28 November 2005

It's Official!

As of Wed, Nov 23, I am an official Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV)! We had the swearing-in ceremony at the training center, and our host families attended. It was a nice ceremony, and very official. Out of the 51 trainees we started with, we have lost 6. But the remaining 45 were very happy to be done with training! One of our group gave a very nice speech - he represented us and our training time well. After the ceremony, we each stuck our pictures on the big map with all the existing volunteers. It was a test to see if we really knew where our sites were! ;o) It was an exciting time, and of course we all went out to celebrate afterwards!
The following day was Thanksgiving, which was held at a very ritzy club in the capital. Almost all the volunteers were there. There were sports, dominoes, swimming (although the pool was only filled half-way - it was empty when we got there!), good food and excellent desserts (!), a dance contest (where Kat & Juan won for bachata), and a talent show. In all, it was a very fun day.
Friday was the yearly All-Volunteer Conference. The best part was getting to know a few more volunteers. It was a long ay, but there was some good information. That night, we went out dancing at a club built in some caves. The place was really cool (complete with stalagmites!), but the music was disappointing. That night several of us stayed at a pension downtown since we knew it was going to be a late night. The best part was having running hot water!
Sat and Sun are a blur. Sat morning I went on a walking tour of the Colonial Zone, which was interesting although I was tired. Then we had lunch and a pool party at the Ambassador's house - although he was out of the country. Many people left for their sites from there or later that day, so there were lots of goodbyes to be said. It was hard to say goodbye to people we'd been spending so much time with, and knowing we won't be seeing them for at least 3 months, and many for a year.
On that note, I left the capital early Sunday morning to come start my new life for the next 2 years... in Jarabacoa!


Paul said...

Jessica, I've been to Jarabacoa 4 times with a church group. We visited a coffee factory there and have done some "exploring" in the mountains. (my incomplete blog about my trip is at: http://ppedersen3.blogspot.com/
It is a beautiful place and the people are great. I'm also interested in your experiences because my daughter just joined the PC and is currently in Namibia. Her blog is at: http://amyundersouthernskies.blogspot.com/
though she has been away from internet updates for a while. I will keep checking back on your blog

Dad said...

Jessica, Congratulations on your official swearing-in. May God be with you in Jarabocoa in a special way. We will continue to pray for while you are gone. Lots of love from your Mom and Dad

Madison said...

hi jessica its me madison. im in the 3rd grade. Mrs. stearns tutors me in math. She was my teacher in first grade. I love her . She is the greatest teacher ever.She lets me read her computer about you. You are exciting to me. Where do you go to church ?Does it look like ours? Love Madison

Dad said...

Hey, Jessica. I don't know if you have met, or remember, Mom's cousin Terrie's son, Robert Ferris (Uncle Wes and Aunt Bobbi's grandson). Anyway, he joined the PC, and started his adventure in Sept also. He is in Tanzania, Africa, teaching college-level physics. Checl out his blog at www.africanrob.blogspot.com when you have a chance.
Love you, Dad