Fifty Peace Corps trainees boarded a plane to Togo in August 1962. They had completed their pre-service training at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and would go through one week of orientation in Lomé, Togo’s capital, before being taken to their posts. Nearly five decades later, your group will be coming to Togo to do all of your pre-service training. You will have an experience that puts you directly into Togo so you can decide if you want to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years – “the toughest job you will ever love.”
Although training models have changed, the basic challenges and rewards of serving as a Volunteer have not. There will be days when you wonder why you decided to do this and yet, by the end, many of you will be reluctant to stop doing it. The same child who shouted “Foreigner” during your first week at post may have become your little brother. The French or local language you found so difficult during training will have invaded your English speech. You will be craving hot spices that before had made you weep. You will feel you have accomplished something–helping others develop and finding you were developing yourself as well. However, you would do well to remember this African proverb: She who loves watching the day break must not be afraid of the dark. The Togolese and American staff members are here to assist you through the dark and to celebrate the light. In the communities in which you will live and work, your Togolese friends, neighbors and co-workers will surround you with questions and affection. Among the Volunteers, you will meet other Americans that you might never have had a chance to know in the U.S. You will come to love this time and place.
Welcome to Peace Corps Togo!