Today is officially my last day as a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee). Tomorrow I will swear-in and officially become a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer)! We pretty much wrapped up training last Friday- took a medical exam, had the last few sessions, and did the final Language Proficiency Interview. I scored an Advanced Low on the LPI, which is very good and quite rare for trainees to accomplish! There was only 2 of us in the whole group of 27 to achieve this level! And my Tonga teacher said he has NEVER had any of his students get this high! Basically there are 3 levels- Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced- and then 3 distinctions within each of those levels(Low, Mid, High). The minimum each volunteer needs to get in order to swear-in is Intermediate Low. I think everyone in our group passed.
This week, we are doing a lot of logistics- immigration/work permits, banking/ATM cards, preparing/shopping for posting, and getting ready for the swear-in ceremony. One person from each language group was chosen to present a short speech at the ceremony. I will be doing the speech for the Tongas. There will likely be TV crew at the ceremony tomorrow recording and televising it!
Yesterday, we had "Cultural Day" at the training center. Two members of each trainee's host family were invited to attend. We prepared and served the families, and other distinguished guests, an American style lunch; shared a picture slideshow of our families at home and our families in Zambia; had a Zambian drumming/dance crew perform traditional dances for each province/tribe (The drumming and dance performances yesterday were amazing! I tried to video, but my camera died!) ; tried to teach a couple quick American dances (electric slide & macarena); and then finally exchanged gifts with our host families and said goodbyes. Most families gave their trainee a sweeping broom, a cooking spoon, and a small pot/bowl, dish, etc. In exchange, I gave my family citenges (skirt material), markers, stickers, a UF Gator bag, candles, and nail polish. I think they liked it, and they still appreciate the gifts my mother had sent very much! (she sent a package with a baby doll, placemats, shirt, and hat) It was sad to say goodbye to my family. My bamamma is so upset that I'm leaving... she's been tearing up almost every night for the last week!
So, swearing-in is tomorrow (Thursday) at the Ambassador's house. It should be a nice ceremony, and supposedly good food! I'll try to take lots of pictures! Then we are probably "going out" as a group at night & experiencing the Lusaka club scene!
Friday, we will pack up in our Province cruisers and head out! Us Tongas will be staying at the Provincial House (each province has a Peace Corps house in province capital) in Choma for a few days. Due to the Easter weekend, many shops will be closed and we won't be able to get everything we need for site (furniture, household gods, food, etc.)....so we will probably stay at the house until Wednesday. When we have done all of our shopping, we will start to be dropped off at each of our sites.
When I move to site, I will have no internet access (unless I make a trip into town and find an internet cafe). My phone gets almost no signal at site, so I will mostly be limited to text messages (which only require one little bar of signal lol).
The next step is staying at site with no travel for the next 3 months. This period is called Community Entry!