The weeks in Cusco zoom by and my responsibilities, relationships, and experiences evolve and become more profound. At every corner there is a new challenge to confront, and an existing connection to deepen!
One situation in particular has been incredibly educational and enlightening on how to deal with the challenges that come along while working in Peru. Many months ago, USAID initiated a project to subsidize the costs of solar lamps for people living in rural communities who have little or no access to electricity. Seeing an excellent opportunity to provide the communities who are connected with Mosqoy with access to light, people within our NGO worked with USAID and a provider of solar technology here in Cusco to make this happen! Unfortunately, the shipment of solar lamps from China was delayed, and therefore weren't distributed to people within the communities. That project is now over and the subsidy is no longer available. This has caused frustration and distress on both sides, and I have kicked into problem solving mode!
Over the past few weeks, my mother and her boyfriend have been exploring Peru, as well as accompanying me to weaving meetings in the communities. Even though an intense language barrier exists between my family and the weavers, their warm energy, coupled with the inviting spirit of the Quecha communities, has allowed for the development of relationships based on smiles and gentle sharing. These opportunities are incredibly transformative, and one can feel moved to support these hardworking people in any manner that is possible. In my situation, it is by providing outlets to sell their textiles, as well as supporting their weaving tradition and community. For my mother, it is subsidizing the cost of the solar lamps in the same manner that USAID would have if that project had gone according to plan. Now we can fulfill our initial promise and people in the Mapacho River Valley can enjoy each other's company late into the evening, their faces illuminated by warm sunlight that was captured and stored during the bright daylight. Thank you Mom, for your altruism and for providing such an excellent example to lead my life by!
The team at Mosqoy has nearly doubled since my arrival in September, and my new working companions are wonderful women. Cara, a recent graduate of Tulane in New Orleans, is the new Andean Youth Program Manager. Jordan, a recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the new Communications and Programs Assistant and my new roommate! We all work together closely, collaborating within our programs and supporting each other in all ways during our experiences here in Peru.
On another less exciting note, the current Andean Youth Program Manager, Kristina, will be leaving Peru in December. Although I got to spend a solid few months with her, it doesn't feel like enough! Kristina's sharp sense of humor and extensive knowledge of all the best restaurants in the Sacred Valley have enriched my experience to an unknowable extent. She has been incredibly supportive and patient during my intense learning curve. I know I won't be alone when I feel her absence once she moves on to new adventures and leaves Cusco behind! Mosqoy continues to be an effective, wonderful organization because of people like Kristina and the rest of the volunteers across the globe.