Va Pue Magazine

Peace Corps Nicaragua stories of service.

Entrance Interview: Thomas, TEFL 68

Who are you?

Thomas Bagby Orange… (*dramatic pause*) Jr.

What do you like to go by?

Thomas, Tom, TO, Orange and/or any variation.

Where do you call home?

Glen Allen, VA

Why did you join the Peace Corps? Continue reading “Entrance Interview: Thomas, TEFL 68”


Instagram: Teacher Life

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: Repost @snrtasolecita: “Teacher Adrian with 11th graders today in Chin City. 🙌 #peacecorpsnicaragua” #peacecorps #teacherlife #tefl

Entrance Interview: Jasmine, ENV 68

Who are you?

Jasmine Williams

What do you like to go by?

Fachenta Frankie! Haha, just kidding. Call me Jasmine!

Where do you call home?

Peace up, A town down! (And for those of you who suffered a childhood without the musical stylings of Usher and Lil Jon, I’m from Atlanta.)

Why did you join the Peace Corps?

I joined the Peace Corps for many reasons but I think that they can all be summed up into the fact that I just want to be a better person. I wanted to learn more about this world, the environment, how to grow my own food, speak Spanish and how to make a lasting positive impact in the lives of others. My aunt and uncle met in the Peace Corps while serving in Ecuador in the 90s. They’ve always been an inspiration for me, because they’re incredibly interesting, well-traveled and full of amazing stories. I want to be just like them.

What is one thing you want to do while in Nicaragua?

Aside from my professional goals, I want to eat a meal in each departamento.

What is your perfect pizza?

This is a hard one, because I’m torn between two pizzas from the same pizzeria. If you’re ever in New York, do yourself a favor and visit Artichoke Pizza. The spinach and artichoke is creamy and delicious without being too overwhelmingly rich. The crab pizza is seasoned with Cajun spices, breadcrumbs and succulent pieces of actual crab meat. I typically order a slice of both, because a.) I’m grown; b.) I love to eat; and c.) I’m indecisive as hellllll.

Who is a character from a TV show or a book that you’ve always resonated with?

Jess from “New Girl”, because she’s a teacher who’s slightly awkward, has a definitive aesthetic and sings show tunes. Side bar: Another Peace Corps goal of mine is to play “True American” with my compañeros during a holiday. It’s a game that was created on the show “New Girl” and I’ve always wanted to play it!

Have you ever danced in the rain? If not, HOP TO IT!

Ummm, absolutely! But I need to do it again soon! The conditions are perfect.

Do you believe in pinky promises?

Yes, but they’re only valid if both parties simultaneously kiss the swirl of their hands while the pinkies are locked.

Are you an PCV in Nica 68 (or an older group) but haven’t yet responded to the Entrance Interview Qs? Never fear, the questions are here.

Instagram: Active Volcano

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #RPCV repost @jlwayy: “Today I received an email with the subject ‘Avoid active volcanos at this moment’ ”
#peacecorps #peacecorpsnicaragua #sancristobal #chinandega #blanford

Entrance Interview: Andrea, TEFL 68

Who are you?

Andrea René Franke

What do you like to go by?

Andrea (pronounced the Spanish way!)

Where do you call home?

Portland, Oregon is where I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. However, a RPCV from The Gambia once told me that home is something that is internal and once you have it you can be at home no matter where you are in the world. I would say that is a meta of mine.

Why did you join the Peace Corps? Continue reading “Entrance Interview: Andrea, TEFL 68”

Instagram: Slice of Campo

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost “Dirt roads, barbed wire fences, and a little ol’ volcano pretty much sum up my slice of campo. #peacecorpsnicaragua #peacecorps”

Entrance Interview: Jared ENV 68

Who are you?

Jared Ginsburg

What do you like to go by?

Jared Ginsburg

Where do you call home?

