Shannon Abad is a warm, friendly American born woman who is married to Jose, a Peruvian from Lima. She’s quite keen to bring the community in Urubamba together, uniting locals, expats and tourists alike, and decided the best way to do so would be by housing them all under one roof, in a cafe environment.
She has taken over the famous Casa de la Abuela, just off the main square beside the church in Urubamba. Here, we asked Shannon a bit about her life in Peru and her new project.
So, how did you end up in Peru?
The 5-year plan was to introduce our daughter, Sierra, to Jose’s culture and family in Peru. With that checked off the list and after about 4 years, with Sierra now being fully bilingual, with a heart of service we set out to travel and volunteer to teach English all around Peru from the North to the South. We lived and worked in schools, orphanages, and with NGO’s who’s vision and mission matched our hope to help those in need of support and a bit of happiness.
In 2016 we were offered a post in the Sacred Valley. So, we left our gig in the North of Peru and made our way to teach and make a new home in a new town. Long story short, we fell in love with the Valley and the people and we haven’t looked back.
Why did you decide to open Sierra’s Cafe Bistro?
Where in the world can the youth and those entrepreneurs out there go to work, study and just hang out in a safe environment with dependable Wi-Fi and find happy, smiling faces? So we decided we need to make such a spot. Our plan is to provide the locals and digital nomads that are passing through a decent, clean and safe place spot to “park it” awhile. Along the way, we hope to be given an opportunity to share with them some tidbit or advice that has helped us get this far in our journey.
Just about the time our daughter is graduating we plan to have our little community center up and running and we will strive as a family to impact and be a source of strength, guidance and love to give back to others and make a difference.
What is the main concept of the cafe?
The idea is to provide the community with a meeting place and a place that’s both comfortable and accessible for hanging out with friends and co-workers. For the Americans in the audience, think of “Cheers” the old show on TV that represents the place where people come to enjoy a great cup of coffee or cocktails that when you step through the door everyone greets you by name.
The general gist of our café is to provide quality local products such as coffee and pastries at an affordable price for both the local; indigenous clientele as well as the travellers or expats. We also anticipate that by offering our services to provide English classes that we will continue to serve the community by giving of our time and talents to teach them conversational and vocational English.
Apart from this, there will be a local library and resource center that avails them to resources to both improve upon and to ensure they are able to use our community center for their groups and meeting events as needed or to improve or ensure the success of their community projects and endeavors. We are looking to not just to provide a place to find a great cup of java, but to provide a center for those in our community who are looking to improve their situation and strive to give an open space for those who are trying to improve themselves by using our space to both work and promote their businesses.
What future plans do you have for the cafe?
Our next step offering is to provide the digital nomads and those individuals that are traveling a safe and comfortable space to work and interact with like-minded individuals with our high-tech, state of the art workspace to ensure that their workplace is both professional and comfortable to be able to take advantage of within normal business hours to work in.
We will provide a monthly fee for them to come to a place that is open during the hours of 7am-9pm local time to work and interact with their clients in an uninterrupted venue that will serve their needs. We plan to offer reliable internet speeds and private workspaces that will serve them to work and connect with their online clients.
Sierra’s Cafe is at Jiron Bolivar 272, Urubamba