After 4 days of site orientation and the Grassroots festival, I traveled back into Kingston for my final week of training. We all stayed together in a hotel and tried to embrace the last few days with each other before we were truly on our own. I begged our PCMO to ask the doctor if I could get my cast removed before our swearing-in ceremony instead of traveling back into Kingston the following week and he agreed!
I was probably one of the happiest moments I have had since coming here. My tan line wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was going to be, but there was still quite a difference. Similarly, there was a lot of dead skin, but not as much as I thought. My skin was super irritated and my joints are still really sore. He said that is normal for the first few days, but it should start to go away as I move it more.
Our swearing in was a unique celebration because of the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps Jamaica. This year it was held at the US Ambassador’s residence as opposed to the Embassy where it is normally held. Ambassador Bridgewater’s home is beautiful. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but my favorite room was probably the kitchen. That’s probably not a surprise given my love of food.
The event started upon the arrival of the Governor General of Jamaican Sir Patrick Allen arrived. It was pretty awesome to listen to him speak, especially because when he was younger a PCV worked in his school. After his speech, 4 PC staff members were recognized by the PC Regional Director for their 20+ years of service in PCJ. Then we were officially sworn in by Ambassador Bridgewater! She led us in our oath of service, and I actually got goose bumps. We got to shake her hand and were awarded with certificates for completing training. Jedd, Kevin, and Reilly, gave speeches on behalf of each of the sectors. It was sort of ironic that given the low number of men we have in the group all three were read by men, but they all did wonderful jobs. It makes me happy just to think about it!
After the ceremony we did an official picture with the Ambassador and Governor General. Somehow I ended up awkwardly in between the Ambassador and Governor general, but I can think of worse people to stand next to.
So here begins my 2 years of service. I not sure how I am going to survive the heat because no amount of sunscreen can save me, but onward we go anyway.