This week was a rollercoaster.
We spent the last few days in our community-based training (CBT) sites saying goodbye to the friends and family we had made there over the last two-and-a-half months. From our host families who had been there with us every step of the way as we struggled through the very basics of Moroccan language and culture to our favorite café staff whom we had just cheered with as Morocco advanced again in the World Cup. There were many well wishes, promises to visit, and tears. In the end, this time and these people will be things we carry with us for the rest of our lives.
All of us Peace Corps trainees (PCTs) came together for one last round of presentations and workshops to close out preservice training (PST). We all handled the sadness, anxiety, and excitement of our upcoming transition in our own ways.
Some of us spent it shopping in the city, others playing card/online games, cheering on our favorite teams in the World Cup, and/or with nights in watching movies.
Peace Corps Morocco also came together for another Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to some incredible chefs, we had an incredible buffet of turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and so much more. Plus, dessert! It was bittersweet, feeling so warm and happy being together, but knowing we would all be going our separate ways very soon.
The highest high was, of course, swearing-in day! We got decked out in our best business and traditional Moroccan attire. My CBT girls and I rolled up together looking gorgeous. Everyone looked stunning. The ceremony was well attended by U.S. and Moroccan dignitaries, including the U.S. ambassador to Morocco. The press was also well represented. The air was electric.
The speeches were well done and two PCTs presented a song that one of the CBT groups created about our experiences so far here in Morocco, which was particularly moving. But the most important and surreal moment for me was the oath and pledge, especially at the very end when I said, “I am a Peace Corps Volunteer” for the very first time. All I could do was smile.
I will never forget how I felt in that moment.
That night came the hard part, saying goodbye again. Up until this point, we spent most of our days with our language and cross-cultural facilitator (LCF) and fellow PCTs in our CBT sites. And we saw half our cohort every week during clusters.
But, for this next integration period, we won’t be seeing most of our fellow PCTs for the next three months. As for the LCFs, we don’t know exactly when we’ll see them again. After bonding so closely with so many of my fellow PCTs, especially in my CBT group, I was a bit of a wreck. Plus, I had to pack again.