“Even if you are doing well, there is always room for improvement. You have to continue to work hard and seek out ways to better yourselves.”
The Awamaki team and Songuillay cooperative took to heart these wise words uttered by Mercedes Durand, head of our Women’s Cooperative Program, at the beginning of our tourism meeting this past July. Our Songuillay cooperative located in Patacancha has some of the best Awamaki weavers in its group, but they can now count themselves as a strong tourism association as well. During the tourism high-season this year, the group excelled at booking and leading tours, even getting some groups from external tourist agencies aside from Awamaki.
We are proud of Songuillay, but noticed that their growing success was putting stress on Elena, their current president. Because Awamaki wants Songuillay to keep moving forward and have the organizational leadership to do so, we called a meeting with the group to elect a junta directiva, or leadership board, similar to those used by our weaving and knitting cooperatives.
So without further ado, Awamaki and Songuillay are proud to announce the new 2016 Tourism Leadership Team!
Elena Mamani, President
Elena Mamani is the current president of Songuillay. She is an amazing leader but was unable to handle the increased responsibilities of tourism by herself. Having a new leadership team at her side will allow her to focus on improving the tour through training sessions in cooking, homestays, cleanliness, and anything else that will improve the experience of visitors to Patacancha. She will also continue working closely with the leaders of different tour rotation groups in order to get better feedback and hear new ideas. It has been amazing to see Elena grow into her role as a standout leader and have the confidence to call on her fellow cooperative members for help.
Jesusa Quispe Machacca, Vice-President and Reservations Manager
Jesusa Quispe Machacca is the current vice-president of Songuillay, and now their new reservations manager. In addition to shadowing Elena and helping her with trainings, Jesusa will be in charge of answering tour inquiries on the phone. Her cooperative members elected her to this position because she is fluent in Spanish as well as Quechua and has the confidence to travel to Ollantaytambo and Cusco to pass out tour advertisements. Her increased responsibility will allow Jesusa to hone her skills at tour promotion and working with Spanish-speaking tour operators.
Albertina Yupanqui, Treasurer and Finances Manager
Albertina Yupanqui is the new treasurer and finances manager of Songuillay. She is one of Awamaki’s top sellers during tours and knows her way around a numbers sheet. She will now be keeping track of payments for every tour as well as training the women in how to keep track of their own finances. At the end of each month she will be responsible for reporting to Awamaki the amount we owe to each tour group and to each individual weaver. We will also be keeping track, but this is a great learning opportunity for Albertina and the other members of Songuillay to see the correlation between how much they worked on what day and their resulting payment.
Rudecinda Sullcapuma, Secretary
Rudecinda Sullcapuma is the new secretary of Songuillay and rounds out the Tourism Leadership Team. Rudecinda will accompany Elena to training sessions and meetings to take notes. It’s a smaller job but an essential one so that the cooperative can have a record of their activities. Rudecinda was elected to this position because she can write, but more importantly because she is excited to improve her writing. She cannot write perfectly yet, but this will be a great opportunity for her to practice frequently and get better.