Can you name the three goals of the Peace Corps? Champa and I can. Since Monday morning, we’ve been in an intensive “staging” program before we leave Wednesday morning for our flight to Moldova.
Our group, which assembled from across the United States, is extraordinary. Its members range widely in age and appearance, with roots reaching from Hawaii to New England, and from Angola to Panama. In their previous lives, they were business owners, lawyers, teachers, students, IT specialists and coffee shop managers. That’s Champa in the blue jacket, getting ready for one of the sessions, which ranged from safety and security to dealing with cultural confusion or loneliness.
Our staging included talks and flip charts, games and skits, dances and online questionnaires, even a video from Michelle Obama. We changed teams repeatedly to help us meet one another. I now know the names and faces of almost all the 59 people in our group, Moldova 31.
Our trainers were all former volunteers, who served in places such as Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Romania and Morocco.
Within two days, the members of M31 have become our new family, embarking with us on an unforgettable journey that begins in earnest tomorrow morning when we board buses that will take us to JFK Airport in New York. We’ll fly on Lufthansa to Moldova.
Fortunately, the staging was held at a hotel in Philadelphia, which enabled us to visit with our own family beforehand. Paul, Stephanie and the girls spent the afternoon with us before registration started. Earlier we visited with Jonathan and his family in Durham, before heading to the airport for our flight to Philadelphia.
Both of our guys went through stages as they grew up. Now Champa and I have gone through a stage as well. OK, it was actually a staging, but we now feel much better prepared for the adventure that lies ahead of us.