A day in the life of an Ayni Wasi intern

by Nica, Civic Semester Participant

Having the opportunity to intern at Ayni Wasy (Scared Valley Health) —an organization whose goals and values fully align with my own views and experience— has truly been one of the highlights of the Civic Semester. Because of that, I decided to walk you through an entire day at my internship.

7.00 – I wake up, get ready, and go downstairs to enjoy my usual breakfast, a fruit salad with chia seeds and vanilla yogurt. (My host mom saw me getting a fruit salad in the market and ever since that became my everyday breakfast. (I am very spoiled in this house!)

8.00 – I get out of the house and start walking to the colectivo station from which I take a 40-minute ride from Urubamba to Ollantaytambo—the city in which the NGO Ayni Wasi works.

8.50 – I get out of the colectivo, always in awe after seeing the myriad of textures, shapes, and sizes of the Andes mountains; I don’t think I could ever get sick of this and it’s honestly one of the things I will miss the most.

9.00 – After a 5-minute walk from the Plaza to my NGO, I enter the office, say hi to all my co-workers, and go straight to the kitchen to make coffee. It’s safe to say that I have been living off of my organization’s coffee supply.

9.30 – I set up my office and go downstairs to check out what’s going on; On Wednesdays, for example, I help out with logistics during one of their Salud Comunitaria trainings: this training is for Indigenous women from high-altitude Quechua communities which are part of one of their programs. They are called Promotoras de Salud and usually travel in between 3-5 hours just for this. However, today, there was a Pap Smear Screening campaign happening in the office.

13.00 – After hours of registering over 70 Quechua-speaking women and walking them through the process of a cervical cancer exam, our team and the medical team from CerviCusco sat down for launch. They were shocked to find out that I was only 17 especially after the Executive Director mentioned my experience with the NGO field.

14.00 – We cleaned and rearranged the office after the medical team.

15.00 – My day usually finishes at this time or an hour later and I walk to the Colectivo station.

15.40 – The drive back is always sacred for me as it is reserved for reflection upon my day and my overall experiences during this program and this time was no different.

16.00 – I arrive home.

For me, interacting with Quechua-speaking communities on a daily basis is about understanding how to navigate differences while being aware of disparities. I find it so inspiring to be able to talk to these resilient women, who break gender norms and become role models and leaders in their community. I truly believe they are the ones who can move mountains.