This past Wednesday we attended the swearing-in ceremony in Rabat. See the lovely photographic proof that Peace Corps sent us, above. After two and a half months of training, we’re being turned loose as official Peace Corps volunteers. It was a beautiful sunny day and everyone was dressed in the best clothes they brought (or bought here in Morocco). A dignitary from the Ministry of Youth and Sports (the department of the Moroccan government that we work with) was on hand to welcome us.
The US ambassador (Dwight L. Bush, Sr.) was also present to administer the oath. He’s been ambassador for just over a year and he’s a big supporter of the Peace Corps and its mission; we’re lucky to have him here. Last year he was unable attend the swearing-in ceremony due to an obligation to be “in court” with the king. Apparently, the Ambassador and John Kerry were together in a car when he received the court summons. Supposedly, the distinguished Secretary Kerry made a “triumphant” hand gesture (thumb on nose with extended fingers wiggling) upon discovering that he’d be the one to administer the oath to the new volunteers. The ambassador told us he’d been looking forward to being able to swear us in this year since then and had made sure there were no dignitaries present to “steal his thunder”.
After completion of the ceremony, we all had a chance to look around the various offices, but many of us aimed straight for the resource center/library. There’s a fiction section as well as a lot of non-fiction on a variety of topics… Enough of a variety that I was fully overwhelmed and walked out with almost nothing. One of the great parts about the resource center, though, is the staff. We can write our interests down and they will find appropriate books and forward them to us at our site. On my list (at least, the few things I remember writing) are: an English-Darija dictionary (which may or may not contain a whole bunch of words in standard arabic instead of darija), a translation of the Koran, and a book on making tile mosaics…
Yes, tile mosaics. Many walls, here in Morocco, are covered in tiles with great patterns. Around town the ground is also littered with pieces of these tiles. After seeing so many in a rainbow of colors, I’d like to cover a table top in a mosaic made from the fragments. First, I’ll have to teach myself how to do it, hence a book on making tile mosaics. More to come on this in the future…
After thanking all of the staff and our LCF’s (the ones most closely responsible for our well being during the training period) we said goodbye and headed out from the office to enjoy the rest of the day and prepare for our departure the next day.
Two and a half months of Peace Corps training: check.
Twenty four months of Peace Corps volunteering: next on the to do list.