As spectators listened to the speeches given by our distinguished guests and Peace Corps colleagues, themes sprang to light. The ideas of togetherness and friendship and collaboration echoed through everyone. Ululations and cheers showed that we were together and in agreement. These three simple words are very profound and, as a third year volunteer, resonated with me as I heard them stated in numerous ways throughout the ceremony. They are the starting point for a fruitful service, which made them fitting for this occasion.
Chargé d’ Affaires Michael Murphy articulated the richness of the Peace Corps experience – both its moments of joy and exhilaration and those of frustration and hardship. Through it all, he shared a message of positivity and urged the Bots 14s to recognize the formative role they will play in the development of youth and the importance of becoming a member of their local communities. Through this, he stated, “you will be able to open windows of learning and collaboration that no one else can... this collaboration can last a lifetime.”
These sentiments were shared by the Bots 14s, who seem to have a keen insight into Peace Corps service that far outweighs their time in country. Our very own Camille “CJ” Jones and Becky Carnes gave brilliant speeches in Setswana, causing many (myself included) to tear up, as they reminded us all about what really matters – “The meeting of hearts and the emphasis on collaboration... to build on the capacity of people.” At its core, that is what Peace Corps service is all about. “We can accomplish it together – learning from each other – together, Batswana and American, yes we can!”
Finally, at the end of his address, Kgosi Segkoma declared his wish for this Bots 14 group: “When you finish your service, I hope you feel you have given it all – and accomplished it together.” That is my hope for each of you as well. It has been an honor and a joy to have supported you as a PCVL throughout your PST. I am so proud of the Bots 14s and the entire Peace Corps family. Congratulations, guys! PULA!