I am from Kinnelon, New Jersey

Why did you join the Peace Corps? Continue reading “Entrance Interview: Jared ENV 68”

17 Smiles to Start Your Day…or Year

Peace Corps Stories

Sometimes all it takes is one smile to make a Volunteer feel right at home.  (read more)

Instagram: Roaming Cattle

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost @mario_munoz3: “Dirt roads, roaming cattle, overlooked by an active smoking volcano-the Momotombo. For the last 5 days, I immersed myself in a rural pueblo in Leon where current Peace Corps Volunteer @lilgigglz is working with a welcoming ranching and agriculture community of about 600 people. Living in an inviting and friendly community at an entirely different pace of life was an eye-opening experience 👣🐮 #peacecorpsnicaragua #life #culture #travel #discovernicaragua”

Entrance Interview: Neal, ENV 68

Who are you?

My name is Neal.

What do you like to go by?

Neal. I’d say I’m just that boring, but I think it is a pretty nifty name.

Where do you call home?

I’m from the Columbia river gorge, on the Washington side. My house is the evergreen trees, my carpet is the moss on the forest floor, and my window is the rain.

Why did you join the Peace Corps?
 Continue reading “Entrance Interview: Neal, ENV 68”

How I Joined Team Azul in the League of Retirees, Veterans, and Chubbies

Conor / Nica 64 / TEFL

Michaela and I arrived in Nueva Guinea just as the school semester was coming to an end, which left us ample free time our first few months in site. As a result, we made it a priority to meet as many people as possible by getting out and about.

We started by frequenting a local gym, which is where I met Omar. Every night at 6pm, Omar arrived with a laptop computer and a black trash bag with a hole at the bottom. He pulled his head through the hole and wore the bag like a pancho. Then he opened his laptop and turned on the workout program “Insanity.” For 35 minutes, he was the Nicaraguan Sean-T, calling out floor sprints and power jacks in Spanish to a group of 10 to 15 people.

After a while, I asked Omar if he knew how I could join a soccer team. He said he played for a local men’s league and invited me to meet him the following Tuesday night for meeting with some of the organizers. He instructed me to say I had never, ever, played soccer and just wanted to learn. Continue reading “How I Joined Team Azul in the League of Retirees, Veterans, and Chubbies”

Instagram: Volcán Masaya

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost @robinadairswan: “Staring into the heart of a volcano, watching the lava ebb and flow. #volcanmasaya” #peacecorpsnicaragua #landoflakesandvolcanoes

Entrance Interview: Jill, TEFL 68

Who are you?

That is a really good question, I’ll probably never answer right; but, let’s just go with Jill Camargo

What do you like to go by?

I like to go by houses and make up stories about the people who live there.

Where do you call home?

My home is where my husband is, and he’s in Nebraska, I hope.

Why did you join the Peace Corps? Continue reading “Entrance Interview: Jill, TEFL 68”


Nae / Nica 65 / EEP

Have you noticed the business sector initial changed? If not, here’s the 411.

It changed from SBD to EEP. What was once Small Business Development is now Entrepreneurship Education Program. The change was a long time coming as trainees came in with expectations of only working with businesses. When in actuality, the majority of our work is in classrooms with MINED. There is a need to educate all Nicaraguans on what entrepreneurship is, how to successfully run a business, and most importantly, how to become an entrepreneur.

This new acronym better explains what volunteers in this sector do. The framework didn’t change, just the title. It was also better for counterparts in understanding the project. Previously, the project was a mouthful: Desarrollo Pequenos Negocios y Formentos Al Emprendurismo. Now, it’s simply Proyecto Formento Al Emprendurismo. It’s time to educate – first, volunteers, students, business owners, and then community members – that entrepreneurship is more than business.

