Name: Fani Karaivanova, Textile Project Assistant and Community Liaison for Threads of Peru since July 2011
1) What inspires you to work for Threads of Peru?
I am inspired from the results that ToP has achieved in these years of working with the communities. The weavers value their textile tradition and conserve it. Their weavings have considerably improved since the beginning of the project and now even more community members as willing to be part of the weaver’s associations.
I am also inspired by the philosophy of the project and its continuity. While other NGOs have also analyzed the textile culture in the communities and trained the weavers in improved textile techniques and natural dying, most of them did not give importance to the commercialization of the textiles and as a consequence have failed in the economic sustainability of their projects. ToP have achieved an economical sustainability until the moment by assuring a constant commercialization the community's weaving.
2) Favourite Peruvian food?
It is hard to name one meal as a favorite. It is even more difficult as I am a Vegetarian and most Peruvian dishes are based on meat or fish. However, I love the variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, as well as the variety of herbs and their common use everywhere.
I like a lot the hot and spicy sauces in the Peruvian cuisine based on aji (hot pepper) and huacatay (Andean aromatic herb), as well as the variety of fresh fruit juices and cakes. I also love the Peruvian street breakfast based on hot quinua (Andean cereal) and maca (high-Andean medical root plant with similar properties to Ghin-Seng) juice and soya milk, as well as the emoliente (medical hot drink sold on the street in early mornings and late evenings made of a variety of fresh herbs and medical plants).
3) Best spot in Cusco for visiting?
Qariqancha, ICPNA, Paraninfo, Cusco municipality for cultural events
Wachuma, The Frogs, 7 Angelitos for night-life
Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay and surroundings for one-day nature hikes
4) Happiest/most touching moment in the communities?
Playing with the children and looking at the smiley faces of the weavers.
5) Strangest/funniest moment from living in Peru? Ohhh they are sooooooo many! My favourite one is when my Mom was visiting and we went to the jungle and stayed in a lodge, my Moms phone went missing and it turned out a monkey had stolen it! My Mom chased it around the lodge before it jumped up onto the roof, luckily the monkey evenutally threw the phone back down to her.
Fani is a volunteer with Threads of Peru, if you would like to volunteer with us and experience life in Cusco check out our website www.threadsofperu.com for more information and contact details.