Yesterday I was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was an awesome day. I wore a large taovala (grass mat) around my waist, took an oath, danced in front of the Prime Minister and the U.S. Ambassador and ate a Thanksgiving feast. My host family came. The weather was perfect. However, one of my favorite moments of the day occurred when the Prime Minister addressed us. He spoke about Peace Corps and a recent conversation he had with his grandson. It went something like this:
Grandson: "Grandpa, What is the Peace Corps?"
PM: "They are volunteers from America."
Grandson: "Are they armed with guns?"
PM: "No, but they are armed with wisdom and knowledge to help the Tongan people."
I liked that. So much of America's presence in the world deals with using force, violence, and guns, but not the Peace Corps. Not me. I hope that this next two years I am able to use my wisdom and knowledge to empower the people of Tonga. Here's to the next 2 years!