by Christina Parodi, Marketing & Communications Intern

Watching mother and daughter, Tina and Olivia, interact with each other during their time with Awamaki was like watching two best friends as they completed each other’s thoughts and bonded over their new experiences.

Tina joked that she “calls her FFB, forever first baby, because she won’t let me call her BFF,” and Olivia blushed bright red complaining about how that was, “so much worse.”

This duo embarked on this incredible week with Awamaki hoping to experience real Andean culture by living with a family in town and joining our weaving immersion weekend, truly understanding the work that goes into a beautiful textile.

With Tina’s husband Ben in the Inca Avalanche bike races, Tina and Olivia decided to search for a slightly different experience of Ollantaytambo while he stayed in a hotel with his new friends. After a simple internet search of the best things to do in Ollantaytambo, Tina came across Awamaki, deciding on staying in a week-long homestay while her husband bonded with his fellow competitors. Exchanging stories over dinner at the homestay, Tina and Olivia were able to compare their completely different experience of Ollantaytambo with husband and father, Ben.

With bits of confetti still stuck in her hair from her, cumpleaños, Olivia giggled about how her homestay family had a little, fiesta, for her birthday the day before, feeding her cake and celebrating. When talking about their homestay in Ollantaytambo, Tina was amazed at how loving and drawn the women in the family were to her daughter and how positive the whole experience had been. She loved that Olivia was always asked to come back and how the women fussed over her, making sure she was always comfortable.

 

This was the first time Tina and Olivia had ever done something just the two of them before, and being able to directly experience the rich culture in Ollantaytambo through their homestay was an incredible and eye-opening experience for the both of them. Olivia, not yet done with school, went on about how nervous she was to present her experience to her entire class in lieu of her schoolwork that week. Despite the nerves, Olivia seemed excited and definitely had a lot to say to her class, being able to “see people’s culture outside an actual hotel, living with them, and seeing exactly what they do.”

While Tina’s husband raced in the finals of the Inca Avalanche, one of the highest bike races in the world, she decided to try our weaving immersion weekend tour to g

et away from the craziness of the last race. It was obvious from the moment we arrived in Patacancha that both Tina and Olivia were after a real connection with the women and the culture.

As we trudged through the mud for our first weaving lesson, they already showed signs of the women’s affection, wrapped in warm textiles by their homestay mother. They co

uld not stop talking about how wonderful the food their homestay mother cooked was, and how they never ate the same thing twice. By the end of the weekend, after hours of practicing, Tina commented on how she was still struggling with her design and how surprised she was at how difficult it was. This was a humbling experience for the two, seeing the pride that comes from the women and their work and understanding the amount of effort the women put in each textile.