PCV Spotlight: Tim on Finding Success in the Peace Corps

This is a guest post by Tim in our PCV Spotlight Series:

My name is Tim Kruth and I live in the heart of the RACCS, the region known as the Southern Caribbean Coastal Region. While it sounds like I live near the beach, really I live hours away from any beach because the department is so large and has so few accessible roads. I’m in the health sector, Nica 63. I have just over 8 months left in Nicaragua to finish my service and I’m getting excited to successfully complete my service!

I am married to an amazing leader, teammate, and friend, Caressa. I met my wife in Arizona doing an internship for a year helping adjust Somali refugees to the United States. We will have been married for 8 years in October! I was born in San Francisco, but grew up in Reno, Nevada. I have my bachelor degree in nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno, and master and doctorate degrees in nursing from Arizona State University. I’ve worked as a registered nurse for more than 8 years in Nevada and Arizona and a family nurse practitioner another year at a community health center in Arizona.

For a very long time, I worked with individuals in less fortunate situations than myself, primarily in homeless shelters and healthcare. Together, Caressa and I have very similar values to helping people in an international capacity and travel. We both entered the Peace Corps excited to combine the two passions together, wanting to see if international development work would be a good fit. While Caressa grew up in the international community, I wanted to stretch my wings in the world outside of the United States!

Coming to Nicaragua as a part of the health program has far exceeded my expectations. The health program is very loosely structured, making it entirely self-motivated work. That being said, it gives the flexibility to really make of it whatever I want to make of it, but is also very challenging because my service really is only what I make of it.

To me, I have found success by constantly analyzing and learning how to make grassroots work sustainable. In a way, it has been encouraging to me that even after living in Nicaragua for more than a year-and-a-half, that I still enjoy trying to find and implement new ways to have a sustainable impact through my service. Several key things I have learned is that sustainable work:

  1. Focuses on collaborating with national counterparts
  2. Strives to find the passionate individuals in the community that are waiting for someone to come and give them a helping hand
  3. Persists in having a plan to turn over activities to host-country nationals
  4. Requires my professionalism, punctuality, and reliability even when the host-country culture doesn’t seem to value it
  5. Often involves youth, because they are the future generation of the country

Keeping these things in mind, I’m sure I’ll continue learning and being challenged to find new ways to make my service and international development work more sustainable.

While I entered the Peace Corps looking to see if international development was something I would like to do for the rest of my life, I’ve grown to value the Peace Corps as an organization; I see so much value to be living and working at the level of host-country nationals. So often Caressa and I find ourselves able to be more integrated, have better working relationships and understandings than foreign NGOs, that we find ourselves able to be respected and valued as peers and not outsiders! Neither of us ever thought about the Peace Corps as a potential future employer, but now seeing and believing in the opportunities this program gives to volunteers, we both support the work that volunteers do and the changes that are made during their service and want to be a part of helping that happen for future Peace Corps volunteers.

You can read more about Tim and Caressa’s adventures by heading to their blog: http://sneekapeekanicaragua.weebly.com/


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