By Conor Sanchez
For 12 weeks we’ve been living in Los Pueblos Blancos, a small collection of communities located about an hour south of Managua. Warm people, colorful houses, and extremely tight-knit families – this is where we trained to become Peace Corps Volunteers and where we got our first taste of life in Nicaragua.
In 12 weeks we’ve undergone a pretty intensive training program to prepare us for two years of service. Although most of our time was spent either in class or at home studying, we did manage (and were indeed expected) to explore and get to know our communities pretty well. On weekends, in the late afternoon, during breaks from class, Michaela and I did our best to get outside and talk to people. Gradually we felt ourselves settling in more and more as we started to recognize people we knew at community events, in the park, or at the local grocery store. We were able to see how, with a little bit of time and effort, this place could actually feel like home.
Sadly, we now have to leave it all behind and start all over again.
I remember at the beginning of training thinking that three months sounded like an eternity. Now I’m left wondering where that time went. In less than two weeks, Michaela and I will be moving to our permanent site in Nueva Guinea, nearly six hours away by bus. Although our new home won’t be a drastic change from this place (it’s still in Nicaragua after all), there are some things I’ll always associate with my training town.
Here are the top ten:
1.The nacatamal lady who served as my alarm on Sunday mornings. As tempting as it was, I never managed to get myself up to buy a nacatamal at 5:30 a.m. but I did get this recording of her while lying in bed
4. The telenovela “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” not that I’ll stop watching, but because this opening jingle will always bring me back
6. These awesome animal sculptures, which are sold in all shapes and sizes
7. Michaela’s parrot, Roger, who screams “Buenas!” as you enter the house
8. This giant pig I once saw in the back of a pick-up truck
9. Being so close to the other TEFL Volunteers
10. My amazing host-family who made me feel welcome each and everyday
Much to our surprise, leaving our training towns will be just as hard as leaving the United States.