After my training last week, I spent another week in Managua this week for the Peace Corps Nicaragua Same-Sex Couples Initiative. Nicaragua is on a short-list to host same-sex couples in the Peace Corps, so Peace Corps Headquarters staff were in DC for a workshop on the initiative. I got to Managua on Monday and left on Friday. However, before I was invited to the training I had a previously scheduled teacher training in León.
So on Wednesday morning I woke up, took a taxi to the bus station, and took the 1.5 hour bus ride back to León. I got a few things together, then went to the training, which lasted for a bit more than three hours, before I headed back to the bus station in León and took the 1.5 hour bus ride back to Managua. It felt like 2012/2013 when I was working at EY as a consultant. I’ve definitely done day trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh for meetings. The only difference is that I would fly for those, not take a bus, and there is actually arguably more leg room on airplanes than on the buses in Nicaragua. I even use the same backpack now that I used last year for work.
The teacher training was very interesting. The Volunteer before me in León (her last day was Friday – she is no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer) set them up with the Ministry of Education on a monthly basis. All 11th grade business teachers in the municipality of León are invited. Unfortunately, many of these teachers are not prepared to teach the course. The Ministry does not give them the curriculum, and they have never taught business in the past. The business teacher in most of the high schools changes frequently, so they can’t learn from their own experience.
Every month we go through a different part of the curriculum, discussing the concepts and the activities that the teachers can do with the teachers. There are usually between 20 and 30 teachers. For me it is a bit more difficult than working in the schools and co-teaching because I do a lot of speaking in Spanish, and it can be hard to gauge if they actually understand the concepts or not. It also got very hot in the room we were in on Wednesday. But overall, the training went fairly well.
Today, July 19, is the 35th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. It is the day that the Sandinistas won the civil war against the Somoza Dictatorship and took over Nicaragua. Celebrations have been going on throughout the country all month, but today is the big day. The Peace Corps office in Managua closed at 11 AM yesterday because traffic starts becoming horrible on Friday afternoon for the weekend. So I got a Spanish lesson in the morning at the office (since I was already in Managua), and then with my friends Aaron and Rachel we high-tailed it out of Managua. I felt like Somoza – I had to get out before the Sandinistas got in, or they would have killed me (in all likelihood I would not have been killed, I just would have gotten stuck in the city for the weekend, and even though Somoza did get out they killed him in Uruguay anyway).
So this weekend I am just hanging out at home. We had a going away party for Lauren last night, and right now I have no plans for the rest of the weekend. Next week is winter vacation in León so I won’t be in the schools. That will give me time to focus on some of my other work, such as getting to know businesses and entrepreneurs for business advisory work. And next weekend I might be headed back to Esteli. We will see.