Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally at Site!

My Home in Nicaragua! Located in Chinandega

Here are some pictures of where I live.
I really love my town. Its medium size, beach town and its hot!

The little shop located next to my house!

Where we get smoothies!

A random street!

Another Random Street!

This kids acts like he is 20, he is always walking around

Inside of my house!

Official Volunteers

July 31, 2009
Intercontental Hotel, Managua

To become an official volunteer you have to be sworn-in, much like the president, except that we didn’t have the entire nation watching; just a few reps from various organizations, PC staff and our Nica host families. It was held at the Intercontental Hotel in Managua. They provided us with a light snack before with some drinks and then we began the ceremony.

They welcomed everybody, oh yeah this was all in Spanish, by the way, and then they gave awards of recognition to your families for hosting us. After that, 2 volunteers gave a quick speech of thanks and gratitude, to the families. Then 4 of the Agriculture volunteers sang a song called Dale Una Luz, (I’m going to try and get the video). Then we had a short recess where we had more drinks and a snack.

After the recess we sat in order of which they were going to call our names and the actual swearing in process began. We sang the national anthem of Nicaragua first (see below) and then the national anthem of the USA. Then the Ministry of Education gave a speech and then swore us in, in Spanish (which, for me really didn’t count!). But it was funny because we had to repeat what he had said, and he said a really long part, and nobody could repeat it so we just laughed and he said it again, but in smaller parts!

Then a representative from the Embassy gave a speech in English, which I enjoyed much more, and then he swore us in (see the oath below). After that, they called our names individually and we walked up, shook hands, received a Peace Corps pendent, and then signed our names into a book (not sure what the book was!). It seemed like graduation! We took a lot of pictures and ate cake and chatted, and then we headed back to our hotel. It started at around 8am and ended at 11am. It was weird how much work we had to do to get to that point and it was over in a flash! Crazy!

Himno Nacional de Nicaragua
!Salve a ti Nicaragua! En tu suelo
ya no ruge la voz del cañón
ni se tiñe con sangre de hermanos
tu glorioso pendón bicolor.

Brille hermosa la paz en tu cielo,
nada empañe tu gloria inmortal,
que el trabajo es tu digno laurel
y el honor es tu enseña triunfal.

Swearing-In Oath
In the name of God and for the understanding and friendship among people and Nations, I solemnly promise to work with dedication and enthusiasm in the task that are assigned to me, during two years, or during the time that I may stay in the country.

I promise to strive to secure bonds for affections and solidarity with the Nicaraguan people through mutual respect and sincere vocation of service.

For God, for Country, for Peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4th of July in Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua
July 4th, 2009
It looks like Europe Here!

Jose, Igor, Sol, Jenifer and I went to Granada on Saturday for the day. We took a bus and arrived there in the morning at around 9. Right away we went to Kathy’s waffle house to have breakfast. It was just like an American breakfast. I had a plan waffle and Jose had eggs, bacon and home fries, we shared everything and it was delicious!

We were there for about an hour and a half. After breakfast we walked to the San Francisco convent and then we just walked around the city. We walked down to the lake and sat there for a while. After the lake we went back into the city and went to the old church. We sat in the church for a while, before searching for lunch. We ended up eating lunch at this place called the Garden cafe. It was great light food and they had the best smoothies. We were getting a little tired of walking around and it was hot, so we took the bus back at around 3pm.

Volcan Masaya With The Gang

Volcan Masaya
June 27, 2009
Ah Yeah It's Still Acitve!!

My training group had a technical session at the visitor center at the bottom of Vulcan Masaya, which is located in the department of Masaya. It is one of the many active volcanoes in Nicaragua, but not the biggest. After the technical session they took us up to the volcano. The volcano was releasing a lot of smoke, but we couldn’t see any lava.

We walked up to the lookout point and had a great view of Masaya. We hung out at the lookout for a while and then headed back to the van for a snack. After the snack we busted out José’s jump ropes and we all played double Dutch. It was funny watching people try and jump into the double Dutch. We left shortly after that and headed back to our training towns.

Volunteer Site Visit

June 14-17 2009
What a beautiful city!
We were assigned sites to visit volunteers and see what volunteer life was like. I went to the department of Estelí. It was beautiful, hilly, and very green. I had to take a bus from Managua to Estelí and it took about 2 hours. I arrived on Sunday and left on Wednesday. It was a vacation because we didn’t really have anything to do. Her classes were cancelled and so we had a lot of down time.

She showed me around her town and I met a lot of people that she worked with. It was nice to see what life was like after training. She was only a month away from leaving so she was winding down on her work. The point of the visit was to help us decided what we do and don’t want in a site. After that visit I decided that I wanted a mid-big size site, with less teaching and more potential for secondary projects. What will I get….?
a dog feeding a kitten.. you dont see that everyday!

At A Finca With Our Youth Group!

The Finca & The Youth Group
June 1, 2009
The Finca (AKA someone's back yard!)

Our Youth group invited us to a Finca, which is like a fruit farm. One of the girls in our group lives on a Finca. It took our training town (Juan, Igor, Jenifer and I) 30 minutes to walk there. Lucky for us had a guide to get to her house otherwise we would have never found it! At her house they gave us some cacao juice that tasted like chocolate and coconut. After our juice, we walked around and they showed us all the different types of fruits that grow there.

We tried fresh coconut, Mangos, and other fruits that I don’t know the name too! We walked further and further into the forest, down toward the lagoon. We passed a bunch of Monkeys and tried a lot of different types of fruits along the way. We didn’t make it all the way to the lagoon, thank goodness, but we make it too this pool that is at the bottom of a small waterfall. The kids were great, teaching us all about the forest and fruits! We probably spent 3 hours total at the Fina, before going back home.

