Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Our Trip to Puno on the Shore of Lake Titicaca (Day 1)

01 March 2017

We trek by car 10 hours south east to the city of Puno.  The drive takes us over countless bends and speed humps of the highlands over La Raya pass (4,335m) which make this journey far longer than it would in any developed country.  We also drive through several thunderstorms before arriving in Puno at 9:45pm. 

 We approach Mt Chimboya (5,489m) over the La Raya mountain range on our journey to Puno.
That day Klaus reports the latest numbers of Diospi Suyana hospital patients, with 25,565 patients being residents of Puno State.  This is out of a total of 222,969 patient visits to Diospi Suyana hospital since 2007.  Puno is a city of some 200,000 people.

Our team is made up of Diospi Suyana building engineer Udo Klemenz, broadcast engineer Chris Welch, head of Diospi Suyana Media Centre Doris Manco and Klaus.  This trip is to acquire a site of land on the hill overlooking the city of Puno for our FM radio tower.

Puno is a very picturesque place and is the gateway to Lake Titicaca bordering Peru and Bolivia in the Andes mountains.  The very large expanse of water (190km long, 80km wide, 8,372 km² in area) is also deep (max. 281m) and makes claim to be the world’s highest navigable lake with surface elevation of 3,812 meters.  Its waters are famously still and brightly reflective.

Map of Lago (Lake) Titicaca and its surrounding populations.
There is much Inca history associated with Lake Titicaca and home to the famous floating islands and reed boats (stock photo).
Arriving at our hotel in the night we walk past rubbish left by the daytime street markets – walking past discarded pigs heads and scavenging dogs leaves me wondering what part of the world we have entered into – a great mission experience! J  Sadly there are no waste containment systems in Peru – rubbish is simply left of the street for manual scoop up collection.  For example the provincial capital city of Juliaca is the worst I have seen and its entrance is like the gateway to hell in my mind - see my photos below, taken as we drove through Puno.  It is a good reminder of the need here and the purpose of our work in Peru.

The above two photos are of the main entrance to the city of Juliaca – capital city and gateway of Puno Province!
A further update on our Puno visit (day 2) is to follow…



Monday, 29 May 2017

The New Diospi Suyana Anthem (YouTube link)

01 March 2017

As was officially released on 22 February 2017, here below is a YouTube link to the new Diospi Suyana anthem composed by our Centro de Medios team and set to video taken in Curahuasi;

This will hopefully provide a feel for the style of our productions from Diospi Suyana.



Friday, 26 May 2017

A call in the night

28 February 2017

Original article by Dr Klaus John with some English edits by me.

A visitor to Peru once remarked: “Even the smallest thing turns into a steeplechase in this country!” Dr. Dankfried Geister had no idea how true his words were.

Monday was challenging.  Long queues of patients in front of our hospital and a waiting area that was bursting at the seams.  But neither the doctors nor the nurses have to ask themselves why they are doing this as our every conversation and action is with conviction.

In the area of our media work, things are currently not yet as they need to be.  Firstly importing the satellite link equipment from the USA is being delayed again and again by Peru government red tape.  Further we desperately need plots of land, FM radio towers and antennas in several cities.  The power cables that should have been installed between Curahuasi and our broadcast tower eight days ago are still nowhere to be seen; even though the electricity company had sworn to us they would get it done immediately.  It is simply exhausting!

But at 6 pm, seven members of staff convene for an international prayer meeting.  For nearly nine years in Diospi Suyana a constantly changing group of us meet together to intercede.

When Doris Manco, head of our Media Centre, prays my ears prick up – half an hour later I hear the whole story…

Sunday 26th February.  Darkness covers Curahuasi and silence reigns.  Doris’ mobile rings.  She starts up; the display tells her it is 4:20 am.  Has something bad happened, has someone died…?  She presses the button to take the call.

“I am calling from Huanipaca”, says the speaker, a Quechua Indian at the other end.  “Radio Diospi Suyana is the only frequency we can receive in our village.  Thank you ever so much for your programme!”  By this time Doris is wide awake and listens intensely to his words.  “Those of us living here are frequently disheartened; often we have neither electricity nor water.  But you encourage us!”

In our small prayer group Doris thanks God for this wake-up call in the middle of the night.  What an encouragement!  That makes it all worth it.  Who can say what a far-reaching impact our broadcasts will have in Peru?  How many inhabitants of the many states will listen to Diospi Suyana’s radio programme at 4 am, in which God fills the most important role?



