Va Pue Magazine

Peace Corps Nicaragua stories of service.


peace corps nicaragua

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.

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

#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


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”

Azul – VaPué Podcast [Ep. 3]

VaPué is dipping its toes into the podcast public pool. It might have a little moss in it, but it’s still refreshing and open to the public. Jump in and enjoy!

Episode 3

Download here.

Image artist cred to Nica PCV Carlin O’Brien.

Exploring our stories of service, VaPué tries to answer the question, “What’s it like to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua?” Contents of the VaPué podcast are the personal opinions of volunteers and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government, the Peace Corps, or Peace Corps Nicaragua.

Support: Help Girls Shine Bright at Camp GLOW 2017

Be a part of making this project a reality.
Give. Share. Support.

Project Highlight

Nicaragua | Let Girls Learn | Youth Girls Gender Equality Camp GLOW

Kelsey / Nica 66 / TEFL
Volunteer from Illinois

The gist: “€œMachismo,” which roughly translates to “€œmale chauvinism,”€ permeates Nicaraguan society. The national government recently passed Law 779 to tackle gender-based violence, but work remains to confront gender inequality within families and communities. Empowering Nicaraguan female youth to challenge existent social frameworks, exposing them to a wealth of opportunities, and capacitating them to create change in their communities, is essential to this strategy.

Building on the success of four previous camps, we are moving forward with an evidence-based camp focused on gender equality education for girls ages 12-17. “€œGLOW,” an abbreviation of “Girls Leading Our World,” embodies the camp goal: empowering female youth to promote gender equality in their communities and become positive role models…  (read more)

The goal: $10,203.64

The PCVs: “At Camp GLOW, young women attend engaging workshops on topics such as sexual reproductive health, gender equality, gender and global human rights, and strategies for future planning. The camp promotes leadership skills and encourages the girls to return to their communities to implement projects that stimulate gender equality amongst their peers. Staffed by our fabulous PCVs and Nicaraguan counterparts, Peace Corps Nicaragua aims to continue a sustainable and interactive model empowering the nation’s young women. But to make this camp a reality, we need your help.

Still not convinced?  Head to our GAD Nicaragua blog to see for yourself the joy and power that is camp GLOW.”

The link: Donate here!

Diversity Update: Nov 2016

Diversity Committee / Peace Corps Nicaragua

In July we had an affinity group!


It was amazing. For the first time, in a long time, PCVs who identify as being diverse had a safe space to share and get to know one another. We spent an entire day discussing how our service as diverse volunteers varies greatly, how we can support each other and how to broach the topic of differences with our fellow PCVs and host country nationals. Continue reading “Diversity Update: Nov 2016”

Instagram: La Gritería Chiquita

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: #repost “La Gritería Chiquita marks just over one year in Nicaragua! I remember my first night with my host family consisted of fireworks celebrating Mary. Cheers to the bombas, cheers to María, and cheers to one year in this beautiful country. #peacecorps #peacecorpsnicaragua #notpictured:thebolopassedoutfivefeetaway” #celebrations #howiseepc

Exit Interview: Amelia, ENV 64


Amelia Evans

Site and Sector:

San Lorenzo, Boaco. Environment

Project assignment: 

Co-plan and co-teach science with 4 teachers

Project reality: 

Providing free babysitting for a multitude of necias but wonderful neighborhood niñas. Continue reading “Exit Interview: Amelia, ENV 64”

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