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Va Pue Magazine

Peace Corps Nicaragua stories of service.

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Nica 64

6 reasons why Peace Corps blogging is meaningful work

Emily / Nica 64 / TEFL

“As countries around the world seek to advance and connect, Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) of the 21st century have access to technology than their predecessors never dreamed of.

But with the power of access comes great responsibility; the Peace Corps blog was born. Volunteers often start blogging strong. Their excitement fuels updates, committing cultural faux pas provide easy and hilarious content, and everything seems so new… for a while.

Then an incredible transition happens. Through integration, gaining cultural understanding and the simple passing of time, a PCV’s host country becomes a little more like home. Volunteers might say later that this is when they really started to feel like they hit their stride, but it is also often where their blogging faded away. It doesn’t have to be though.” (read more)

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”

Exit Interview: Robert, ENV 64

Name:

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”

#BaldIsBeautiful: Why I’ve Decided to Shave My Head

Emily / Nica 64 / TEFL

In December of 2015, a crew of PCVs and Nicaraguan students held a community event, raised over $5,000 and donated a lot of hair.  This is part of that story.

“This December, my husband and I will have a lot less hair on our heads.

I’ve donated my hair twice before. I tend to like long hair, and used to be rather attached to it. My junior year of college I decided I wanted to know I could feel pretty without super long hair. I cut it short and loved it!

This time though, it’s a little different. Short will not suffice.” (read more)

Exit Interview: Sam, ENV 64

Name:

Sam Connor

Site and Sector:

Env, Diriá

Project assignment:

First, co-teach and plan with primary school teachers.  Second, implement community environmental projects.

Project reality: Continue reading “Exit Interview: Sam, ENV 64”

Si Dios Quiere

Nicholas / Nica 64 / ENV

“Si Dios quiere” es un dicho tan común en Nicaragua como los frijoles rojos, los bailes folklóricos y el uso del voseo. Se escucha en la calle, en la casa y en el trabajo. Es una conjugación sencilla de palabras y mientras sea tan sencillo para el nicaragüense, puede causar frustración o miedo al extranjero a quien nunca creció o se formó en su fe.

Entendamos la frase mejor. Continue reading “Si Dios Quiere”

Exit Interview: Lindsay, ENV 64

Name:

Lindsay Ellingson

Site and Sector:

Balgue, Ometepe. ENV64

Project assignment:

Environmental education

Project reality:

Just plain old education Continue reading “Exit Interview: Lindsay, ENV 64”

Exit Interview: Robin, TEFL 64

Name:

Robin Swanhuyser

Site and Sector:

Nindirí, Masaya. TEFL

Project assignment:

TEFL Teacher Trainer

Did you have an apodo during service?

Robin Hood.  Continue reading “Exit Interview: Robin, TEFL 64”

Exit Interview: Michelle, ENV 64

Name

Michelle Zaragoza

Site and Sector

Juigalpa, Chontales. Environment 64

Project assignment

Primary environmental educator

Project reality

Taking hours creating the perfect materials for classes that NEVER happen while eating WAY TOO many tajadas. Continue reading “Exit Interview: Michelle, ENV 64”

Exit Interview, Char, TEFL 64

Name:

Charleen Johnson Stoever.

Site and Sector:

Matagalpa, Matagalpa, TEFL

Project assignment: 

Co-plan and co-teach English with 3 Nicaraguan English teachers.

Project reality: 

Practicing how to pronounce “three” differently from “tree,” coming out to strangers and colleagues, and having meaningful discussions about race, class, sexual orientation, gender, mental health, and destigmatizing  these discussions. I also explained that I could be white and Mexican and that not all Americans are white, blonde, and with blue eyes.

I also led STAR’s LGBTQ Safe Zone Trainings for Peace Corps Nicaragua staff, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and host families. These trainings were incredibly rewarding.

I also used my social media skills to fundraise thousands of dollars for Camp Glow for Girls and blogged about the effects this amazing camp had on Nicaraguan girls, and I also reflected on what we could do better for the next camp. Camp Glow was my favorite week of my service.
Continue reading “Exit Interview, Char, TEFL 64”

Exit Interview: Jennifer, TEFL 64

Name:

Jennifer Awesome Rowley

Site:

Sébaco, Matagalpa

Sector:

TEFL

Project assignment:

To enhance the lesson planning and English instruction abilities of the counterparts assigned

Project reality:

Become friends with everyone in sight and maybe teach a few kids some English words Continue reading “Exit Interview: Jennifer, TEFL 64”

Nica 64 Exit Interviews

The time for Nica 64’s official COS has arrived. Over the next few weeks, we will share some of their final thoughts and words of wisdom here on the blog in the form of VaPué Exit Interviews.


Are you an RPCV in Nica 64 (or an older generation) but didn’t get to respond to the Exit Interview Qs? Never fear, the questions are here: Continue reading “Nica 64 Exit Interviews”

Dancing Queens

Traci / Nica 64 / TEFL

A while ago my friends Emily and Andrew Nilsen invited me to a Noche de Ruben Dario (Ruben Dario Night). I accepted the invitation with the thought that it’d be a night of poetry, as Ruben Dario is a famous poet from Nicaragua. Once I arrived at the event with Emily and Andrew I knew it couldn’t just be a poetry night because of the turnout. The line went down the block and once everyone entered the school, it was completely full. We soon came to realize that it was a cultural night filled with dances, costumes, and poetry.

So far in Nicaragua when I had attended a cultural night, I had seen performances that included people talking on the stage, people stopping in the middle of the dance to laugh, or simply people leaving the stage when they forget the dance. I was shocked, however, because this event was nothing of the sort. All of the dancers had costumes, they smiled while they danced, they didn’t talk or laugh, and they had a professional composure. I immediately was drawn in and felt an ache for art and performance. It reminded all of of the times I have performed on a stage. The lights that block out the faces in the audience, the loud music, your heart racing right before you enter the stage, the beautiful and colorful outfits, and the culmination of all of your hard work.

Right then and there I knew I would need to put something together in my own town. Continue reading “Dancing Queens”

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