We swore in five days ago, along with our 28 other fellow trainees, as
Afterwards, we hung out at the ambassador’s pad for a celebratory lunch; you know, the typical Peace Corps life – swimming, and lounging, eating and schmoozing. Really though, it was an amazing treat.
Then, the next morning, that’s it, vita, done. Two months of spending all our time together and then, poof! we are all off to our respective corners of the island.
To get to his site you have to take a ferry across a river. When we were leaving, as we waited for the ferry, a funeral procession caught up with us. They came walking down the road, singing and chanting, seemingly cheerful and nearly ecstatic. The corpse was on a sling wrapped up in cloths. We rode across the water together, the body not more than five feet from me, and it stunk. It was somehow refreshing to be washed over by such a potent display of life and death. Though we were by no means a focus of their energy, I felt like it was an appropriate welcoming to us as we were in the process of beginning our new lives, adding cultural and existential perspective to my myopic self-centered view.