So I’m officially into the swing of things here in Estelí. I’ve made a conscious effort to adapt to and embrace the local ways in Nicaragua while also carrying with me all of my life experiences living in States.
I will forever and always be grateful for my work experience at NBCUniversal. I grew exponentially during my time there and was so fortunate to have worked with some of the best and brightest people in the business. They believed in me and gave me chances to stretch and push myself outside the realm of what I believed was possible. By the time I left NBCU I had earned a seat at the table in the corporate boardrooms with top executives in the company. I had made it and it felt great. Until I realized that I needed to acquire more skills that couldn’t be obtained in corporate America.
So here I am in Nicaragua. And while I absolutely dislike waking up before the sun at 5/5:30am during the week, I kind of look forward to my commute to the rural schools. There’s something amazing about traveling into rural communities to teach that continues to have me in a state of awe. I’m writing this post as I travel to my school in San Nicolás and every time I look out the window I can’t stop thinking about how surreal this experience really is. Every day I pass by cows laying in the pastures, spot hawks flying at eye-level, see cowboys riding by on their way to work and kids walking to school. Did I really make the leap from corporate life in NYC to a more simple and service-oriented life in Nicaragua? Yes, I did. And here I am.
Everyday I am so grateful that I was matched with Estelí and given the responsibility to work in rural schools in the surrounding communities. I don’t think my experience would be the same if I taught in the urban schools. In the “campo” there is a simplicity and a sweetness that I haven’t found anywhere else. The people are so generous and the children have an innocence about them that I find incredibly refreshing. I especially love working at the schools that have all grades together in one location because the little ones are so fascinated by me and always wave and giggle with bright sunbeam smiles as they walk by me.
I’m really starting to get into a rhythm here in the schools. At first I was extremely intimidated by the nature of my work. Could I really teach/train in the classroom? This isn’t my expertise. However, I’m realizing that the answer is, yes, because I am bringing a level of business knowledge that is applicable to the Entrepreneurship Education course. It’s becoming clearer with every class that my role is not really to teach the class but to train the teachers in the business material and help convey the information in a way that the kids can understand. That is how our work will become sustainable after we leave.
While I do greatly miss my morning commute walking from the Upper West side through Central Park and down to 30 Rock, I have to admit that the mountainous view I see every day on my way to school takes work travel to a whole new level.