It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about how excited, nervous and relived I was to have finally arrived in Ollantaytambo, my home for 6 months. And yesterday I found myself saying goodbye. It was a tough goodbye, one that I felt came too fast but I know that after having had this experience the next chapter of my life will be better for it.
I had worked with Awamaki in Seattle but didn’t have any idea of the vibrant company I was about to become a part of. I gained so much experience and worked with so many talented people at the Awamaki office. I was given responsibility and freedom and being able to see projects from start to finish and their subsequent impact at such a small organization was motivation enough to work hard, even as a volunteer :). While everyone has heard the phrase, “be the change you want to see in the world” I feel like Awamaki has a legitimate right to use that in relation to Ollanta and its surrounding communities. Awamaki doesn’t pay its staff all that well so everyone who works there is passionate about what they do. To be in such an environment day in and day out made me realize how important it is to love what you do and to do it well. I am especially thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with people from such diverse backgrounds – age, major, experience, location etc and learn from each and every one of them.
I fell in love with Ollanta, with the kind people who lived there and the towering mountains that surrounded it. I became attached to the roaring river which I ran next to and that flowed from the high communities we worked with. I even found myself becoming fond of the floods of bumbling tourists wandering through the pueblo, our pueblo, on their way to or from MP. And most of all, I made some wonderful friends who I don’t have to hope but rather know will remain in my life for years to come. They are some of the most kind hearted, talented people I know and I am so grateful to have shared hikes, dinner parties, movie nights in, running club, knitting classes and so much more with them.
I’ve placed a few photos of life just as it is on a daily basis in Ollanta below. I hope you can get a sense of the beautiful & unique place that is Ollanta!