August 10th, 2011
After our farewell from training we packed our lives onto a giant truck and moved to Mbabane, the Capital, for a few days. Here we got acquainted with the city, found places to eat and shop, enjoyed a little nightlife, toured the PC Office and the most exciting part… got sworn in as official PC Volunteers (PCVs).
This year is also PC’s 50th Anniversary so to commemorate they combined our swear-in ceremony with an anniversary ceremony. It was a held at a fancy inn and several dignitaries were there. The US Ambassador gave us our oath and swore us in and the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister of Swaziland where there to shake our hands and congratulate us. It felt kind of like a big deal and gave me a spark of excitement about getting started in our communities. There were also many returned PCVs there who were recognized and our fellow group 8 and 7 PCVs attended to support and celebrate!
Many of us even dressed up in some traditional wear. Traditional wear basically consists of two pieces of fabric wrapped around you; one on top and one on bottom. They are called emahiya (or lihiya for just one), and my host Make (mom) gave me the top lihiya and a necklace as a gift to wear for swear-in. It has the Kings portrait and his praise name on it. I bought a patterned lihiya in Mbabane to wear on bottom and some earrings from the handy craft market and my outfit was set!
I went shopping for groceries right after and wore by tradition get-up since I had nothing to change into. It gained me a lot of marriage proposals, some sniggering from teenagers, and many compliments from boMake (moms). It’s not weird for people to wear these outfits out, just to see a westerner in them was exciting for the crowds.
So here starts my 730 day (that’s 2 years) adventure in Swaziland!