Meet Awamaki’s Volunteers:

Amanda from New York, New York

Product Design/ Media Intern

Awa: What inspired you to volunteer with Awamaki?

A: I met Annie, Director of Awamaki Lab, two years ago at the first lab launch in New York. I was really into what Awamaki was doing and was following them for a few years. Then this opportunity to develop a short-term project design internship came up, so I came to do that. Since that was only going to be for about six weeks I was able to then go on and do other photo projects.

Awa: How does your work with Awamaki relate to what you do back at home?

A: I work as a freelance writer and photographer so it’s pretty in line with it. I do a lot about ethical fashion and sustainable design, and I’m really interested in social business and development and textiles, so it all fits together.

Awa: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

A: Being able to go see the actual communities that we work with and to see all the different aspects of Awamaki. Getting to do some stuff with tourism, some with Awamaki Lab, and some with the Weaving Project has given me an idea of how all the programs come together in the end.

Awa: Have you participated in any of the Awamaki workshops?

A: I did the Weaving Immersion Workshop in Patacancha and really liked it. We went out and shepherded the animals and she taught me weaving in the fields. It was very genuine ‘this is how we are and you’re just going to be along with us.’ I made two pulseras and two chumpis while I was up there.

Awa: What do you do in your free time?

A: I go hiking and I do my own side design projects. I’ve gotten a bunch of materials from Cusco and have worked with people outside of Awamaki on the weekends. There’s a seamstress here that I’ve done a couple of projects with. I’ve learned to knit, and just hanging out with friends. I never feel bored here, that’s for sure.

Awa: What are you going to miss the most about your time in Peru?

A: I think just the lifestyle in general. I feel like I have a lot more time here to do things. To walk to Awamaki takes about two minutes versus an hour of commuting. If you are self-directed you can get your work done and still meet up with friends for lunch, which never happens in New York, it’s just a grind. I really like the balance here. There are so many informal things here, like being able to work with a seamstress. And having people that actually still have manual skills is another thing that’s really neat, like seeing people working the fields with their cows, those sorts of images where you’re like, ‘what century am I living in?’