Miraflor VAC Meeting

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Twice a year, Peace Corps has VAC (Volunteer Advisory Counsel) meetings.  They used to be the way information got to volunteers, before cell phones and internet reached even the most rural of areas.  Now, they’re a great reason to get the volunteers of a region together to get in-person updates and just spend some needed time together.  For our VAC meeting last weekend, the Estelí volunteers went up in the mountains of the Miraflor reserve, enjoyed the cool air, rain, and the company of good friends.  Can you spot the never-cold Norwegian?  [photo cred to David Schmidt / Khalan Boyer]

Dicho for Financial Expectation Management

The new group of Peace Corps Trainees arrived this week, crazy!  Welcome Nica 68!  It seems like a few months ago (and a lifetime ago) that we were just starting our Peace Corps experience.  Over the next three months, but especially during the next couple weeks, they’ll be getting a crash course on Nicaraguan culture and ways to avoid faux pas.  Hopefully, this dicho can help a bit:

A la ley de Santa Marta, cada quien pago lo que se harta – By the law of Saint Martha, everyone pays for what they stuff themselves with.

Without context, you may not see why this phrase is important.  However, consider that during training we receive about $10 a week.  Our meals and lodging are paid directly by Peace Corps, but $10 is all we get for snacks, transport, etc.  We’re also trying to integrate and get to know our host family and community members, so could very likely invite a new Nica friend to do something with us around town.  But beware! In Nicaragua, the Spanish verb invitar suggests that you will cover all the expenses of the invitee.  Try to clarify and say “Vamos a la ley de Santa Marta.”

Turns out the connotations of invitar aren’t just unique to Nicaragua.  During our trip to Guatemala, I learned they have a similar expression:  la ley de Jesús Cristo, cada quien con su pisto – by the law of Jesus Christ, everyone uses their own money.

Transparency is always the best policy in these situations, because, as they say, cuentas claras conservan amistades – settled accounts maintain friendships.

 

Water, Water Everywhere

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When it rains, it pours…literally, which often leads to flooded streets and leaky roofs.  While the rain is good for the crops (and way better than the droughts that Nicaragua had the last few years), all the standing water creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Our local hospital is completely full of people with Chikunguyna, Dengue, or Zika symptoms and many work colleagues and friends are out sick with one of those three pesky mosquito-borne viruses. Here’s to abate, fumigation, mosquito nets, and bug spray!

#Community – Photo Challenge

July’s Photo Challenge from Blogging Abroad is all about community. May these photos give you a glimpse into the amazing and varied communities with which we work and interact.


#CutulreShock VideoCrawled out of bed almost two hours after crawling in to record this gem at 10:45pm on a week night. It’s sure hard to sleep when a band plays for an hour right outside your open-air house, but it’s moments like this that remind me that it’s important to know how others live, what makes them tick, and what matters to their hearts. That’s ultimately why I’m a #peacecorpsvolunteer. When we don’t understand, may we respond with curiosity and questions instead of fear and frustration. May we listen, may we engage, may we learn. #peacecorpsnicaragua #peacecorps #cultureshock #community #bloggingabroad #BAphotochallenge #howiseepc


Blogging Abroad Photo Challenge:
#Community in Your Host Country

Blogging Abroad photo challenge

Digital ambassadors promoting cross-cultural exchange.

 

Nica 64 COS Conference

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It’s hard to believe that our Close of Service Conference is here! While Andrew and I are extending until next March, our TEFL64 [email protected] are getting ready to head their separate ways. This community has been through a lot together. I’m thankful for our collective treasure trove of stories and that each of them will forever understand why this beautiful land of lakes and volcanoes is so dear to our hearts.  As some of our group begins to leave this week, we’re thankful that we still have 7 months to work towards our goals and spend time with the people who have become part of our family.

Firmas Galore

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Every semester we write reports in Spanish to summarize all of our work: with counterparts in the schools, coordinating STEP, staffing camps, and more.  We compile it with the beautiful firmas of our counterparts and MINED representatives.  A few even have their own seals to make it super official.

Familia sin fronteras

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We had the incredible honor of visiting family in Guatemala this past week.  As we spent the week learning about the culture and traditions of Guate, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities and differences between them and those we have here in Nica.  The biggest similarity – the most important part of life is the people you spend it with.

Musings from Nica | A Couple's Journey in the Peace Corps

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