Host Family Recognition Day:
Last Monday was a holiday here in Colombia, so we took the opportunity to have a Host Family Recognition Day to celebrate the wonderful families we have been living with for the last three months during training. Constance and Alli took the lead in planning this event and did a wonderful job (thanks again ladies)! The event was held in a community room in a church near Los Andes where most of the trainees live. Unfortunately my family ended up not being able to come, but luckily Kerry’s host mom (my aunt) was willing to adopt me for the day along with abuela. When all of the families arrived, after we took pictures, there was time to snack and chat. Nate and Andrew MC’d the event (in Spanish!) and they killed it. Dianna gave a speech thanking the host families and telling them what an important role they have had in our experience. Kelsey played a local favorite by Carlos Vives on her guitar and sang and the families were amazed at her talent and beautiful voice. We finished off by teaching our families how to do the hokey pokey and eating apple pie. If that’s not a cultural exchange I don’t know what is.
Commitment to Service:
Friday was our official last day of pre-service training as we will swear in on Monday. One of our last sessions was called ‘Commitment to Service’. We were each asked to prepare a short commitment to service to be shared with the group. We were told to think of this as our vows to our service. It is also something we will keep and reflect back on during our service and at the end of our two years. Everyone’s commitment was unique, but they all reflected similar sentiments. Some were hilarious, others were in poem form, and all were personal and touching.
Here is my commitment to service:
“Today as I reflect on my commitment to Peace Corps service, I think back to when our journey began 79 days ago as an enthusiastic and idealistic group of 30 in the Miami airport. Our story as it has been written thus far contains tales of host family adventures, countless hours in the Colombo, and more rice than we ever dreamed possible. We have been exposed to some of the realities of living and working as volunteers in Colombia, our roles working in sustainable development, and the expectations of us within the TEL program. As our first chapter comes to a close, I am reminded that there are many entries to come, and I am happy to say I still see that sense of idealism and enthusiasm in each one of us. As I reflect on all we have learned in an attempt to make a promise for my service I have found that there are countless goals, expectations, and commitments each of us could make to ourselves, one another, and our Colombian counterparts. So today I am making one simple promise. I promise to do my best. I promise to do my best to learn the language, take part in a cultural exchange, keep smiling, and get busy working alongside strangers who will become family, in a country that has already begun to steal my heart away.”
We swear in on Monday so next time I post…I will be an official Peace Corps Volunteer!
Until next time…..paz y amor.