Peace Corps service is divided into two decidedly different portions: pre-service training (PST) and 24 months of service in a host community. On April 25th, my intake of LIFE and RAP volunteers took the step from trainee to volunteer as we swore our alligience and service to the United States, Peace Corps, and the Republic of Zambia as Peace Corps volunteers. In those few hours of our swear-in, we joined the ranks of over 215,000 trainees, volunteers, and returned volunteers who have served before us. It was a proud moment; one of which the gravity of the occasion is difficult to put into words. So, instead, I want to show you the visible growth of our group from the day we flew in to Zambia to the day we swore in as Peace Corps Volunteers.
To me, one of the best faces America has ever projected has been the face of the Peace Corps volunteer. That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope – and a real, honest compassion. – Teresa Heinz
Any idealist who joins the Peace Corps must realize he’s not going to change the world overnight. – Sargent Shriver
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favors of the kings of the world. – Thomas A. Edison
The Peace Corps is guilty of enthusiasm and a crusading spirit. And we’re not apologetic about it. – Sargent Shriver
When I look at these photos, I see the hair getting longer, our faces getting darker, and our smiles getting wider with each shot. In three months, our RAP intake will meet up again for our in-service training (IST), and I’d wager that though the obvious changes will appear on the outside, it will be how we’ve changed within ourselves that will be most truly remarkable.