Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Swearing In

Well, training is finally over and it’s off to our sites for good. Fifty-eight of us were in our class, one couldn’t get on the plane to DC and three others dropped out along the way. Some of us are heading up north to Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador, as far south as Arequipa, and into the sierra, some to altitudes of over 4000 meters.

The swearing-in ceremony had the pomp and circumstance of any other type of graduation with a red, white, and blue tent-like thing that screamed America (f*ck yeah!), national anthems and speeches. I represented our class and had to give a little speech in Spanish that probably sounded a lot like a nervous gringo with a bad accent and nothing worthwhile to say but I think it went OK and got nice compliments afterward.

A friend of mine, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, sent me a text when I was still at staging in Washington DC that said, “When you get to DC, take second and look at your group. This group of strangers will wind up being your best friends for the rest of your life”. As I spoke to the group, I saw the future leaders of the US - congressmen, diplomats, entrepreneurs, contractors, professors, parents, authors, reporters and I was proud to be a part of it. Ten weeks of training doesn’t make a “best friend” but toiling together for a couple of years in the deserts, mountains, coasts, sharing the bullshit experiences as well as the victories, and maybe a chelita or two along the way, will.

I look forward to the next two years and am curious to see how we’ll all come out on the other end.

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