Hello from Peace Corps Staging in Philadelphia.
Today was a day of morning site-seeing and afternoon ice-breakers, orientation and scheduling. It all seems such a jumble of pictures and information that I hardly know how to share it with you.
We are a group of 25 diverse and yet similar people mostly in the age range of 20-30 with one in the over 50 crowd. Over the afternoon and early evening, we turned in forms and filled out more forms. We talked about why we wanted to join the Peace Corps and PC history. We talked about our anxieties and our aspirations. We brainstormed risk management and prevention. We received detailed schedules for the next day.
Tomorrow begins at 7:30am when we walk to the clinic for a yellow fever vaccination and the first dosage of malaria medication. After, we return to the hotel, load all of our bags onto buses and drive to JFK in NYC. We leave from JFK around 5:00PM EST and arrive in Johannesburg around 5:00PM South African time on the 4th. We'll then board another bus to take us to the dormitory just north of Pretoria where we will spend the first week.
As I walked through Independence Hall this morning and viewed the Liberty Bell, it struck me how incredibly appropriate that our staging event was held here. This is a place of beginnings. This morning, the tour guide at Independence Hall told a story about the speaker's chair. On the headrest of the chair is a carved sun that sits on a horizon. Benjamin Franklin would comment that he never knew whether the sun was setting or rising. Then on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, Franklin said that he had finally figured it out--the sun was rising.
It's an appropriate sentiment. The sun is rising on a new day for all of us here.