Peace Corps Volunteers Take Oath

Forty-eight United States of America (USA) peace corps volunteers last Thursday took the oath of service at a swearing-in ceremony held at Okahandja.

The group that will serve Namibia for two years in various fields underwent nine weeks of training, including local language courses and will work alongside community members engaged in sustainable community development.

Some of the volunteers will teach mathematics and science in Namibian schools while others will assist with economic development projects.

The volunteers include seven Master’s level professionals, two Masters International candidates and one doctoral level professional. The remainder of the volunteers have Bachelor’s level degrees in fields such as biology, animal science, chemistry, mathematics, aerospace, engineering, mathematics, marketing, international business and sustainable energy amongst others.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, the CEO of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Tarah Shaanika commended the United States of America Peace Corps for sending volunteers to Namibia since 1990. Shaanika said peace corps volunteers have worked with some of the poorest communities and have in turn made enormous contributions to the country.

“They have helped us develop human capacity,” Shaanika added. He noted that human capacity development is critical in Namibia realising its ambitions as articulated in Vision 2030. “We cannot entrust the youth with Vision 2030 without educating the youth and U.S peace corps volunteers have been valuable partners in this journey,” further stated Shaanika.

USA Embassy Chargeacute d’Affaires, John Kowalski, who presided over the ceremony, lauded families who hosted the volunteers for their hospitality.

He also acknowledged the enduring partnership of government and police officials who ensured the safety and security of the American volunteers.

The volunteers expressed gratitude in local languages such as Afrikaans, Otjiherero, DamaraNama to their families for the warm reception into their homes.

They also entertained the audience through dance and song in local languages that they learnt in the nine weeks they have been in the country.

Volunteer Den Baseda who grew up in Vietnam said in an interview with New Era he volunteered throughout high school.

“This is who I am as a person. This is what makes me feel at home,” said Baseda when asked why he became a peace corps volunteer.

Baseda who will be working in Khorixas said he wants to integrate himself in his new community whilst making his contribution. “I want to help but also to be part of that community,” the 27-year old Baseda said. Another volunteer, Emily Clauss said she was inspired to take her teaching skills beyond the USA.

“I want to have inspired students to continue learning for their whole lives and hopefully I can pass that on to them even if it’s just one student,” said the 30-year- old Clauss who will be based in Rehoboth.

Source : New Era