Hey! I’m Alice Kinney in Diriamba, Carazo.

Where do you call home?

Southwest Michigan! I grew up in Hastings and went to school in Kalamazoo.

What were you doing before you joined Peace Corps?

I was finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education of Spanish and English at Western Michigan University. I was also a nanny for a family with two little girls (love them)!

Weirdest/most specific/interesting item you brought to country with you?

Honestly, I think I packed mostly normal stuff but the most useful item has been my Swiss Army knife. I’ve had this baby since I has in high school and it has served me well. Whether you need to open a bottle (of something), sharpen a pencil, remove a sliver, or cut through cardboard/plastic this little guy has got your back!

First impressions of Nicaragua? What surprised you most?

Hot but beautiful. And I couldn’t believe how kind and open the people were. This is something I am still trying to understand but the Nicaraguans that I have shared my time with have been nothing but patient with me. My host families are a huge part of my service and I am always surprised how much they care about me and my well being.

Funny anecdote from training/service so far?

I was invited to a “traditional dance class” to practice Salsa, Bacahta, and Merengue by my neighbor. I went thinking “Oh, how awesome! I can work on fine-tuning my dancing.” But when I arrived it turned out to be a Zoomba training class that was focused on the movement of the hips and butt. I’ll let you imagine my face when I discovered this and was positioned in the front row of a full-on twerk shop. Anyways, the first class was a bit of a shock but needless to say I returned a number of times to get my sweat on and bond with my neighbor.

Best Spanish mistake?

Hmmmm… Well this actually took place in Spain during study abroad. I was planning to go see the movie “Planet of the Apes” with a group of friends. I told my host mom a few days ahead of time and she seemed really confused but I just assumed she had never heard of the movie. I talked about it again the next day and I still received a blank stare. Finally on the day of the movie I told her for the third time that I was leaving to see the movie “La Planeta de los Apios” and she said okay. It wasn’t until I sat down in the movie theater that I realized the movie was called “La Planeta de los Simios” and I quick found out that apio = celery.

Favorite Nica food?

Easy. Empanadas de Maduro con pico de gallo y crema

What do you hope to accomplish in your service?

I hope to positively develop myself as a human being. I also hope to serve as a positive example for the kids in my community and be a bridge for them to reach their potential.

What do you miss most from home?

Okay, where my Michiganders at?? I would pay big bucks for a Muldoone’s Vegetarian Pasty from Munising, Michigan. Google it.