who have sworn in, and some people were very emotional at having made the significant step from Peace Corps Trainee. I have to admit personally feeling no different after swear-in from how I felt before, but then again, I've never really been one for ceremonies. Many people likened swear-in to their college graduation ceremonies. I wouldn't know; I didn't go to mine. In any case, there were warm congratulations all around. Partly, it made me realize how much we had accomplished in making it this far. (It should be noted that out of 43 of us accepting the invitation to serve on the project, 42 swore in, which is highly unusual. The returning PCVs on this project all report swear-in rates of around 75 percent in their previous assignments.) Mostly, though, it made me realize that this journey is only just beginning.