Robert F. Brown (formerly Maria)
Site and Sector:
San Nicolás, Estelí. ENV64
Community-based Environmental Education
Elementary Science and OTV Teacher and Town Environmental Consultant
Did you have an apodo during service?
Most and/or least useful thing/experience brought into country:
Most useful thing: Nalgene bottles. Least useful thing: Outlet converter. Most useful experience: Teaching hands-on science to kids. Least useful experience: Being a paleontologist
What do you wish you had done here?
Built an oven for my host family as a parting gift
Most creative way you killed time in your site:
Learned some guitar from a local guitar guru and learned how to make bracelets
What books/podcasts/shows/movies did you get hooked on during your service that you would like to recommend to other volunteers?
TEDtalks. Good times.
Most Nicaraguan habit you’ll take home with you:
Being generous with my time talking with others
What will you miss six months from now?
A mandatorily active lifestyle, awesome fruits, fresh warm white corn tortillas, seeing volcanoes erupt, my host family, buying only one of something, abundant public transportation, finding lots of clothes in my size, being of ‘average height’ for a guy, speaking Spanish on the daily, not using toilets, taking care of young trees, and the Nica Peace Corps staff.
What will you not miss six months from now?
Cold showers, waiting for transportation, the dry season and being concerned with the drinking water supply, insect/animal attacks on the house, being confined to a single type of diet, saving up all of my internet tasks until I have internet, the Claro phone system, not having close friends who speak English in my town, and tucking in the mosquitero.
How have you changed during your service?
1. Became more culturally sensitive. 2. Figured out a big part of who I am. 3. Figured out my future career.
Did you ever want to ET?
Yes. Then I talked with a counselor and I stayed.
Big plans for your readjustment allowance?
To pay for conferences and more education/training.
Finding a job and making transitions.
Final words of advice:
Try everything with an open, appreciative mind; judge later. Don’t overanalyze; just do it. Balance courage with compassion.