Cacao Juice... UMMMM

Cutting the Coco!

Crazy Monkies Video!

A Rondom Religious Procession!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Town and Daily Life

San Juan, Nicaragua
May 16-July 31st 2009
The main street in my town!!

I am living with my host family now! They are a well to do family and very nice. I have a nice room with a queen size bed!! YAY I have my mosquito net up. ( i will post pictures on my blog soon) The town is small and you can walk the entire thing in like 20 minutes! I shower using buckets! So i splash the water over me, and then dip my hair in another one!! We flush the toilet with buckets of water, and we don't put toilet paper in the toilet. I have cable tv with lots of channels that play movies and shows in english, with spanish subtitiles!! The internet cafe is right next to my house!!

Most days this week have been as follows:

Wake up at 7am get ready
Eat fruit, or eggs with beans and toast at 7:30 (we are having pancakes on Saturday!)
Spanish class is from 8-12
Lunch at 12, Rice, chicken, beans...
Applied Spanish from 1-3 (walk around and talk with people)
Shower by bucket
Work with group on homework, readings or prep for next class
Go for a walk to neighboring towns

Next week we will start a youth group and begin giving lessons (in spanish.. ahhh) on business and start our project with them. (creating a product or service to compete in the product fair!)

The days are long but its good because we are kept busy and then time goes by faster. I think my Spanish is improving, but I feel like such a child. I get frustrated trying to get my point across!

GUESS WHAT!!! I already got sick! they think it was food poisoning!! I had massive diarrhea and i was vomiting! I had to give a stool sample and that was amusing because the laboratory place didn't have a bathroom. So we were going door to door asking if I could use their bathroom. So i had to collect a sample of diarrhea in the most unsanitary conditions!! It was hilarious!!! I now get to check food poising off the list of possible illnesses!! I expect to go through them all! It only makes me stronger!!! At least I had the Peace Corps backing me!! They drove me around and talked to everyone and got my medicine and then called me like 20 times to make sure I was getting better!!
Until next time....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Retreat in Managua

Peace Corps Retreat in Managua
May 13-16 2009

Retreat area with a few buildings and surrounded by a barbed wire fence!

I am glad to say that I have finally made it, and I'm now a Peace Corps trainee! I still have a long way to go before I can become an official volunteer, but at least I have made it to Nicaragua.
Staging on Tuesday (in DC) went well and it was fun meeting a lot of great people. The early flight to Managua on Wednesday went by flawlessly! We arrived in Managua and were greeted by Peace Corps staff! They loaded up our luggage and bussed us to our Retreat site, just outside the City.

For the rest of Wednesday and all of thrusday we spent the day going over rules, regulations, formalities and what to expect at the training sites. We had to do our language interviews and lets just say mine was funny! I was using a lot of German words mixed in with broken Spanish! It doesn't matter, what is important, is being placed in the right groups according to your language skills so that you can learn more efficiently!

On Friday we went over more information and took a tour of Managua. Then on Saturday we were taken to our designated training sites and met our host families. We will be living with our host families and be in small groups of 4 people per town (the towns are close by so we can all meet up). We will then meet up each week with other business volunteers and do a group training. Training will last for 11 weeks.

More to come about how my time has been in my new city!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Peace Corps Intro

My Adventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer!

I will be starting a new adventure this year as a Peace Corps Volunteer!!!

Where: Nicaragua, Central America. (I may live in a small town or big city, depending on need!)

When: Official Service: August 1, 2009- July 31st, 2011 (I leave home on May 12, 2009 for staging, then I leave the states on the May 13 for a 10 week training program in Nicaragua, before service starts.)

What: Program: Small Business Development Job: Small Business Educator/Advisor. (I will be teaching business at a high school or secondary school.  I will also be giving lectures to local business owners and providing advice as well as technical training and support. Furthermore, I will work with university students to provide mentors for my high school students. I will also be working with business owners to create internships for students interested in business as a career. and much more!)

How: Main mode of transport will depend on my location it could be by bike, on foot, bus, or even by horse (which would be sweet)! I will teach business in Spanish... AHHHH. I am very excited to be able to help people, while putting my education to good use and learning another language! It is similar to most jobs, I work 9-5 (theatrically), 7 days a week, have vacation, get paid (through living expenses), but it will be hands on and the daily work will vary!

Visiting: Anyone is welcome to come and visit me. I will put you to work and show you what I have learned about the country and people. If you are thinking of visiting, it would have to be after the end of September 2009. But we can discuss that when the time comes!!!

For more information about the Peace Corps go to http://www.peacecorps.gov/ .

Change of plans again! I was initially suppose to be going to Madagascar in February 2009, however it was delayed a month until March 9th. Now however, it has been cancelled due to political differences within the country. I have been re-assigned to Nicaragua, which I am very excited about!

 I will keep everyone up-to-date as best as possible while serving. I will send out another letter to friends and family, with Nicaragua information in it!. If you do have anymore questions please feel free to email me.

Wish me luck and come and visit!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Recap!

Another year of amazing adventures and travels has gone by. I went to 33 countries this year, which is 20 more than last year!! I had an amazing time in Germany and living in Europe. Once again I was lucky to be able to travel as much as I did. Its good to be back in the States though! I hope 2009 brings as much excitement as 2008 did. I'm sure that will happen since I will be in Madagascar serving as a Peace Corp Volunteer. I will keep everyone updated during my service, so keep coming to this blog to stay updated!!
Thank You 2008! Welcome 2009!