Although I’ve been in Nicaragua for nearly three months, I wasn’t actually a Volunteer until last Friday morning. During the first 11 weeks in country, when you are in training, you are considered a Trainee, not a Volunteer. To become a Volunteer you have to be sworn-in by reciting an oath (the same oath that members of Congress, the military, etc. all take when they being their service). Jurementación means “swearing-in” in Spanish, and that’s exactly what we did on Friday morning, in a very nice ceremony at the Holiday Inn, Managua.
First, on Thursday, we went to the US Embassy. The embassy is an air-conditioned fortress in the middle of Managua that was recently built and designed to withstand earthquakes, volcanoes, civil unrest, nuclear meltdowns, asteroid impacts, and Armageddon. After passing through eight levels of security to get in, we actually had a really nice day there. All of the diplomats were really interesting to hear from and had great stories. Did you know that two of the FBI Top-10 Most Wanted Criminals were apprehended in Nicaragua in the last 13 months?
On Friday morning we made our way to the Holiday Inn for the Jurementación. It started with a thank you ceremony for our host families, followed by some speeches and the actual talking of the oath. The oath was administered to us by the American Ambassador, Phyllis Powers. I just googled her, and it turns out she is a native New Yorker. I also think she looks a little bit like Allison Janney. Unfortunately I don’t have very many good pictures from the ceremony (lesson learned – don’t leave your camera in the hands of your 12 year old host sister).
After the Jurementación we chilled in Managua for a bit before going to the Peace Corps’ Deputy Director’s house for a “gringo barbecue” inspired by Memorial Day. No pictures, but it was the absolute best food I have had since arrival in Nicaragua, hands down (if you haven’t noticed by now, a common theme on this blog is my personal dislike for the food here).
After gringo BBQ we went out to a club in Managua with some other Volunteers. We had a really good time the whole day. We lounged around on Saturday (pool time in Managua), before heading to our sites on Sunday.
I’m in a blog writing kick tonight, so I think I am going to follow up this post with some more, including my initial thoughts after spending a few days in León.