Yesterday we officially swore in as volunteers, all of 38 of us, sort of. We started out in DC as 39: 19 TEFL and 20 Business and so far we've lost two Business kids - one to a family emergency and one to not reaching the proper language level - and we've gained one TEFL volunteer who has already served two years in Eastern Europe. However, really only 37 of us swore in because one TEFLer is currently en route to the states for a shoulder surgery. He's welcome to come back after he's healed but that could take months so we'll see. He's one of the closest volunteers to my site so I've got my fingers crossed :)
My host mom, sister, and I at swearing in:
Our goofy TEFL picture that someone took with my camera:
So I'm spending the day in Managua at a nice hotel with wireless internet and hot showers before heading out tomorrow morning to really start my service. The following is a bit I wrote about our group a while back and hadn't posted it yet, enjoy:
Each training group in Peace Corps is titled with the country and a number, so we're the 47th group of trainees in Nicaragua since they re-entered the country in 1991. A while back one of the girls meet a guy who was part of Nica-2. Whoa.
Basically Nica-47 rocks. And even moreso, Nica-47 TEFL really rocks (Nica-47 technically refers to both the TEFL and Small Business trainees but for my purposes, it only refers to TEFL). There are now 20 of us, a girl just transferred from the TEFL program in Georgia (the country, not the state. Yes, there's a country called Georgia, it was in the Soviet Union. Look it up.) and she'll be doing a 2nd stint of 2 years with us here (she already speaks very good Spanish, in case you were wondering, which we all were, so she didn't have to go through all the training nonsense again).
Soooo, anyway, our group gets along amazingly well. We've been told this by many volunteers who have come to do training stuff with us. We're not all best friends by any means, and there can be tension at times, but in general I like everyone in the group and most people would say the same. We haven't broken down into smaller cliques, but this can make it complicated when 15 to 20 gringos want to hang out after class. But you know, that's not such a bad problem to have.
Again with the dorkatry, here are some geographic and demographic tidbits:
Oregon (2, the married couple)
DC area (inluding NoVa) (3)
Of our 20, we are 15 women and 5 men. That includes one married couple, two gay women, two gay men, one African American woman, 3 Hispanic women, and one Asian woman. The age range goes from 21 to 31, but almost everyone is under 27. There are several actual teachers and/or education majors among us, a handful of Spanish majors, some folks straight (or nearly) out of college and some have spent some time in the real world. It really is a mixed bag.
I wish it was possible to really introduce you all to my Peace Corps fam. I think the thing that freaks me out the most about starting my service as a real volunteer is having to say goodbye to seeing everyone several times a week for classes or just hanging out. These people have really kept me sane over the past 12 weeks (12 weeks!), but I look forward to getting together once we've got some more freedom as honest to goodness Peace Corps Volunteers.