I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

According to the United States government I am officially a Peace Corps volunteer.  I don’t think they knew what they were getting themselves into for the next two years.

The swearing in ceremony included the expected speeches from the Peace Corps Country Director, the Namibian Health Minister, and the U.S. Ambassador.  I understand Obama was planning to officiate but Air Force One was delayed.  Bummer.  I know he really wanted to be there to see us get sworn in.

Soon it would be my moment to shine and as the time drew closer for me to make a speech on behalf of my language group.  The fear I thought that I allayed the night before began pulsating from my toes and crept menacingly upward until it lodged in my throat.  I was being taunted with the vise-like grip of possible anaphylactic shock mere seconds before stepping onto the podium to graciously thank the community in khoekhoegovab. 

It’s times like these when I wished MacGyver was around to fashion an epipen out of 2 pointy sticks and a sugar packet or at least MacGruber, who would blow up the building leaving me the opportunity to escape under the cover of darkness. 

I was clearly going to die a bloated and painful death, on national television nonetheless, requiring the U.S. government to create an elaborate theory involving weather balloons and a second gunmen, thus I prepared myself accordingly.  Unfortunately death was not imminent and I found myself prodded to my feet by my KKG cohort who made it clear that she was unwilling to replace me in case of cold feet, anaphylactic shock, or death.  I am positive she would lean my cold, dead corpse on the podium and force the final guttural sounds of death into clicks rather than speak herself. 

Somehow I managed to fumble my way to the podium and looked imploringly to the audience, willing them through telepathic brain waves not to curse me or throw sharp objects at me as I tend to bruise easily.  “!Gai llGoas…”  I then managed a weak smile to ingratiate myself on the audience.  I fumbled my way through the remainder of the speech feeling as though I my words were pushing their way out of a mouthful of molasses.

At times I couldn’t tell when I was clicking or when my knees were knocking together as they shook so much they sounded like the little drummer boy on crack.  Fortunately, my speech finally came to a close after what seemed like a millennia and I stepped off the podium and wobbled away to calm my jelly filled body.



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.