Swearing in feels a little bit like high school graduation. Looking back it feels like we arrived in country both yesterday and a lifetime ago. We’ve spent the last 11 weeks training, preparing, and learning. During pre service training the days sometimes seemed to drag on forever with countless language classes, admin, and medical sessions. We finished our projects, completed our tests, got our shots, and have been deemed ready to serve.
The morning of swearing in we dressed in our best and headed to the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. It was by far the nicest place we had been in country, with a large house, sprawling gardens, pool, and tennis court. We were properly awed and spent the first 30 minutes embracing our generation’s proclivity for pictures.
After we had soaking in the splendor, all of the soon to be volunteers gathered in the U.S. Ambassador’s residence to hear a few words, ask a few questions, and continue to admire the general splendor. The house was filled will treasures from the Ambassadors many travels.
Once it is time for the ceremony to begin we return to the garden and file in one by one. Like graduations the ceremony is filled with speeches from various officials. We also sing a Malagasy song, which everyone said went well despite the fact that no one really knew we were supposed to sing and we didn’t have any music. The ceremony ended with all of us taking the oath, which is the same one given to those in government, including the president. We then made a pledge in both english and malagasy reaffirming our commitment, and officially became volunteers. Unfortunately there was no throwing of hats or silly string as there is at graduations.
The event ended with more photos and the eating of much food. I may or may not have had 7 desserts. (I lost count after a while and ended up making myself sick with all the sugar and cream)