Here in the Andes, many families in rural communities are interested in developing homestays in order to host foreign visitors. This is an excellent project for these families, as it allows them to earn income without having to alter their traditional lifestyle, or leave their homelands. It is also a great way for travellers to experience local culture, get off the beaten track, and really connect with Quechua families.
Recently Threads of Peru (together with Apus Peru) received a group of 11 enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers, all employees of Whole Foods Market from across the U.S., to work on two new homestays in Rumira Sondormayo.
Mercedes Quispe and Fani Cjuro, two weavers who belong to Rumira’s weaving association PUKA TURPAY, were in the process of developing some homestay rooms in their houses for foreign visitors. Their homes are located side by side a short ways down the mountain from the main town centre of Rumira Sondormayo.
We split the volunteers into two smaller groups – one for each house – and set to work. In just two short days, the volunteers, working alongside the families, were able to clean, sand, fill holes, paint, varnish and otherwise prepare two new homestay rooms in each of the two houses.
We laboured, we sweated, we laughed, and we got really dirty at times, but most satisfying of all we finished what we set out to do. Everyone went away happy with the results, and with fond memories of the time spent with their host families…and a bit humbled by their graciousness too. Many of us got a bit teary when the work was all done and the materials packed away, and Mercedes’ and Fani’s husbands gave speeches of heartfelt thanks and offered each and every one of us a small woven bracelet as a parting gift.
But our work with this project is not yet over! Coming soon will be workshops to help Mercedes and Fani feel totally prepared to receive their forthcoming foreign guests, and of course, now we need some people to break in their new digs! If anyone is interested in spending a night or two with Mercedes or Fani, you can contact us to arrange a reservation.
Some of the volunteers pose alongside Fani and her family inside one of the newly renovated rooms.