Written By Leighton, Latitudes ’19 Peru
Hello parents, fellow students, prospective students, and whoever else may have stumbled upon this blog! For the past five weeks, I have been living in the small tourist town of Ollantaytambo, Peru. I’m working for an NGO in town that partners with women in local indigenous villages to empower them and connect them to the world market.
On a typical work day, I walk to our office, a lush outdoor courtyard complete with a kitchen, conference rooms, and a puppy. I work until 4, usually on web design, blog writing, artisan profiles, and newsletter outlines. Since joining the marketing team, I have begun to improve my writing skills, visit with and interview the women in the villages, and improve our organization’s outreach.
While my volunteer placement is interesting, culturally immersive, and challenging, it is matched in excitement and immersion by the experiences I have outside of the office. After work and on weekends, I try and cram as much as I can into my days. There are dozens of hikes in the area, salsa classes on Thursdays, local restaurants and coffee shops to go to, ancient Incan ruins to explore, a plaza to relax and read a book or journal in, and that’s just in town! I’m a quick van ride from Cusco, an incredible city filled with museums, gardens, markets, and libraries.
Living in Peru has given me a new perspective about other traditions and ways of life. I feel incredibly independent walking the streets of a foreign city, catching a bus to a nearby town, and managing my time in a way that feels fulfilling for me. The challenges I’ve faced so far have been tough, but manageable. I am starting to comfortably call Peru home, and I look forward to seeing what the next two months have in store for me. Stay tuned for more updates!