I’m a Volunteer!!!

            Today was crazy and there was a good portion of it where some of the hotel people could not get there acts together, me included.  But let me start at the beginning where it was all going well.  I’m a Volunteer!!!  Well not yet in the story, we had to be sworn in first; although we did already sign the document yesterday.  So all of the hotel people were up and ready before the car arrived to pick us up and take us to the U.S. Ambassador’s house for the swearing ceremony.  By the way, the U.S. does not have an ambassador in Madagascar as of yet, since the coup, but that did not stop us from celebrating there.  The swearing in celebration was really nice.  It was set up on the lawn with a stage for the honored guest a speeches over looking the audience in front and us sitting off to the side at an angle to see both the stage and audience.  The whole event started out with news reporters
interviewing some of the Trainees.  These trainees were of course voted on by everyone as who we wanted to represent us to the Malagasy people.  The ceremony was also televised I might add, but sorry to you guys back home, I do not know how or where you can see it; ask Google. 
After the reporter interviews, the actual ceremony got on way and consisted of a bunch of speeches by honored guests and translated into Malagasy or English, whichever the case needed.  The first speech was given by Dee, our Country Director.  She was followed by Dick Day, the PC Africa Regional Director.  Third, and most entertaining, was a speech by Gabe, our Stage’s representative, given in Malagasy.  What made it most entertaining for us were his stories of our stage mates and he ending his speech with a few lines in his own regional dialect, which even the interpreter could not understand.  This was followed by us as a group singing the Malagasy song, ‘Bon Voyage,’ for the audience.  This was the same song that we had sung for the Thank You Community ceremony, and having rehearsed it many times, I think we did well.  After we finished singing Susan Riley, the Chargé d’Affaires gave a speech.  Last but not least, was a moving speech from Paul Rabary, Madagascar’s Minister of Education, thanking us for leaving everything behind and coming to Madagascar to help its people.  Once the speeches were finished, we were asked to stand, raise our right hand, and repeat the oath of office.  You know the one; it is the same one all politicians also say when being sworn into office.  After our swearing in we were congratulated by everyone, in turn, and then we all made our way to the reception area where there were ample snacks and drinks.  There was so much food and it was all extremely delicious!  After we had finished eating, for the most part anyways, we all began to take pictures with each other to document the day.  Many of us also took group pictures of our regional groups. 
It was after the swearing in ceremony that it all went amiss.  So after the celebrations were over we all went shopping for our cooking stoves and anything else we might need, but first we all had to go to the bank to withdraw money.  Before going to the bank, though, I first had to go to the hotel to get my bank card, but upon arriving at the hotel I realized I did not have my hotel key and my roommate, Efrain, was not with us in the van.  So we returned to the meva where everyone else was so I could get the key.  Upon arriving we found out that another person that had been in the van had forgotten her pin at the hotel and that Efrain had left his card, pin, checkbook, and most of his money in his trunk, which was loaded up in a truck.  So we convinced a driver to takes us by the hotel before taking us to the store so we could get our stuff.  This took a while because the driver also had stuff he had to do to get ready for the following days installations, but was nice enough to eventually do it.  After buying Efrain and my stove, I had to run down the street to the nearest bank to withdraw more money.  Once I had returned, I, along with a few others, went to a guitar store where Eddie, a LCF, helped us buy guitars. 
Once we had returned from buying our guitars the day turned back from being hectic and we relaxed a bit at the hotel before setting out to get food.  That evening Julissa, Efrain, and I mad the trek to Happy Days in the mall to have again, the amazing burgers they serve there.  The #8, double zebu with cheese and sliced ham, is an amazing hamburger.  That served with a cold coke and french fries with a ketchup and Siracha mixture makes for a very ‘happy day.’  After dinner we made the trek the rest of the way to the meva, followed the whole way by a women begging for money and getting more enjoyment out of bothering us than anything else.  After hanging out at the meva for a bit, we all made the walk to the gas station to catch a taxi to Out Cool, where we spent most of the rest of the night celebrating becoming Volunteers.   

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