May 06 2012

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It’s Official – Got Sworn In!

If you are planning for a year, sow rice.
If you are planning for a decade, plant trees.
If you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.

Well well well… I survived the first few weeks of training! I am now officially a Peace Corps Volunteer! The swearing ceremony was held at the Ambassador’s house and we were sworn in by one of the two US Senators who came to visit Malawi. I am glad that training is over but unfortunately, we are still on a 3 month “lock down” and are not allowed to leave our site.

I moved into my house a few days ago and surprise surprise….my house is not yet ready. I am not the only volunteer that had this issue. Some volunteer’s houses were actually occupied and the tenants moved out right when the volunteer arrived at site. I am not sure why a lot of us had this issue when the PC staff had plenty of time to prepare for our arrival. Anyway, I just needed to get that out of my chest… The good news is that my house is newly painted and has wooden beams that looks like it is going to collapse anytime soon… While I’m asleep…. That didn’t sound like it was good news at all. Let me try this again, I arrived late in the afternoon on May 3rd at my site and the land lord was still painting the house. He finished painting my bedroom at 7pm and I don’t think they used a water based paint because the fume was very strong. I had to sleep with my windows closed as I did not feel safe at all(I still need to get a fence built around my house). I went to bed at 8pm and got woken up by dogs howling at 10pm until 3am! The fumes were still very strong and woke up with a headache at 6:30am.

I don’t think anything I said was good news… Haha. Here’s the good news, I have electricity and a blackberry service!

Despite the inconvenience I’ve encountered, I am really happy about my site and the people around me. Malawians are really friendly and happy people. They want to talk to you and get to know you. I love getting on a minibus and talking to people. They are even more surprised when you talk to them in the local language (Chichewa). I passed the Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) and received an Intermediate-High score. I can get by with the limited Chichewa that I know but my goal is to be fluent within the next couple of years.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s 5PM and I have to cook dinner 🙂

Tiwonana!! (Goodbye or See ya later)

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Permanent link to this article: http://peacecorps.jmephotographie.com/2012/05/its-official-got-sworn-in/


  1. Colleen Settles

    Congratulations on becoming an “official” Peace Corps Volunteer. It has been quite a road since Esperanza!!!! I’m VERY impressed with your recently acquired language ability!!!! Blessings as you continue your incredible journey of LIFE!!

    1. jesplana

      Thank you Sister Colleen! It definitely has been a long road since Esperanza. One of the Senators during our swearing ceremony shared a story of his friend who volunteered in Kenya said “anyone can come into a place and help out for a short time.  But in order to really know us, you must walk with us.” That story really touched me. Volunteers come and go but the Malawians are here to stay. During the first 3 months of my service, my goal is to find out what my site needs and really focus on program sustainability.

  2. Joanne Nelson

    John – It’s good to hear good news from Malawi. I’m glad I went home early. My husband passed away Oct of 2010 and I was not in a good place mentally to take on P C. Plus I have 3 children (31, 29 & 26) that I dearly missed. Anyway, maybe in another life.
    I would like to communicate with Brad Kindler. Do you know how I could get ahold of him? Thanks.

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