Meet Awamaki’s Volunteers

Jessie from San Antonio, Texas

Education and Weaving Project Volunteer

A: What’s a typical day like at your volunteer placement?

J: I take Spanish classes in the morning and then I teach English classes and computer classes. I also work two or three shifts a week in our fair trade store.

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

J: I’m working on an economic transparency initiative and that’s more oriented towards my field of interest, since I’m an economics major. So that was really cool and I think it’s a really important project. I also recently helped my computer students make Facebook pages, which they really enjoyed. They took pictures with me to use in their profile picture, so that was nice. And now we’re Facebook friends.

A: What did you enjoy most about living with a host family?

J: The food was really good. Lomo saltado is my favorite. It’s beef chopped up with tomatoes, onions, rice, and french fries. I also really like arroz chaufa, which is like a non-chinese fried rice.

A: What did you learn from them?

J: They’re big on family. Birthday parties are a lot of fun here. There’s a big fiesta with your family where everyone is dancing.

A: I heard you were in a music video, can you tell me more about that?

J: I’ve been going to Zumba classes with my host sister and her friend. One day I came home from work and my host sister asked if I’d be willing to be in a music video for her friend’s brother, who sings and makes music. I was like, “I don’t dance and I don’t sing, but I’ll do it.” In the video I sat there and played with my hair while he sang to me. I smelled some flowers and then we played with some cuy (guinea pigs) and giggled while we looked into each other’s eyes. How Peruvian is that?

A: Has your Spanish improved since coming here?

J: Definitely, if I don’t talk too much then people might mistake me for being more fluent than I am, which is nice. I took about 8 weeks of language classes and now I could have a conversation with a random person about just about anything.

A: What are you going to miss the most about Ollanta?

J: My family, fiestas, and food.