If you were born on August 30th, 1961 then you and Peace Corps have a birthday coming up. We are going to be celebrating 50 years of service coming up soon, and the celebration will be starting in Accra in the country where the first sandals hit the ground and volunteering began: Ghana.
Our new group of trainees, as I may have mentioned, will be swearing-in come the 30th of this month and it has been timed to coincide with the celebrations for Peace Corps' first half-century celebrations. There should be plenty of people on hand to wish the organization well and that will also include me. We have been informed that there is a mandatory training session on the 29th (part of the PC plan to increase protections for volunteers and administration staff while serving abroad) that will require us to show up in Accra on the day before the swearing-in takes place. It will be nice to celebrate the new group with almost all of the currently serving volunteers close by. Most of the rumors being passed around center on who the biggest name will be to show at the celebration but my breath is being generously held; best not to expect too much when it comes to A-ticket names attending. Though if the President were to swing on over during his vacation, I would not mind taking a photo for posterity's sake.
Fifty years is a long time. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers have passed through the country before me and I hear about them often. When I mention what I am doing here there is a 50% chance that the person I am talking with will recall having a volunteer show up in her community years and years ago and help either teaching or with agricultural practices. They always have found memories of the volunteer and reflect on the impression that this program has made on them. It is a nice feeling to be a part of that, but it also makes me think that I have a bit more to give to the country and that I better hurry up. Less than one year to go and then I am stateside.
If the stars align properly, there may be a video clip on the CBS morning program in America that highlights the 50th anniversary and may include a few interviews with my fellow volunteers here in Ghana. I won't be able to see it, but it would be nice if all of those who read this blog might check out the station next week on the 30th.
Here is to another 50 years of connecting cultures and doing the right thing across the globe.