It's 4 am on June 3rd and after just three short hours of sleep, it's time to head to Detroit airport to leave for the Peace Corps. My mom and sister take me to Detroit and after saying goodbye I fly to Philadelphia to meet up with 44 other trainees for staging.
Upon arriving at Philadelphia airport I meet up with a fellow trainee and head to the hotel where our staging event is being held. The staging event is around five hours and involves completing various forms, icebreakers, scenarios, self-reflection and assessmemt, logistics, etc. After the sessions come to an end we all go out to dinner to celebrate our last night in the United States.
It's now 2 am on June 4th and after just one hour of sleep (4 hours total the last two days) we leave Philadelphia on buses to New York City to fly to Mozambique. Shortly after arriving at JFK we check in, proceed through TSA, and wait for our first leg to Johannesburg, South Africa. After 14+ hours stuck in a flying tube over the Atlantic ocean, we arrive in Johannesburg. Coincidentally, while on our layover we meet Nancy, a current Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) on her way back to Mozambique from a trip home to America. We proceed to bombard her with a wide range of questions to get her insight, tips, and recommendations. After a nice lunch at the airport, it's time for our final leg to Maputo, Mozambique.
A short one hour plane ride and we finally arrive in Mozambique! We file through immigration and gather our checked bags (nearly 100 bags!). After exiting the restricted area, we're greeted by current volunteers and Peace Corps staff anxiously awaiting our arrival and cheering. All of our luggage is loaded onto a trailer and we pile in two busses as we make our way through beautiful and bustling Maputo to our hotel for two nights.
We arrive to a beautiful hotel where we have a quick orientation and snacks. The main tasks for the night are to get vaccinated for various things (varies by person), complete a medical interview, and get malaria medication. After completing my medical interview with the medical officers, I enjoy a delicious dinner with the other trainees as well as current volunteers who share their insights and wisdom with us.
It's been a busy couple days with very little sleep. The next day and a half will be filled with more orientation sessions and medical tasks before we move to our training village on Thursday and move in with our host families who we will be living with for the next 10-12 weeks.