David, IT Volunteer
A: What led you to volunteering with Awamaki?
D: It was kind of randomness I guess. I was looking for IT volunteering positions in Central and South America and saw a posting on the website Idealist. I googled where Awamaki was and decided I would like to live in the Sacred Valley.
A: What does being an IT volunteer entail?
D: I’ve been programming a database application system for Awamaki, basically to track all their information on volunteers, Spanish classes and other things that go into running the organization. I’ve also been teaching computer classes to local Ollantinos.
A: What’s your favorite thing about Ollanta?
D: The hiking. Just being in the middle of this huge amazing valley with tons of places to go and tons of stuff to climb on.
A: What’s your favorite hike that you’ve done?
D: The Sun Gate or Canteras are definitely up there. Pinkuylluna is awesome, also Socma. The tallest hike I’ve been on is Ausangate, which was a five-day trip. We got up to 17,200 feet and it was amazing. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been in my life. My second favorite is Salkantay. There you’re between two mountains over 20,000 feet high and looking up in awe at these huge towering mountains, when you’re already at almost 16,000 feet.
A: Has anything surprised you about the culture of Peru?
D: Yeah, I mean, the idea that you should only drink hot water. And if you ever eat meat you have to tea afterwards or else you’ll get sick.
A: Has your Spanish improved since being here and did you take language classes?
D: I did take language classes and my Spanish has improved ten fold. When I first got here I had basic Spanish for getting around, but not even conversational Spanish really. Now I can partake in any conversation in Spanish and know what’s going on.
A: What would you tell a friend that was considering volunteering with Awamaki?
D: You live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and you are helping a great community that is for the most part really accepting.