After 13 weeks of living in our training town in Masaya, we went to Managua to swear in as ~official~ volunteers.
This week has been, to put it lightly, a clustercuss. We wrapped up our training the day after the U.S. elections. My host dad had let me use the internet from his phone to keep up with the election results as they rolled in, and at about 11:00, I went to sleep with a sense of dread, praying for an electoral miracle.
I woke up the next morning after fitful sleep and learned that Donald Trump had won, and then I spent the day at the Embassy.
We watched this USAID video and I cried when the Obama voiceover started.
Peace Corps staff knew that we were all wrecked by the election results, and they told us that we’re needed now more than ever, and then we had a 40+ person group hug. Staff cried and I cried (snot all over my face. Pretty gross.)
We talked to the ambassador, and she told us to remember that we don’t represent the American government; we represent its people.
It’s very, very easy to be cynical when the country elects a xenophobic, sexist, racist, inarticulate, hotheaded moron who boasts about sexual assault and is endorsed by the KKK, but at that moment, in that room with my Peace Corps family, I felt like there is hope both here and in the United States. There are people willing to stand up and speak out against racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia…the list goes on.
We are all here for a reason, and right now, there is nowhere I’d rather be but here, showing the people of Nicaragua that the ideals of Trump are not shared by everyone.
Yesterday morning, we officially swore in as Peace Corps volunteers. The country director of Peace Corps Nicaragua and the ambassador gave speeches. They both reassured us of the value of the work that we’re doing here. Our country director got a little choked up as he was talking about moving forward in times of change. I shed a few tears and had to hug the closest person to me. (Shout out to Ashley for being such a superb hugger.)
Later that day, we went had dinner at the house of the incomparable, incredible Miguel, who has laughed and cried with us and provided endless support over the last few months. He’s also an incredible chef, so after hours of talking, swimming, and dancing (shout out to Greg for leading me so fearlessly), we ate some delicious gringo barbecue and chocolate cake.
It was a wonderful way to end training, and it momentarily distracted me from the shitshow of U.S. politics.
(Just a side note: remember when the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln? Y’all know my great emancipator? It would be great if we could get a little more of that instead of standing behind a bleepity-bleep like Trump.)
Anyway, I’m now in my permanent site, ready to serve and thankful to be here. Now I’m gonna bombard you with pictures because we look pretty spiffy.