Newest Peace Corps take their oath

By Deidre Fanene ,

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GROUP 88: The new Peace Corp volunteers with government officials after their swearing in ceremony.

GROUP 88: The new Peace Corp volunteers with government officials after their swearing in ceremony.

After 10 weeks of training focusing on technical skills and learning about the culture and the Samoan Language, twenty volunteers from U.S.A were sworn in as the final step before they move to their two year assignments at Primary Schools.

U.S Ambassador to Samoa, Mark Gilbert was present during the swearing in as well as the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio.

The Minister acknowledged the Peace Corps for their contribution to the development of education in Samoa.

 “Through the volunteer work and efforts of the Peace Corps they have contributed a lot to our efforts to improve the teaching and learning in our schools,” said Loau.

“We have not yet reached our goals and aspirations for education, but we know that through this great partnership, we will see positive changes in lives of our children.

“We appreciate the support that our schools and teachers have received this year through your assistance in providing training and professional development workshops for teachers at all levels.”

He also told them that they will be working with schools in the rural area where their support is needed the most.

“I extend to you our government’s sincere appreciation for choosing Samoa as your assignment and home country for the next couple of years,” he said.

“We encourage you to work with your schools, host families, principals and counterparts to ensure we fully utilize your expertise while you are here in Samoa.

“I believe you will continue to do wonderful things for our children’s learning.

“I also know that in return you will also treasure the culture and the traditions you will learn for the communities.”

Ambassador Mark Gilbert thanked the group for their hard work.

“To the Group 88 trainees - Thank you for the wise personal and professional decisions you have made that have resulted in this stop along your life’s journey – and brought you here to Samoa,” he said.

“I’m delighted that you will soon join the distinguished 87 prior groups - and that you are part of the excellent program we have here in Samoa - a program that has been active since 1967.”

He encouraged them to take pride in their new home for the next two years.

“I am confident that each of you will maintain the high standards associated with being a Pisi Koa – a Peace Corps Volunteer,” he said.

“If there is one point I’d like to drive home today it would be to remind you that you are the vanguard of U.S. engagement in Samoa. 

 “Each one of you is a U.S. ambassador to the village in which you serve.  

“On behalf of the United States Government, I ask that you take your assignments seriously, and always remember that the work you are doing is making a difference in people’s lives every day.”  

The event ended with the volunteers entertaining the guests with short speeches in Samoan and a cultural song and dance they had learned during the training.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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