Women in Entrepreneurship Project in Peru – It’s a challenge to give justice to this overall experience, especially as a “repeat offender” having travelled on a Social Entrepreneurship Project to Vietnam last year. This year’s project was a Women in Entrepreneurship Project based in Arequipa, Peru.
The NSCC Team (1 Academic Chair, 3 School of Business students and myself from the Industrial Engineering Program) partnered with a facilitator and student translators from ISUR University. Our project took us each morning from the ISUR campus in central Arequipa, approximately a 35 minute ride to the Cerro Colorado district on the outskirts of the city. With ISUR university, some participants were taking a series of classes to build their knowledge and hands on skills. The team worked with a group of 7 women from the area, assisting to develop business model canvasses for up and running or future entrepreneurship ideas. All living and raising their children in a lower economically based area, the end goal is to help and encourage empowerment and self – sustainability through independent business ventures. These women were just incredible, and it was an ABSOLUTE HONOUR to work with all of them. I guarantee these women taught ME MORE than I could ever assist within their goals. All so dedicated, intelligent, focused, resourceful and humble and it warmed my heart several times. I had to take moments to compose myself on more than one occasion due to sheer honour and pride for these incredibly strong women.
This journey to Peru and in Arequipa was just incredible. With so many adventures intertwined, I’m going to try and sum up some highlights:
- Snuggling a baby alpaca! My messages BLEW UP after that picture post. “Operation Alpaca” was an Epic Fail but the growing volunteer operations team 😆did some solid research on quality shipping containers/luggage and even had a flight attendant in the mix! Cheapest and best option was my lap, but the airlines wouldn’t go for it…. party poopers.
- The generosity and assistance of the student interpreters and may I say now, great friends! My Spanish was not great so thanks for teaching me some phrases… both helpful ones and slang lingo 😊
- The journey and tour of Machu Picchu…. a UNESCO world heritage site that is an international treasure. The weather was stunning and just what an incredible masterpiece and historical journey into the lives of the Inca people. I just feel so privileged to have visited in person.
- The Food 🤤. The market was a colourful sight and intoxicating for all the senses.😍 I could not get enough of all the fresh fruit and bartering was not as intense or present in Peru compared to other places travelled. Still ‘bartered like a boss’ … but not as hardcore as my bruh Calvin🤣
- This friendly East Coaster has grown even more within her global sense of community and sharing. Thanks Peru for such an amazing introduction to the continent of South America!
- The day at the school when a bunch of teenage boys thought I was from a Hip Hop video and my bracelets were real gold bling!! Awe…you bunch of sweeties.
- The journey to Cusco and our tour with guide Berto 💓. It was nothing shy of transcendent. Learning about the Inca culture and the undeniable connection of historical building practices based on nature and the elements. This spiritual engineer was in absolute heaven and still absorbing the connectedness I felt that day. It was really, really special.
- The five minute walk from our hotel to the ISUR campus… where the team affectionally named the community park “P Park”… due to its ahem wonderful organic aroma (LOL)
- The NSCC team. Holy did we laugh, get frustrated at times, ate like champs, drank Pisco, learned Spanish and for myself and Anne…. amazing girl’s night sleepover time in Cusco!! So so happy to have met you all and what an adventure! Just too many stories it would need a post by itself.
- The Art Atlas factory visit to see where some of our women worked. Such an amazing organization trying to empower people, produce quality organic products (alpaca yarn) and increase world’s sustainability efforts. I was in Industrial Engineering Technology heaven with their processes and facility systems. What was amazing was our tour guide Arturro was an Industrial Engineer, and when he discovered it was my area of study… hello professional fist bump and contact exchanging!!👊
- Threatened and challenged the other NSCC boys to not only get tattoos, but get their “fades did” with Inca traditional animals. I voted for “A Condor Riding a Puma with a Snake in its Mouth”…. but alas the dream didn’t come to fruition 🤣🤣 You boys let me down …Ha!!
- Making unique connections despite language barriers with the women. I cannot verbally describe it, but you could see and feel it and it’s a sensation I will never forget. Mind blowing and incredibly memorable and uplifting.
- Was kind of hoping he’d at least be in his thirties at least…. but instead MY MAN was 3.5 years old and the son of the hotel owners. He played hard to get at first, but then was quite persistent in having me all to himself myself as he locked us in my hotel room. Total gentleman.. He helped me pack, played on my phone and jumped on the bed. I HEART PEDRO 😍
- The women loving my short hair… and one mother Carmen wanting to cut her young daughter’s hair like mine. (No mama… no! Lol) Then little Nicole proceeding to touch my hair, smile sweetly and call me Alpaca. I mean 🤔 the texture…she’s not wrong.😆
- Yes, I ate a Guinea Pig and it did taste good.
Yes.. I tried to avoid the grim scene of a whole animal belly down on my plate by ordering “pieces of “. (Calvin: Not so fortunate!! Bwahahahaha)
Yes.. I didn’t realize the head was in fact buried on my plate where ONLY I couldn’t see it. Yes.. I jumped when I saw it.
Yes.. It’s caught on live tape. 😀😆
- Went from “P Park” to VIP park to VIP Plane (Business class: woah) all in a matter of 24 hours🤣
I feel again very fortunate to take part in another learning experience with NSCC International. This organization will forever be imprinted within my life – long learning, as through these partnership projects I’ve ventured to two continents previously un- travelled. A whole hearted and soulful thank you for this amazing experience and opportunity.
Industrial Engineering Technology Student
NSCC Ivany campus