Swear In

Peace Corps Zambia
Starting the second week of Pre-Service Training, I went in forty minutes early everyday, for additional, one-on-one language training. All of the PCV's assured us that no one was ever held back, for not doing well on their LPI (language proficiency exam), "Everyone passes." But still, I wanted to do so on my own merit and learn the language. The minimum score to pass is Intermediate Mid.
The levels are: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished, each broken down further to Low, Mid, and High.
Intermediate- Mid
Can participate in simple conversations about some survival needs and social traditions. Can discuss topics beyond basic survival, such as personal history and leisure time activities.
Beginning to use correct basic grammar constructions such as subject-verb and noun-adjective agreement.
It turns out that this year, Peace Corps Zambia decided to, completely unannounced, crack down on the LPI. In years past, several trainees would score Advanced Mid or higher. The best score this year was Intermediate High. I scored Intermediate Mid, but six out of the twenty-six, in our intake, did not.

Sadly, Jonathan, from my language group, was one of those six. It was probably due more to the fact that he's an extreme introvert and can't ramble on about himself like I can, either in English or Chinyanja. So he's being forced, along with the five others, to stay in Chongwe for another week of Pre-Service Training.

This had a major impact on group moral, the past couple of weeks. Those who did not pass were still allowed to swear in, at the ambassador's house, but it was very bitter sweet. The twenty of us who did pass were all very excited to get to our sites and, even more so, ecstatic to be done with PST. Yet, we couldn't really celebrate, without feeling like we were rubbing it in.

It's great to finally be an actual Peace Corps Volunteer, but it also sucks to leave one of the best friends that I've made, thus far, behind. Brian, Melissa, and I have spent the last few days in Chipata, buying supplies to bring to our respective sites: mattress, tables, chairs, bed frame, hand tools, bags of concrete, solar set-up, cutlery, tableware, plastic bins, pots, pans, shelves, and stoves. The italicized items I bought off of Brad, who I am replacing, so they are already at site (fingers crossed).

My favorite item purchased: a custom-made standing height grill, constructed from scrap metal in the town market.

Find out how to join the Peace Corps!

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Location: Chipata, Zambia


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