Today I was sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer. The Prime Minister of Tonga and the U.S. Ambassador for the South Pacific were in attendance. It was a special day - complete with some dancing (tau'olunga) and a Thanksgiving Feast for lunch. My host family came and it was very special to have them there. They brought a large taovala (grass mat) for me to wear (they do make you look thin in pictures ... haha nope.)
It's hard to put into words what today meant. A fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, Ryan, said it best when he spoke to the crowd today. He thanked everyone for the kindness, compassion, generosity and love that they have shown us since arriving to the Friendly Islands. He then said, "Now it's our turn to give back to you." And I couldn't agree more. I'm excited for this next chapter to get started. I am excited to move to 'Ofa and learn about a new community of people. I'm excited to see how I can help them and learn from them.