I have arrived!!! I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Nicaragua so far. It’s absolutely beautiful. And the people here are so lovely. I’m so excited to call this country my new home.
Upon arriving in Nicaragua, the last few days of orientation have been quite a whirlwind to say the least. There’s so much newness to take in, so many changes across the board and so much information! It’s beyond surreal on so many levels. Surreal that I’m now living abroad in Central America and surreal that I’m actually training in the Peace Corps. Is this really my life?? Um, yes.
I’ve been running on adrenaline since staging began on Tuesday in Houston. Our group of 40 trainees (20 Health/20 Entrepreneurship Education) consist of some of the most dynamic, inspiring individuals I’ve ever met. I never imagined that I would be surrounded by so many like-minded people, eager to make a positive impact in the world while also focusing on growing into better people. It’s like I’ve found my tribe.
SO, what’s next? Yesterday, I moved to a town called Niquinohomo in the department of Masaya which will be my new home for the 13 weeks of training. I will be working closely with four other trainees who are also living in the same town and who I will get to know very, very well over the next few months. A little bit about the training…the Peace Corps uses an in-house training model called “Community Based Training” or “CBT” which includes an experiential learning framework of activities, be they cultural, technical and/or language training. The training will be fully integrated around community resources and planned around activities carried out primarily in the host towns. The goal is to better prepare us to integrate into our community once we are assigned to our site in June. While I hear this period of time is very intense physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve been told that we come out the other side with an increased level of confidence and a whole new set of skills.
I can’t tell you how much I love my host family! They are the sweetest people. They’re a big family of eight people. My host mom is just adorable and treats me like another daughter. I will be speaking Spanish with them 24/7 – dining with them for every meal and participating in various family activities (we went to Catholic mass and then to Lake Nicaragua today). Talk about an immersion experience! The last 24-hours have been challenging, but not as scary as I anticipated. My fluency is quite rusty, but with lots of conversation and some language classes, I will begin to feel more at ease. I have to keep reminding myself that right now it’s about moving through the discomfort of this newness as it’s a part of the process. Looking forward to my first official week here in Nicaragua!