Staging is orientation. I will spend a couple of days in a major U.S. city, most likely Philadelphia, getting to know other volunteers I will serve with in Zambia.
I have been introduced to some of the volunteers I will serve with on Facebook. We have a page specifically for Invitees. I'm at the Invitee stage right now. I will become a Peace Corps Volunteer after I complete the three month training period in Zambia.
These Invitees represent two groups: LIFEers (Linking Income Food and the Environment program) and RAPpers (Rural Aquaculture Promotion program). I am a LIFEer. The Facebook page also includes Peace Corps Volunteers who are currently serving and they answer our questions, such as what we should expect to eat, and what we should pack. Roasted grubs are included in the food items to eat, and for some reason I'm kind of excited about trying them! The current Volunteers are a great resource. I will meet many of them in Zambia while they enter their second year of service.
I have a little over one month to complete my medical and dental tasks. I'm cutting it real close, but I had to put this off due to financial reasons. And yes, I admit it, this is also partly due to my being a procrastinator, but it is justified since I work much better under pressure. (Yeah, right.)
I've come this far and I am certain I will get everything done in time. All medical/dental has to be done two months prior to departure which means my due date is December 5th. It is a race against the clock now. My physical is scheduled, but I need my blood drawn first. I will then need my vaccinations. I had my dental exam, xrays, and five cavities filled. Once all of these things are finished I wait to be medically cleared.
I compare applying to the Peace Corps to a marathon: it is a race and the goal is to finish. Right now I am at the home stretch when the last few miles are most difficult. It is true, I've come a long way and even though I am tired of red tape, getting my teeth drilled, and scheduling appointments, soon I will be able to sit down, relax, take a deep breath and reflect what I just went through and envision what my future holds for me, just like envisioning my next race.