"I, Alicia Carter, promise to..."

"....serve alongside the people of Lesotho.

I promise to share my culture with an open heart and open mind.

I promise to foster an understanding of the people of Lesotho, with creativity, cultural sensitivity, and respect.

I will face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination.

I will embrace the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I serve and beyond.

In proud tradition of Peace Corps' legacy, and in the spirit of the Peace Corps' family past, present and future -

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer."

Along with the words of the Peace Corps Lesotho pledge above, we affirmed an Oath of Service with the U.S. Ambassador of Lesotho, Mathew Herrington. Most truly special moments in my life happen a lot quicker than I want them to. When I accidentally jumped on top of a whale shark, feeling the smoothness of its' skin against my bare feet, it swam away faster than I could surface. When I spoke at my high school graduation in front of a stadium of nearly 6,000 people it had felt like a dream, only to wake up, applause ringing my ears, realizing the memorized words eased out of my mouth all too quickly. Now, joining one of the proudest U.S. traditions there is, in ten sentences I had become a Peace Corps volunteer. From that moment on, I would be forever changed. 

Change often comes abruptly for me, as much as I prepare for it to come about. It is a familiar experience, like waiting for the sun to rise over the mountains. It takes preparation and patience - Getting up early, setting up my tripod, watching the light change over the valley and the clouds swiftly move across the sky, changing my camera settings. Then, as the sun crests over the mountain peaks I can never quite slow the change down like I want to. Seconds later, it is day.

But there is a secret in embracing change. A beauty in a new beginning. In surrendering what I know and who I am today, I will move forward to the unknown. One that is inevitably full of growth and experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer.