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|
|Front row seat!!|
|Goofy pic : P|
Lots of love.