This project report was written by Melissa Tola, Awamaki's Tourism Coordinator. Melissa has been in the Sacred Valley for the duration of the pandemic, assisting with food deliveries, artisan product sales, communications and many other jobs in the absence of tourism.
Our partner artisans want to send you a very special thank you through this second year of pandemic we are all living. Every time we go and bring food baskets, they wait for us and share with us a big gratitude for people like you that continue helping them through these rough seasons.
With the beginning of the new year, we were hopeful that things will change a bit. Unfortunately Peruvians are becoming less and less hopeful of things getting better anytime soon. Due to political issues and a huge economical gap between regions, oxygen and ICU beds are hard to find in Cusco.
Ollantaytambo has been hit hard with Covid-19 for the past 3 months. People in town are very afraid. Some of them haven’t left their houses for a year and a half. With very little help from the government our partner artisans are having a hard time dealing with this. Hospitals, doctors or any type of health access is limited in the communities. If they are feeling ill or need medical assistance, it does not exist in their villages. There is a government clinic in town but it only has 1 doctor available and if you are in an emergency you will have to go to Cusco which is 1hr and a half away from Ollantaytambo. Getting a test for Covid-19 is only available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 11am.
The local government announced new variants of Covid-19 have been found in Cusco a couple weeks ago, many of the women in the partner villages are scared to come down to Ollantaytambo.
Vaccines have already arrived in Peru but cases have risen in the Cusco region and restrictions have been tighter. The government is talking about new variants and double masks and face shields are required to be worn in markets and public spaces.
With vaccinations coming available in other countries, the borders have become more flexible and this means more people coming into Ollantaytambo. There is a lot of confusion and mistrust in seeing tourists back in Ollantaytambo. While this brings hope and gives them light, our partner artisans are very scared of going back to “normal.” Some of them will venture into the markets and sell their product, but what they earn is not nearly as much as they used to.
Our Awamaki team keeps working hand in hand with partners outside of Peru to give the artisans some extra income, but things are very different from other years.
With your contribution we have been able to share 632 food baskets to 5 different communities, since the beginning of the year. All are full of vegetables and grains that will help the women and their families build a strong immunity system. We are committed to continue to support our partner artisans in these times of insecurity and stress.
Once again thank you for your support and we will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to continue with food baskets.