|For a week, Awamaki was host to six students from the World Leadership School in San Diego, California as they came down to volunteer with us. They were tasked with interviewing local women about their role as leaders in the community, and to write corresponding blog posts about their experiences, this is one of their finished pieces.
By Stella and Maia
As students from North America, our perspective on gender roles and female leadership is very different from that of the people living in Ollantaytambo. Today we were given the opportunity to interview a local woman in a place of leadership. We headed over to the artisan market and walked through the rows of beautiful handmade products. We stopped when we saw an incredible alpaca fur blanket. The lady who owned the shop immediately approached us and started showing off her products. We could tell at once that she was who we wanted to know more about.
Born and raised in Ollantaytambo, this strong-willed shop owner, and mother, has raised two sons and supported her family of four. She completed primary school, however she was not able to attend high school. She has owned her own shop for five years and had to learn some English in order to reach more customers. Her shop is based mainly on alpaca fur products such as blankets, backpacks, and wallets. She also handmakes metal jewelry including charms and earrings.
When asked, she said that she opened her shop because she wanted more of a sense of individuality. We asked her if given the chance, would she attend college, and she replied yes, although she loves her life too much to leave it behind. Her two sons, both of whom are in primary school, live with her and her husband, sometimes also help work in the shop with her. She mentioned to us how large her family is, with many cousins and siblings, who live mainly in Ollantaytambo. Being the loving mother, sister and daughter that she is, she has worked everyday and sacrificed much of her free time for them.
We hope to bring this incredible women into the spotlight and show all of the aspects of her personality. Mostly, she was very open with the way she stood; tall and with her hands on her hips. Also, she approached us instead of the other way around. She wasn’t shy to talk and was extremely trustworthy and loving. 100% invested in her family and business, this woman deserves an endless amount of praise.