Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Our Inaugural Trip to Diospi Suyana, Curahuasi

28 July 2016

Many things have happened since my last post, but to try and stay current I am just reporting in on my current trip to Curahuasi this week (plus language school is in recess giving me the needed respite from late night homework to write here again! J).

Isaac (13) and I have embarked on our inaugural trip to Diospi Suyana hospital whilst language school is in recess for two weeks.  The bus is the most economical method by an order of magnitude – typically between USD $30 to $40 p/p each way.  Not bad for a 10 hour coach trip with 160° to 180° reclining bed seats and personal entertainment screens. 

But that is where the luxury sell ends, as the bus travel in these parts is far from smooth straight road, leading to a somewhat anxious and prayerful trip for me.  It was like being in a theme park flight simulator ride where you are thrown up down, left and right – all the time I was envisioning the speeding bus edging along mountain hairpin bends with 300 metre sheer drops.  All this with a seatbelt that did not work and the Diospi Suyana accounts of carnage with buses that do go over the edge.  

But my promise scripture is Psalm 121 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber. 

So of course we arrived OK and the Diospi Suyana facility was every bit as impressive as imagined.  It was a quality build and with friendly professional Christian staff on board.  The media centre was bigger than I had imagined from the plans – a nice clean build to get things right and be efficient and produce quality programming.

FM broadcasting had commenced a few weeks earlier for the low power local Curahuasi license on the Diospi Suyana property, providing our first 24 x 7 radio to the community.  The transmitter install is temporary but functional and does not impact upon signal performance.

The first Diospi Suyana FM – a low power transmitter (temporary install) serving Curahuasi

The Diospi Suyana hospital site FM mast (co-sited)

We have met some wonderful fellow mission people here from all parts – Germany, the US, Australia (Lyndal Maxwell) and many local Peruvians.  These are directors, surgeons, doctors, medical assistants, broadcast producers, to even cleaners who take such pride in their work.

We have also reserved a house for when we are ready to commence work in Curahuasi.  Many doubted that a suitable place for a family of 10 would be found.  However God clearly had other plans as we found a large farm house (casa la hacienda) with everything we had dreamt of having – from a creek, to beautiful views of mountains and crop fields, to even a bath (a very rare thing in Peru!).  

The house is believed to be over 150 years old, and has approximately 1 metre thick adobe mud brick walls to regulate the ambient temperature extremes.  It has never been leased before and is just 10 minutes out of town.  The owners – 4 adult siblings of an Italian visionary father, took over 2 hours to show me around and provide stories of their childhood and the amazing things their father established in the place from vineyards, to orchards, to vegetable gardens, to a water wheel to grind wheat and generate power etc.  It even has a paddock for animals (read: accommodating possible horse one day for Sarah), not to mention Inka trails that go on for countless kilometres (read: accommodating Sam’s mountain bike riding) and hills to climb for all.  We are feeling so incredibly blessed right now (again!).

A perfect place to accommodate our family (a coat of paint on the exterior will make a world of difference too! J)

Yes a bath – and what a view!!!

Tomorrow is Peru Independence Day where the town establishments (such as Diospi Suyana) march the streets to the town centre – in Peru this is the Plaza de Armes (of which every city and town of any presence has its centre named this).  I will be videoing with one of the new Sony professional cameras recently acquired for the media centre.  This will enable a programme to be produced for the hospital for when the inaugural Diospi Suyana television station commences broadcasting in the coming months.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Our Arrival in Arequipa

25 June 2016

Continuing on from my previous post… and again my apologies for the delay.  I appreciate Sand’s Facebook has been a lot more current that our blog in the past month.

After some time looking for accommodation when we were still in Sydney and furthermore after we arrived in Lima, we had not been able to find a suitable sized furnished house for short term rent in Arequipa.  Most were either smaller places or the owner wanted a long term lease and this is despite canvassing all options with Real Estate agents, our local Arequipa language school and even friends and relatives of our Peru friends in Sydney (thank you all so much for those helping us with this!).

We were coming to the end of our tenure at the Lima Guesthouse when it so happened to be Sandi’s birthday.  During which time another Diospi Suyana missionary Peter Schultz who had been studying language with his family in Arequipa for the past 2 months with his family celebrated Sandi’s birthday breakfast with us that morning (and being German, contributed a European Continental offering adding to the cultural mix).  God’s timing I reckon as he noted an accommodation option that a fellow German family was just about to leave Arequipa and they lived in a house that could accommodate the ten of us.  They had to vacate 2 weeks early for us, but there was an option with another Arequipa family to accommodate them (a squeeze but doable for them short term).

This is how things transpired and the way was made for us to have a house in Arequipa.  We achieved some amazing bargain Lima to Arequipa airfares too – the locals we spoke agreed this was the best deal they had heard of (even with LATAM who arguably have the best reputation and safety record).

We arrived at Arequipa airport greeted by the beautiful Arequipa snow-capped mountain visa of the three local volcanoes – Chachani (6.057 km above sea level), Mt Misti (an active volcano 5.822km above sea level) and Picchu Picchu (5.664 km above sea level).  We were picked up by our Diospi Suyana German compatriots (the Schütze’s and the Kühling’s) in Sam’s all-time favourite vehicle – the VW Kombi T1 model with barn doors!  So Sam had to have the front seat! ☺  Here are some pictures that captured the moment.

Our initial view of Arequipa’s volcanoes from the airport tarmac

Peter Schütze (left) and the Welch Family pickup from Arequipa airport in the VW T1 Kombi

In the first week we were in Arequipa (NB 2.4km above sea level) Sandi has suffered with headaches and daily blood noses (which seemed to go on and on for like an hour in some cases) the altitude.  This was a challenging week as Jake, Sam, Isaac and I started language school – deferring to the Tuesday as Sandi was unwell.  But with God’s Grace we got through OK.

For the initial term it seemed there was yet more mandatory admin and finance stuff to night after night.  This has also proven challenging balancing the kids’ needs with Sandi and mine, plus doing justice with our language studies and homework each day.  I found myself still working away well after midnight as the norm, including calls to Australian institutions sorting out incompatibilities with the Peru systems.  For example SMS does not work between Australian and Peru telco systems making many Australian transfer authentication systems.  Hopefully that is largely behind us now and we can settle into some sort of routine.

Here below are some pictures of our place which best describe our abode in Arequipa;

We live on the top two floors with the caretakers’ family on the ground floor.

 View north of Mt Misti from our bedroom window

View from our bedroom window down to street level

Our house looking up the street from ground level

The kids room (and overflow bedroom)

 Our kitchen with gas oven, microwave, fridge etc. all inclusions

Our dining (foreground) and living areas

Our outdoor laundry

Our rooftop getaway with city panoramic views

Operator beware – the Peruvian electric instant hot water shower head (unfortunately does not meet Australian electrical standards and you do occasionally get a tingle up the arm when turning the tap under the shower which is heated by an exposed active element inside! ☠)

Sunset over Mt Misti taken from our bedroom window