FROM THE COUNTRY DIRECTOR
I appreciate your interest in the Peace Corps program in Nicaragua and welcome the opportunity to introduce you to this unique country. Based on my experience here over the years I characterize Nicaragua as a casa abierta, an open house, where those willing to come and work with dedication and mutual respect will find acceptance, an exceptional experience, and lasting friendship.
Nicaragua is also often described as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. As such, you can be sure that Nicaraguans, especially those in the areas of need where we serve, face many challenges. La vida es dura. Life here for many is very hard. If you are interested in becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, I ask you to seriously consider an opportunity and commitment to join them in the construction of a productive and healthy world for their families and communities.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua you are a development professional working at the invitation of a Nicaraguan government ministry to work on a specific project addressing a national need of the Nicaraguan people. Your project has specific goals and objectives to provide technical assistance in the sector to which you are assigned. You work with Nicaraguan counterparts, community members, families, and youth, all striving to achieve the project’s goals for sustainable development.
You will be offered an invitation to serve based on the education and experience you already possess. Your knowledge will be enhanced by an intense pre-service training program designed to prepare you for Volunteer service. You are provided outstanding training in practical Spanish, technical orientation for your project assignment, and cross-cultural orientation to assist you in the process of adapting your personal work and life styles to ensure your safety and effectiveness in Nicaragua. During the 13 weeks of training, you are required to demonstrate your commitment and competence in language, technical, cross-cultural, and core skill areas in order to qualify for Peace Corps service and take the oath as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Throughout your years of service, you are supported by the dedicated staff of Peace Corps/Nicaragua who guide, support, and challenge you to maximize your service and provide meaningful contributions to the Nicaraguan people and their communities. The challenges are many throughout your service, such as integrating into your host family and community, communicating meaningfully in Spanish, and finding local friends and a support system. You are expected to become part of your community, spending most of your time, including your weekends, integrated into daily life and customs while living on a modest stipend. Upon completing service here most Volunteers feel mostly strongly about the personal relationships and connections they have made, ones they will most likely remember and keep throughout the rest of their lives and careers.
If invited to serve as a Volunteer here, please carefully review our Welcome Book, your Volunteer Assignment Description (VAD), and the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook to learn more about Nicaragua, your assignment, and Peace Corps policies. I encourage you to reflect honestly on your willingness to commit to the highest standard of Peace Corps service.
All of the Peace Corps/Nicaragua staff and I would look forward to welcoming and working with you. I served once before here as Country Director from 1997 until 2001 and am fortunate to have returned to rejoin our efforts and shared purpose to better the lives of the Nicaraguans who have invited us to their beautiful casa abierta.