Friday, October 28, 2011

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Celebration

Last night was the 50th year celebration of Peace Corps world wide and 45 year anniversary of Peace Corps in The Gambia.  The Festivities where held at the village of Kanili.  This is the village of the president.  The day started off with all of the Peace Corps volunteers, Staff and United States Embassy staff; nearly 200 people caravanned in land cruisers and two large tour buses all the way to the village. 

The Parade grounds
Once we arrived we were treated to an amazing lunch of Goat, Lamb, Beef and bbq chicken along with amazing salads and fresh fruit. After lunch we walked over to the parade grounds where the event would take place.  As we waited they had a live band and music playing. 

The President and the Ambassador to his right

About The President, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh made a entrance by driving his own range rover into the parade grounds and then continued to shake all of the Peace Corps volunteers, staff and embassy’s hands.  Then there were speeches by five volunteers in five of the local languages along with speeches of Peace Corps counterparts, US Ambassador to The Gambia and the Peace Corps Director.  The Keynote speaker was the President himself which gave a great speech thanking us along with thanking our parents back in America for both making sacrifices to come here and help his country.
The President giving his keynote address

After the speech the President gave all of the woman volunteers custom tailored outfits.  After they received their outfits the men also received custom tailored outfits.  I was one of the lucky ones and was third in line to choose my outfit.  When I walked up to the president he said I could have a small outfit or a large outfit that was exactly like his.  It didn’t take me anytime to decide that I wanted one just like his.  Once I shook his hand and thanked him and examined it closer and it was actually a outfit that had been tailored for the president himself just in a different color. 

Weighing my options
A few of us decided to try them on and see how they looked.  They look amazing; they looked so good that three of us actually got our pictures taken with the president in them.  I don’t have that picture now but I PROMISE I will get it up as soon as I receive it.  
Showing off our new outfits

By then it was almost one in the morning.  We all walked back over to the lodge for dinner which was the best dinner I have ever eaten at one in the morning.  We then heard from The Gambian police band which featured a bagpipe, and watched a video that one of our volunteers had made about Peace Corps service in The Gambia.  Once dinner was finished it was about in the morning.  About half the volunteers stayed spend the night in Kanili and the other half came back to stay the night at the Peace Corps Transit house.

Overall the celebration was great and something that I will remember for a long time.

A little proof I was their thanks to the jumbotron

No comments:

Post a Comment