Category Archives: Featured Post

5 Tiny House Principles for Nicaragua and Beyond

While it looks vastly different from the cutesy little houses that are shared around online, the Tiny House Movement is alive and well in Peace Corps Nicaragua.

After swearing in as official volunteers, Peace Corps placed us in a beautiful little casita when we first moved to Estelí. As it was a bit expensive for our small stipends, we decided to look for a more affordable option and moved into our new abode about a year ago. One way to cut down on how much we were paying on rent was to downsize on our living space. Thus our journey towards Tiny Living in Nicaragua began. Continue reading 5 Tiny House Principles for Nicaragua and Beyond


Why Blog?

Like many newly married couples in the 21st century we have an array of media from our wedding online. We have the professional photographers’ photos, digital albums from family and friends, and shakily shot smart phone videos. We even felt like celebrities on Facebook for a bit. As would be expected, after a couple of weeks our Facebook notification barrage & social media fame tapered off. Other than one video.

With over 6000 views on YouTube at the time of launching this blog in 2014 – and for people who don’t run their own channel and only dabble casually in the social media world, that’s a lot of views– it has continued to make the rounds on the web over the years.  The video is of our wedding party surprising Andrew and singing “May I Suggest” by Susan Werner. Emily arranged it all in secret, as her wedding gift to Andrew.

Almost 5 years later it’s still an incredibly powerful, beautiful, and defining moment for us. Continue reading Why Blog?

Support Camp CHACA 2016

For years, gender inequality has been addressed from the perspective that it is a women’s issue. Peace Corps Nicaragua’s GAD Committee hosts‪ Camp GLOW to empower young women to confront the specific issues and challenges facing them as women in a culture of machismo.  But this only addresses one side of the coin, one aspect of the greater issue.

It’s time to flip the coin.

In order to combat the cycle of gender inequality, both women and men must learn about harmful gender roles and how to address them.  Young Nicaraguan men will be given the opportunity to do just that through Camp CHACA, which stands for “CHavalos A CAbelleros,” and refers to the transformation of boys into gentlemen.  The camp will have focused sessions and activities encouraging participants to challenge their current understanding of gender roles and to be positive role-models in their respective communities. The aim of the camp is to help reduce the incidence of gender inequality-related issues such as domestic violence, machismo (which roughly translates to male chauvinism), and disrespect for women, replacing those attitudes with positive means of expression promoting respect for equality among genders. 

Following the success of last year’s very first Camp CHACA, we will again be inviting 60 young men ages 15-120 from across Nicaragua to participate in this 5-day camp in the northern mountains of Nicaragua in July.   

To make this camp a reality, we need your support. The Nicaraguan communities are contributing over 25% of the funds, but the rest comes from outside donations.  One hundred percent of your tax-deductible contribution to this worthy cause will go directly toward our Peace Corps Partnership Program project.

You can donate online through the Peace Corps website hereor you can send a check to the Peace Corps Office of Gifts and Grants Management with this form. You may also call the office at 202-692-2170 or toll free at 855.855.1961, ext. 2170 to contribute by phone. Please see the FAQ Webpage for more helpful information, and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the forms, the project in general, or otherwise.  

Even if you cannot contribute monetarily, please help us spread the word. Share our donation link ( and/or our blog link ( to as many contacts as you can.  Every dollar counts.

You can help young Nicaraguan men learn to share power, give respect, and responsibly live in support and collaboration with the women in their lives. Be a part of building a more gender equitable world.

Tales from the TEFL Certificate Program: “We are learning together”

A while back, we were asked to write a piece for a three part blog series for the official Peace Corps Stories about the TEFL Certificate Program. We love what we’re doing here in Nicaragua and feel honored to share our story with the broader Peace Corps community.

Education, Gender Equality, and Cultural Ambassadors: Our New Year’s Resolutions

“What are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? What if, in addition to hitting the gym on a regular basis and ditching those midnight snack sessions, you had the power to affect the lives of countless individuals living in extreme poverty?  As 2015 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back on some of our greatest achievements and challenges in the fight against extreme poverty. In September alone, we witnessed something extraordinary – 139 world leaders committing to 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change.

Now is the time to begin thinking about what we, as global citizens, need to accomplish in 2016 to carry out these goals. recently sent out this email challenging us and the world to take on one or more of the Global Goals as our New Year’s resolution for 2016.  We’re excited to take on the challenge!

We commit to working as hard as we can to make these three more of a reality in 2016: Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Partnerships. Continue reading Education, Gender Equality, and Cultural Ambassadors: Our New Year’s Resolutions

12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Last year, Andrew had a brilliant idea for lifting our spirits during the holiday season.  We had just arrived to site and were at the beginning of our Peace Corps service. This meant that we could not have visitors nor visit the states.  To dive deeper into local celebrations, fight off feeling homesick, as well as start our own family tradition, the 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas  were born!

Each year, we re-write the classic song to include things we could find and explore during the holidays, wherever we are in the world. This year, we shared our tradition with my dad and step-mom as they visited us for a week here in Nicaragua.

The 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Continue reading 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Dicho Doce: International Edition

For our Dicho Doce (Sayings on the Twelfth) on the twelfth month of the year, I thought we’d try something a little crazy: reach out to PCVs all over the world and collect twelve expressions from PC posts in each region.

I’m pleased to say that, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we collectively proved the Nica dicho “el que mucho abarca poco aprieta” wrong 🙂  We did it!

Without further ado, we give you Dicho Doce: International Edition!  Click on any picture to access the full description, then click Next Image/Previous Image to browse them all.  Enjoy learning how to win the hearts of locals all around the world.


Botswana – Motho ke motho ka batho
Botswana - Motho ke motho ka batho

PCV: Taylor Henderson

Cameroon – One hand no fit tie bundle
Cameroon - One hand no fit tie bundle

PCV: Colin Korst

Kenya – Wingi wa siafu ndio nguvu yao
Kenya - Wingi wa siafu ndio nguvu yao

PCV: Annette Hynes

Uganda – Kaboli katowa kakoa omutwe wako inali okwaliko
Uganda - Kaboli katowa kakoa omutwe wako inali okwaliko

PCV: Ray Cohen


Cambodia – ញ៉ាំបាយ ហើយនៅ? / Nyam Bai Haey Neu?

PCVs: Matt Bruneel and Leshia Hansen

Thailand – กินข้าวแล้วหรือยัง? / Gin kaow leo ru yang?

PCV: Lydia Killian


Jamaica – Mi nuh bizness!

PCV: Dominque Gebru

Central America and Mexico

Panama – El camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.

PCV: Kelley Robertson

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Moldova – Poftim. | Poftim? | Poftim!

PCV: Sara Hoy

North Africa and the Middle East

Morocco – ويلي / Wili 

PCVs: Robert Hall and Julie Feng

Pacific Islands

Philippines – Bahala na
Leave it to God

PCV: Lindsay Cope

South America

Colombia – Cójela suave

RPCV: Sarah Hinton