The ceremony was held at one of the local universities here in Barranquilla. My host mom, Pina, and I made our way by taxi from our house to the university. Once we we admitted inside, we made our way to the auditorium. All of the members of my group (C II-6) sat in the front couple of rows, while our host families, future counterparts, other PC staff and current volunteers, and members of the media filled in the rest of the seats.
It was a really nice ceremony. There were some big names involved. Our current Country Director, who is retiring in a few weeks, was accompanied by our new Country Director, the US Ambassador to Colombia, and the Mayor of Barranquilla. All gave speeches welcoming us to the city, country, and our 2 years of service. We all had the opportunity to introduce ourselves (in Spanish) to those in attendance and also received an official Peace Corps pin. Another highlight was taking the same oath that many government officials, including the President of the United States, take upon taking office.
|Our new Country Director|
|US Ambassador to Colombia|
|Outgoing Country Director with the Mayor of Barranquilla|
Swear-in wasn't the only big event occurring last Friday. Colombia and the USA were playing a friendly soccer match in London. So after the ceremony, a small group of us headed over to a local pizza place to enjoy some grub and soccer. Colombia won, 2-1, and I'll have to admit that my alliances were with the Colombians on this one. It was actually pretty perfect that this game happened when it did (insert some really profound statement about symbolism and soccer - my creative juices are not flowing at the moment). After the game, I headed home to rest up a bit and get ready for the real highlight of the day: the chiva!
For those that don't know a chiva is a type of bus that is used throughout Central and South America. It's basically an open-air school bus that is used to transport people, goods, animals, and anything else you can imagine from town to town. They are especially common in smaller communities where paved roads are not common and have a capacity limit of about 200 people! Things here on coast are done a bit differently, and as one of our trainers claims, chivas have been corrupted and turned into party buses. Naturally, in order to properly celebrate our swearing-in, our entire group rented a chiva for the night. It did not disappoint!
|Small collection of some of the awesome people of C II-6!!|
Tomorrow, I will be moving to my new house where I will reside for the next two years. My new family has previously hosted a PCV and is within walking distance of my new school, which is something that I'm looking forward to. The neighborhood itself is also very different from the one that I am currently living in and I have heard that my new family is very social and well connected in the community. However, I am extremely saddened to leave my current family. They have gone above and beyond to help me feel welcomed to Barranquilla over the past 3 months. My host mom keeps telling me that if I don't like my new family I can always come back. Too adorable...