MEET AWAMAKI’S VOLUNTEERS:
Felicia from Washington D.C.
Community Needs Assessment Volunteer
A: How does your work with Awamaki relate to what you study at home?
F: I am studying international development with a concentration in rural development and economic growth. Seeing that Awamaki is trying to reduce poverty through sustainable non-farm income generating activities, their work was right up my alley.
A: What was the process of conducting community needs assessment surveys?
F: Each day was quite different. I started off getting to know the town and Awamaki so that I could set the objectives of the needs assessment with the executive staff. After designing and testing the survey, I spent about 10 days conducting surveys with the local community members.
A: What was the most rewarding aspect of your work?
F: The most rewarding aspect of the work that I did was having the ability to speak directly to local community members about their thoughts and perceptions on the community they live in and about Awamaki. It was a learning experience for me and taught me to set aside my own beliefs and biases in order to be as open and objective as possible. I feel like I also had the opportunity to learn more about the culture in a short amount of time by having the conversations I had with the respondents.
A: What did you do in your free time?
F: I spent most of my free time just wandering about the tiny streets in Old Town Ollanta or strolling along the river. I also enjoyed using the time to get to know my fellow volunteers. Each person I met had their own unique background and reasons for being there. I found it fascinating that such different personalities and backgrounds all found one common interest.
A: What are you going to miss the most about Ollanta?
F: I will definitely miss the tranquility and change of pace from my usual hectic schedule. I’ll also really miss waking up to the view of the Inca ruins every morning and the sound of the stream below my window.
A: Does any specific interaction or event during your time here stick out in your mind?
F: I was really touched and inspired while conducting an interview with one of the Awamaki Spanish teachers. The woman I was interviewing was a single mother, educated in anthropology, but was no longer able to work in her field. She was struggling to put food on the table for her young son when she heard Awamaki’s announcement for Spanish teachers. Awamaki trained her and provided her with regular employment. She told me this story with tears in her eyes and it both broke my heart and gave me great hope that Awamaki is changing lives.
*Felicia is wearing the Neili Mini from Awamaki Lab collection