23 August 2010

I won the Peace Corps Lottery

I made about 30 new friends today - that is to say, all in all I met 29 other people all motivated to spread peace and friendship among our brothers in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  We are here for staging in Miami, FL, just a day before starting Pre Service Training in St. Lucia.  The group is about 75% female, about 20% middle-aged or older, and every background and reason for joining you can think of.  The most exciting thing is that I am constantly challenged with setting aside my preconceived notions about what the Peace Corps means to someone; for some it's a temporary escape from a boring career, for others its a Bucket List item, for still others it's a career-furthering personal expansion project... I was very pleasantly amazed. 

Sadly, I don't have a whole lot of time to write about all of the events that went on today, as I have a very early morning: 5 AM to be exact.  So I'll try to make this brief.  Over four or five hours, the lot of us got to know each other, what the Peace Corps expects of us, and some logistics for our flight to St. Lucia tomorrow.  The group was very enthusiastic, (for my part, I found myself at a table heavily weighted on extroverts, so I fit right in) and we got lots done in a short amount of time with a very positive tone.  Afterward, many of us went across the street for dinner to a Cuban food restaurant, and we had a very good time commiserating together about the replies we get when we tell people our Peace Corps station is in the Eastern Caribbean - things like "Oh, so sad for you" or "That's not exactly roughing it" or "When can I come visit?"  One of my new friends said she heard an acquaintance say, "St. Lucia? That sounds like a place you go when you've won the lottery..." So we decided that was right: we all won the Peace Corps Lottery, and we're off to spend our winnings serving the good people of the islands for the foreseeable future.

Feel free to post specific questions about staging, it was a very packed event, and I don't think I can relate it all so suddenly and thoroughly.  Also, a few answered prayer requests.  Thanks to everyone that is continuing to pray for me and for God's direction in my life away from the States.

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