Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Adiós to our Language School in Arequipa

18 November 2016

Chris, Jake, Sam and Isaac were fare-welled at language school today.  For the past 5 months they have been attending ABC Español Language School here in Arequipa learning Spanish.  They did so well! (biased! J)  To mark the occasion they had to present a speech in Spanish in front of the school.  Sam even wrote a song in Spanish and sung it playing his guitar.  Here are YouTube links to some video we took including Chris' “adiós” PowerPoint presentation…

It has been a very special time here in Arequipa.  Yes it has been a huge cultural adjustment and there have been many challenging moments, but we can really say that God has placed the right people in our path at the right time to see us through.

Chris has juggled his time between language school and working with the Diospi Suyana media centre team and managing our family’s needs of a house in Curahuasi and the purchase of a car.   During the 5 months he has had to make 2 trips to Curahuasi for Diospi Suyana and 3 trips to Lima.  He has become more street-wise with Lima security issues! J But they are stories for another time!

As a family we have also built immunity to a whole new world of germs, but are travelling well now. The kids and I have found places to shop and play. Between us all we have explored the surrounds of Arequipa on horseback, on mountain bike, on foot hiking up Mount Misti, and in tour buses.  We have competed in a road cycling race, volunteered at a furniture shop (to help practice Spanish), we have all helped out at an orphanage, and attended a youth group. It has been really helpful to meet so many people and understand the culture a little.

ABC language school also runs a church called Christianity in Action, which we have attended whilst here.  Jake and Sam have played in the worship band with local church members and language school students.  It is relationships that make a journey special and we have been so blessed by the people we have met.  Maybe we will return and touch up our Spanish one day! (Like many missionaries seem to do).  If you need to learn Spanish we can recommend ABC Español, Arequipa, Peru. J

Here below are a few snaps taken on the day...

Sam playing his song in Spanish with his teacher and worship pastor Pao on right (and Solomon onlooking with interest! J)

Our family portrait taken after the farewell
Chris, Jake, Sam with Isaac from one of our classrooms above

Saturday, 12 November 2016

To Lima for Towers and Satellite Equipment

7 & 8 November 2016

I travelled to Lima on Monday and Tuesday this week with Dr Klaus John and Doris Manco – manager of Diospi Suyana Centro de Medios (Media Centre).  This trip was to acquire towers and satellite equipment for the Diospi Suyana network. 

During my time in Arequipa I have spent many hours / late nights in addition to my language learning, planning the Diospi Suyana broadcast system.  This includes broadcast transmitter facilities, satellite system topology drawings (for high availability), undertaking broadcast FM and TV coverage prediction software (ATDI) models, searching for the optimal price and performance transmission / satellite equipment that is available in Peru (it’s quite a different market to that found in Australia).

My satellite uplink topology for the Diospi Suyana network
We visited two tower manufacturers, discussed our specific broadcast requirements and reviewed performance predicted by their software models.  I was surprised they were both using MS Tower 6 – an internationally recognised product developed in Sydney that I am very familiar with. 

MS Tower 6 software deflection analysis
Towers are much cheaper here in Peru but the materials (hot dipped galvanised steel) is of a much lower standard.  Labour to erect the towers are also cheaper, and safety standards are nearly non-existent.
One of our two Lima tower manufacturers’ workshop
Klaus presented the Diospi Suyana story to one of the major satellite earth station equipment suppliers in Peru.  They have offered to run a complimentary live satellite test on our design with the Argentina satellite operator ARSAT who have been extremely cooperative and favourable toward Diospi Suyana.  We are hopeful the local equipment supplier will also provide a suitably discounted proposal for Diospi Suyana so we can proceed with a local provider (preferred).  The alternative is we will have to travel to the US to purchase equipment directly at the right price.

Right now Diospi Suyana is broadcasting FM in Curahuasi from a temporary installation at the hospital.  One of the new free standing towers (30m) is destined for a ridge peak in the middle of the town to enable the complete township and surrounds’ coverage of both FM and TV.  This new site will include a new building that I am planning with an internal generator to enable transmission continuity during the frequent power outages of Curahuasi during the summer months.  As this site is only 500 metres from the hospital, we may opt for a TCP/IP microwave link that I have designed to deliver program from the Media Centre as well as monitor the transmitters and generator.

