Swear in!

Trip Start Jun 2008
Trip End Aug 2010

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Flag of Mauritania  ,
Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yeah!  Well, we did it.  Of the 77 trainees that stepped off the plane in Dakar, all but one of us swore in as volunteers.  The only exception was a girl who had enough of the desert and left a few weeks ago on her own accord.  The rest of us, however, are all in high spirits, realizing that we finally made it through and can begin our two years working in Mauritania.
We all passed our respective language tests, and I even did a little better than I thought. Good news seeing I will pretty much be speaking only Hassaniya for the next two years... Maahi musquilla....
The ceremony was pretty low key on account of the political situation.  For the same reasons, there were no Mauritanian officials at the swear in, however the US Ambassador attended and gave a nice talk.  We also had the chance to do a little Q&A with him regarding the coup and our future here in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  After the ceremony, we all took heaps of pictures and relished in our newfound volunteerdom.  Then, after a victory nap, we were all shuttled out to the party and lived it up American style...
It is all settled now, and from here we will be shipping out to our sites.  We left Rosso a few days ago and are now relaxing in Ayoun.  Jackie and I will head out bright and early Tuesday morning.  Tomorrow we are going to head out to the market here to pick up a few things unavailable in Awaynatt.  The good news is that we will have a Peace Corps car to use as a moving truck, so settling in should not be so bad (I had anticipated renting a donkey cart for the occasion and am actually a little upset we don't get to use one).
Speaking of Awaynatt, I am not really sure what to expect when we get there....ha ha.  Bilal, the language facilitator who went with us during site visit, assured us the town was going to have two houses ready for us.  I have been speaking to the mayor about once a week, and they are definitely ready for us and excited we will soon be on our way, but we will see what happens when we get there...
It is great to have few days in Ayoun...and to get out of Rosso.  It was a good place to train, but I am just ready to get out to site.  We definitely have our work cut out for us, though.  It will surely take us a good long time to get settled in, but after that we will start meeting everyone in the community and begin our work.
Ah ha.  You will all like this.... So we found out the other day PC was transferring all the volunteers from our region to other regions, except us.... Ha ha.   The move was partially due to budgetary issues and partially due to security issues (a few terror suspects were arrested in Nema last week)   Really, though, we are closer to Ayoun than we are to Nema, so we are just going to be defacto volunteers for that region.  In any event, we are now the eastern most Peace Corps volunteers in Mauritania!  And I kind of like it that way.
Alright.  We are taking the afternoon to recoup from the drive and to eat some good old American cuisine.  The word on the street is that we are getting all of the equipment from the Nema GMC, which may or may not include the USB internet modem... If so, I can charge my laptop at one of the generators until we get solar panels installed and keep you all updated.  If not, I should be in Ayoun every couple weeks to restock and bank and will catch up then.  Alright!  The next time you here from me, it will be from my new home!
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