Instagram: Cleaning Coffee

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost @lindsay_nason: “Cleaning coffee beans with the host family #nica65 #fincalife” #peacecorps #howiseepc

Exit Interview: Robert, ENV 64


Robert F. Brown (formerly Maria)

Site and Sector:

San Nicolás, Estelí. ENV64

Project assignment:

Community-based Environmental Education

Project reality:

Elementary Science and OTV Teacher and Town Environmental Consultant Continue reading “Exit Interview: Robert, ENV 64”

Querida Mita,

Peace Corps life can be a lot to manage at times.  I love my community, but sometimes struggle to be so far from my support group and from the things I used to love to do.  Add in a couple acosos on the street, struggling to communicate in Spanish, or a hard day of teaching and I can start feeling pretty down.  Querida Mita, when life seems stacked against you, how do you keep from feeling blue?

Querida voluntaria,

What do I do to keep from feeling blue? Well, let me tell you something. Fijate que…

There will always be sad times in life, but it’s important to remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Have you thanked God for being alive today? Even if you don’t believe in God, you can still be thankful for that breath you just took. Hay mas tiempo que vida (There is more time than life) is my favorite saying for a reason. Life is short, and we must appreciate it.
Continue reading “Mita’s Secret for Happiness”

Exit Interview, Amanda, ENV 64


Amanda Fisher

Site and Sector:

El Valle de La Laguna, Masaya. Environment 64

Project assignment:

Environmental Education Promoter

Project reality:

Primary school science teacher, garden and compost engineer, papelografo artista.

Did you have an apodo during service?


Most and/or least useful thing/experience brought into country:

My own sheets. Even brought 2 sets, super useful because Nica host family sheets were scratchy and elastic was always shot so never stayed on mattress. I usually got 9-12 hours of sleep in site every night so they were definitely put to good use!  Other most useful thing, EARPLUGS. Least useful: Watertight bag. Never used it and the one chance I could’ve used it (tour of Somoto Cannon, lots of swimming) I didn’t bring it with me!

What do you wish you had done here?

More sports related stuff in site.  It’s what I’m good at and what I love to do but I let the lack of materials and hilly terrain prevented me from getting something started. Wish I could’ve been a part of a committee, maybe would’ve had the chance to be a part of the camps and teach Nica kids the importance and values of being part of a team.

Most creative way you killed time in your site:

Working out with Shaun T videos, he saved me.

What books/podcasts/shows/movies did you get hooked on during your service that you would like to recommend to other volunteers?

Favorite podcast I discovered was The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson.

Most Nicaraguan habit you’ll take home with you:

Lip pointing and nose scrunching.

What will you miss six months from now?

My PC friends, host family, Laguna de Apoyo, Crossfit in Managua.

What will you not miss six months from now?

Having to use public transportation, latrina life, piropos from gross/disrespectful men in public.

How have you changed during your service?

I went from valuing my independence and free bird lifestyle to really longing for a husband and family of my own. “Settling down in Delaware” used to scare me but now I know I am ready to do just that. Living in a culture that truly values family definitely influenced and inspired this change.

Did you ever want to ET?

Every other day but my friends and family kept me going. I’m no quitter.

Big plans for your readjustment allowance?

Pay off credit card debt that I accrued while in PeaceCorps, car maintenance stuff, pretty new clothes 🙂

What’s next?

Coaching college field hockey, part time work as a teacher at an early learning center, find a husband and live happily ever after.

Final words of advice:

No matter how tough things may be… have faith in yourself and others, laugh A LOT, take care of your body and mind, spend time with the people who make you happy, and last but not least: work hard but play harder.

Volunteer Health Update: Nov 2016

 PCMO / Peace Corps Nicaragua

Road traffic safety, Sunscreen, and Emotional Support
Continue reading “Volunteer Health Update: Nov 2016”

Instagram: Fumigation

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost @eallennilsen: “#INeverKnew how dangerous #mosquitoes were. In the tropics, OFF just doesn’t cut it.
#peacecorpsnicaragua #publichealth #zika #dengue #chikungunya #malaria #bloggingabroad #BAphotochallenge” #fumigation

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