July 5th, 2013
For the first time in PC Swaziland history we did a group ring out for closing our service. Group nine has had it fare share of ups and downs and through the waves we lost 16 members who decided to end their service early. That left only 23 of us and all but 6 are all closing our service in a two week time span. We all wanted to celebrate each other’s ring out, which are traditional done one by one as people COS, but since we all leave so close together it would be impossible, and the last six who leave later would have no one to celebrate with them. So we decided to all ring out together.
On July 5th, the day after our annual Fourth of July celebration at our Country Director’s house, we all met at the Peace Corps office. PC staff and G10 PCVs all came and we took some time to say a few things about the last two years. Staff congratulated us and thanked us on our service, and we thanked the staff for all their support and each other for being the family that we needed to survive this experience.
Once all was said, we moved outside the office to the “bell” which is actually a weight lifting dumbbell of sorts that hangs next to the front door. We each took a turn to “ring” the bell with a metal rod and sign our names. It was a nice way to feel the end of our service as a group. It would be the last time I would see many of the PCVs in G9 and G10, and the goodbyes were unreal but heartfelt.
Now it’s back to site for two weeks until PC comes to pick me up for my official close of Service (COS).