Saturday, August 16, 2008

OATH OF SERVICE - August 6th, 2008


I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps. So Help Me God.

I am 48 hours into being an official Peace Corps Volunteer, having been sworn in at our graduation. I must say, it was one of the more emotional days of my life. When I went to the front to accept the “certificate”, the Asst. Director hugged me and said “This has been a long time coming”. I was already teary from the previous speeches, so this broke me open into the realization of what I have done and am doing. Both the US Ambassador and the Country Director gave great talks about PC volunteers being the best emissaries of peace that the US has. They emphasized that we are on the ground making the person to person contact which can influence hearts and minds for a lifetime. Peace Corps has been in Lesotho for 40 years, and current volunteers often run into people who remember volunteers from many years back. Mostly, I am putting one foot in front of the other – but there are these few moments when I am overwhelmed by the reality of this long-held dream which I am living-out.

Our assignment for the next 3 months is to observe, ask questions, improve our language skills, and deepen our understanding of the community we are to serve. Sounds so good to me after that exhausting training schedule we were living. I am missing Bokone Village and the closeness to nature I experienced there – living with the rhythms of the herd animals by day, and at night the moon rise and the Milky Way smeared-sky. To mediate this yearning, I seem to be adopting the farm animals on the clinic compound. I have been visiting and watering the pigs every afternoon and talking to the horse and four cows. Such a different life from mid-town Sacramento!