Bolajoko Somade (B)
Where are you from?
I am from Maryland. I live in Beltsville, which is about 20 minutes north of Washington, DC.
What were you doing before you joined Peace Corps?
I worked as a finance associate for a small cooking stove company in India.
What do you anticipate to be your greatest challenge?
By nature, I am an introvert. As an EEP volunteer I will have to play a role of an extrovert. The challenge is fighting nature to achieve the goals of the EEP program. Secondly, moving to a new community will require me to cultivate new relationships. This period of transition will be hard for me and make me miss home until those deep connections are formed.
Funny anecdotes from training?
For practicum week, my group went out for breakfast one morning. After everyone had already ordered their meals, I requested tea. I proceeded to ask the waiter what types of tea they had and he said “only lemon”. Although I had green tea (hot) in mind I settled for what was available. After 15 minutes, the waiter returned with a Hi-C juice box labeled “Té de lemon.” My training mates didn’t relent joking about the incident and I am reminded of the importance that specificity holds when communicating in Spanish.
Biggest Spanish mistake?
My biggest shortcoming in learning Spanish is grammar. Shocker. I often use the “Tu” form when conjugating when I actually mean to refer to myself. For example I was on a crowded bus on my way to my training town Niquinohomo and I decided to exit out of the back because it was closest to me. I told the gentlemen hanging out of the door of my intention as the bus approached my stop I stated confidently “¿Va a salir?”. The gentlemen refused to move and were shaking their heads. The cobrador that I had ask to let me know when we came across my stop spoke up for clarification purposes and the men allowed me to exit. I almost missed my stop because I was asking the men if they were getting out, instead of saying I wanted to leave!
What do you hope to accomplish in your service?
I hope to excite teachers and students about the topic of entrepreneurship. I want to share a different story of Americans from my lens. I hope to form deep relationships with my counterparts and people in my community. I would like to coach a volleyball and/or basketball team within my community.
What is something you have done in Nicaragua that you never thought you would do?
Swimming in a volcanic lake at the Laguna de Apoyo!
First impressions of Nicaragua?
Managua was hot but everyone was very friendly. I generally feel like the people of Nicaragua are very amiable.
What surprised you most about Nicaragua?
In my training town, seemingly every family has a business of some sort. One of the goals of the EEP program is to get students and business owners to think about innovation in business but many Nicaraguans already hold the entrepreneurial mindset. I am excited about being able to work with a community and build upon the mindset that many Nicaraguans already possess.
Would you consider dating a Nicaraguan?
Yes. Dating is not a priority of mine but I am open to organic relationships that may potentially form.
What do you miss most from home?
I miss my family and the availability of a diverse array of food.
Favorite Nica food so far?
Chicharron, Gallo Pinto and Jocotes!