The second fee standing tower (36m) is destined for the city of Andahuaylas which has a population of about 80,000 and some 170,000 in the catchment of this transmission.  Diospi Suyana has an FM licence to transmit there now and the land has been purchased (see Diospi Suyana article http://www.diospi-suyana.de/andahuaylas-antennenstandort-ist-gekauft/ and have Google translate it to English). 

So as soon as we can get the infrastructure to site, installed and commissioned, the sooner we can be on air.  The commissioning is made possible using the Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) test equipment we brought out from Australia with FM options generously donated by the Australian division of R&S. Thanks too for Pack and Send Castle Hill by helping us ship this gear to Peru and getting it through customs here (not trivial).

For this remote site of Andahuaylas, the only practical option is to use satellite to deliver the program, hence the urgency in acquiring and installing this solution also.

Whilst in Lima we also visited a major Christian broadcaster based in Lima, Movimiento Misionero Mundial (MMM).  They employ 150 people in Lima impressively after being in operation for just 7 years.  They produce quality programming including Bethel TV and Bethel radio.  We had a terrific time touring their facility and discussing all manner of operational and technical subjects with staff.  They seemed just as impressed with our fledging Diospi Suyana media ministry as we were with what they were doing.  We also discussed the sharing of programming in the future.

Movimiento Misionero Mundial (MMM) Broadcaster and Church in Lima
Diospi Suyana is unique from MMM in so far as it provides public health information, educational alongside the Christian message.  As James 2:14~17 reminds us:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

This is an imperative in Peru where education is marginal at best and so many people are desperately poor.  And people are in great need to hear the Word of God which will set them free (John 8:36).

The Diospi Suyana media centre has also progressed with its production of quality radio and TV content.  The staff numbers continue to grow and we should have 10 people in the centre by Christmas, including me as the one expat missionary.  I am often encouraged by the Diospi Suyana team who appreciate the skill and experience I have brought to help with the transmission at the right time.  Klaus is already talking about having to appreciably expand the media centre in the need for more production and office space.

We are just 2 weeks off leaving Arequipa for Curahuasi.  These past 5 months have on one hand seemingly gone so quickly but at the same time been very challenging for my language learning.  I need more practice to converse proficiently, applying the theory I have learnt at ABC Español language school in Arequipa.  I believe I will get this needed practice in Curahuasi.

I want to again thank all our amazing generous supporters (prayer and financial) who are making all this work possible.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

All Saints’ Day

1 & 2 November 2016

It was “All Saints’ Day” in many Catholic countries yesterday.  In Peru, particularly in Andean towns, the day has its own look because Catholic beliefs and celebrations are intertwined with ancient Andean and Inca traditions.  For example the worship of the dead was an integral part of Inca culture with the mummies of the dead Incas being present at all important rituals.  Part of that tradition, combined with Catholics elements, still lives on today.  We have tried to understand it and share it here a little.

There are two days of celebrations.  Yesterday was a holiday and was called the “Day of the Living”. Families can meet together to share a meal and celebrate “the living”.

Today is called the “Day of the Dead”.  Peruvians typically attend mass then families can meet together in cemeteries to connect with dead loved ones.  They bring them gifts, food, drink and converse with them while the family drinks, eats, and converses too.  They can hire musicians to play the favourite music of the dead and hire people to pray (often in Quechuan) for the dead ones’ peace for the year ahead.  At night, the relatives can hold a candlelight vigil in the cemetery until dawn on 2 November.

Jake and Sam went with the language school to the Arequipa cemetery to experience it today.

Jake said "the cemetery was very busy and colourful with many stalls selling candles, flowers, food and drinks.  There were bands playing around the graves and along with families eating, talking and dancing.  People seemed relaxed."

Sam said "At language school we were given “t'anta wawas” which is Quechuan for bread babies. These are sweet breads made in an oval shape to portray a baby wrapped up with a baby's face decoration on top at one end.  We saw a lot of them as food laid out for the dead.  They looked like Egyptian mummies.  They taste very sweet and I didn't like them and my teacher said she didn't like them either.  The whole day was a very new experience for me and from a Christian perspective was a little crazy and not of God.  However it was good to experience the mix of Catholic and ancient traditions that these people practice."

In the Andes we will experience more of these traditions.  We pray that God will show us how to reach the Quechua people we meet with the alive, risen love and truth of Jesus.

Sandi, Jake and Sam

All Saints’ Day in Arequipa Cemetery (from a distance)
Some typical t'anta wawas on the baking tray