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Friday, December 9, 2011

Completing Training and Swearing In

Well I just went through the last step in becoming an official Peace Corps Volunteer by taking my oath for swearing into service. The ceremony was really nice and included a contingency of several very important people including the U.S. Ambassador, Peace Corps Country Director, the Governor of the Department of Central, and the mayor of Guamabare, the town where we had our training center. We took out oath of service and many of the family including Nilda were showing some tears.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of experiences. Last time I wrote I mentioned that I was doing a visit at my future site of service Juan E. O'Leary. The town is relatively large by Paraguayan standards, and main community contact is the area director of the 7 schools in the municipality of Juan E. O'Leary. I learned a ton while I was there, but most importantly I got a good sense of the types of projects I could be doing that include a garden and library project with the local school of preschool-6th graders. Obviously that whole process will take a lot of time considering I still have a long way to go to feel confident in Spanish and Guarani, but the next few months will for sure give me plenty of time to practice and improve my language skills.

Thanksgiving was spent at the house of the U.S. Ambassador on the compound of the U.S. Embassy. It might have easily been the fanciest Thanksgiving meal I have ever participated in complete with servers in tuxedos, a beautiful series of gardens, a pool to swim in before dinner, and a little bit of the Packers vs. Lions game. Overall, life is pretty good training wrapped us nicely and I completed all necessary competency exams for security, technical training, language, and medical. I would for sure be lying if I said everything is going to by smoothly moving to site. Over the past 10 I have accumulated roughly 30lbs of training manuals and books of various sizes that have taken up a significant portion of my limited space, which is going to make my 4 hour bus ride to my new home challenging to say the least. Thankfully I can store the large quantities of winter clothing that I brought right in time for the hottest part of summer, but still I now have much more stuff then I had when I arrived.

For now my plan is to spend the weekend until Tuesday in Asuncion mentally preparing for the weekend, probably getting McDonalds, and relaxing as much as possible. I also have a new telephone number, but bare with me as I figure out how to get it to work. Check Facebook for the details on the phone. Peace until next time.


  1. Thomas,

    Congratulations Peace Corps Volunteer. We knew you would do well and look forward to your assignment in Juan A. O'Leary. You have made so many adjustments in the past ten weeks and had a lot of adventures with more to come in the next two years. We were just speaking with some friends tonight about coming to see you. Keep after that phone number so we can speak with you. You will figure out the next steps.

    All my love,


  2. Way to go cuz! So glad you are keeping a blog of your adventures. Very proud of you - and hope you got a few good Big Macs (and a few less roosters) in before hitting the books!