domingo, 25 de diciembre de 2011


When I first heard about the Peace Corps I was in high school and remember being truly struck by what a remarkable idea it was and what an amazing experience it could be.  However, I was quick to dismiss the thought of me joining the Peace Corps. I really and truly thought it was something I would never be capable of accomplishing, being barely brave enough to face high school each and every day.  Well, a lot has changed since high school (thank god!), and after pushing myself for years, living abroad and volunteering in many capacities around the world, after an application process of well over a year and training for two months here in Colombia, I've finally done it! December 14, 2001 I took the oath of a Peace Corps Volunteer, the same oath that the President takes at his swearing in, and accomplished a life-long dream.

Colombia was actually one of the first countries that Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in in 1961 shortly after Kennedy's memorable call to action. However, in 1981, due to safety concerns for the volunteers Peace Corps was forced to close the Colombia program.  After 30 years PC has started rebuilding the Colombia program here along the coast.  Two groups of Response Volunteers, volunteers who have already served their 2(+) years in other Peace Corps posts and have responded to a need the Peace Corps has, have worked hard to build the cornerstone of the TEL (Teaching English for Livlihoods) program.  However, the 22 of us who swore in together, were the first to do so in Colombia in 30 years!  This milestone also happened to align with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps.  Due to all of these circumstances, we had the pleasure of having Stacy Rhodes, Peace Corps Chief of Staff, fly in from Washington to attend our swearing-in Ceremony.  Along with Stacy the Governor of the Department, the Mayor of Barranquilla, and the US Abassador were all in attendance. Kinda a big deal!

PC Country Director of Colombia, PC Chief of Staff, Governor of Atlantico, US Ambassador to Colombia, Mayor of Barranquilla, and RPCVolunteer who served in the very first group to Colombia
 Due to the many important political figures in the room and the growing interest in bilingualism in Colombia, there was quite the media presence!  There were several newspaper articles written about the ceremony and all of our smiling faces were on the television news as well! For any of you spanish speaking folk, feel free to check out this link from the biggest Barranquilla newspaper:

 Long story short, it was an amazing day and I could not be happier living and serving in Colombia.  I let the pictures of before and after the ceremony do the rest of the talking!

Front row seat!!

Traditional Colombia Folklore band that played the Colombian National Anthem (which all of us rocked if I do say so myself). One of the band members did an amazing version of the Star Spangled Banner using ONLY a leaf.  Seriously. Mind blowing, I know!

All of the host families were in attendance!  My mother is in the red dress and black shirt in the middle, my host brother is to the right and his lovely wife is sitting between me and him. Another volunteer, Mike is in the shirt and tie all the way to the left.  His host family and my host family are related...somos familiares!

Goofy pic : P
Well loved ones, once again thanks for reading!  We are on vacation for two weeks for the holiday season, although I volunteered to teach English classes during the vacation...I can't help it!  Starting on the 2nd of Jan. we have two more weeks of classes/training before I move to Cartagena on the 15th!

Lots of love.

2 comentarios:

  1. felicitaciones, amiga!!

    Isabella (almost 2) misses you - and every time she sings "I'm a little fishie, I ask her if she remembers who taught her that song. OF COURSE she does! She always answers "MONICA!" with a BIG grin!

    Happy New Year and we look forward to keeping up with your many adventures!!