|Peace Corps DR trainees wait in the DC hotel lobby at 4:00 a.m.|
Outside my room, a fellow trainee strums his guitar while members of an American Christian high school mission trip sing Katie Perry and Gnarls Barkley against the backdrop of Santo Domingo traffic noise, engines and horns that echo down the halls of the San Pablo retreat center. A few hours ago, we met some members of the medical staff and recieved an injection, the first of eleven we're required to have before we become volunteers.
The last 48 hours went by in a blur. After a tearful goodbye at PDX and a day of travel rendered breif by passing through two time zones, I found myself with two new Peace Corps friends, Ryan and Scott, gawking from Scott's parents' car at the Washington Monument and the White House, all lit up in the night. After a dinner graciously paid for by them, I struggled through jet lag and anticipation to get a decent night's rest.
The next day held a whirlwind of workshop sessions called staging that gave us trainees an opportunity to get to knows one-another and go over some training material pertinent to our experience across the gamut of Peace Corps countries, whether in the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, Peru, or elsewhere. For seven hours we did things like perform skits about proper volunteer conduct and illustrate aspirations and anxieties about the coming two years. Sleep came easily.
|Preparing to depart for the training center on our first morning in-country|