Here is the link to the original Diospi Suyana post in English by Dr Klaus John;

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Another FM License for Diospi Suyana: Puerto Maldonado 107.7 MHz

26 February 2017

The name “Madre Dios” is translated “Mother of God” from the Spanish.  And Puerto Maldonado is a thriving city with its port on the Amazon River.  The original article is by Dr Klaus John with some clarifications made by me.
Downtown Puerto Maldonado
Madre Dios is a state on the border to Brazil and Bolivia. Most of its inhabitants live in the capital Puerto Maldonado. In the past 12 years its population has increased fourfold to 210,000 people who brave the hot and humid climate and have built their homes in the booming city.  An amazing number of patients travel the 600km from Puerto Maldonado to Curahuasi to be treated in Diospi Suyana hospital.

In Puerto Maldonado Diospi Suyana obtained its fifth FM frequency from a source private. On Friday Sr. Jairzino Pulla and his wife Sra. Silvia Santa Cruz met Dr John Cusco. Sra. Cruz signed the necessary document at a notary's office in Abancay yesterday, 25 February.

Once all Diospi Suyana antennas are erected and are equipped with the necessary transmitter equipment, Diospi Suyana hopes to be able to reach 600,000 Peruvians with our FM radio programs.

Silvia Santa Cruz laughs and signs. During a long car journey she and her husband heard many stories about Diospi Suyana.


Here is the link to the original Diospi Suyana post in English by Dr Klaus John;

Monday, 22 May 2017

Two further FM licences in two states for Diospi Suyana

18 February 2017

Two more FM licenses were secured from the Perú regulator MTC; Chincheros province (about 7 hours’ drive due west of Curahuasi) and Puno on the infamous Lake Titicaca (about 11 hours’ drive south east of Curahuasi). 

Here is my edited version (which needed a few English corrections) of the original Diospi Suyana post by Dr Klaus John;

The Lima Country Club
One could call it a major breakthrough.  Yesterday 17 February, the Ministry for Communications issued a public tender for the FM radio frequency in Puno Province, which Diospi Suyana received.  0.23 million people live in the immediate vicinity of Lake Titicaca.  We also got a frequency in Chincheros Province, a part of Apurimac State.  Taken together with our frequencies in the Andahuaylas Province and Curahuasi, 0.5 million Peruvians live in the future catchment of our aerials.

The Ministry‘s Concurso Público is not for weak nerves.  The interested parties have to hand in their tenders beforehand in sealed envelopes.  The result is also dependent on the application date, the intended purpose (commercial vs social) and the place of residence of the interested party.  One has no second chances in the bidding process.  The motto is: “you have either won it or lost it”.  No one knows the contents of the other envelopes.  One wants to win narrowly, but there is the danger of totally missing the mark and getting nothing.

11 of our 23 fellow competitors scored better than we did.  Six frequencies were available in Puno.  Our bid was perfectly placed, so that Diospi Suyana was ranked second.

In Chincheros Province it was a totally different story: 3 buyers for the 4 frequencies.  The whole procedure only had a symbolic significance.

The Ministry for Transport and Communications (MTC) tenders radio and TV licences twice a year.  The event was held in the Country Club in Lima.

We thank God for this fantastic opportunity to be able to reach so many people in Diospi Suyana Hospital’s catchment area with a Christian family programme.

The official Perú MTC banner
Chincheros Province is in the western part of the State.  Here Diospi Suyana is ranked first in the bids.
Puno Province borders the famous Lake Titicaca.  Here Diospi Suyana is ranked second in the bids.
The Ministry’s commission has the final word.



Here is the link to the original Diospi Suyana post in English;

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Curahuasi Broadcast Tower Site is Nearly Completed

17 February 2017

This post is my extract from a Diospi Suyana building report by Udo Klemenz on Friday 17 February 2017, focussing on our new Curahuasi radio and TV transmission (Tx) site construction at an almost complete stage.
Works finishing up the Curahuasi tower site equipment room roof and awning
Dear Diospi Suyana Friends, another week full of activity on our various fronts has flown by.

Our work on the Curahuasi broadcast tower site is nearly finished.  The roof for the 3m x 4m shelter within the surrounding walls has been covered and the two steel doors are in place.  By the middle of next week we will have finished the outside plastering work; then we only have to paint the facility and erect the razor-wire mesh on top of the wall.

Wishing you a blessed weekend,


The Diospi Suyana Mercedes Benz “Unimog” in action at the tower site
The equipment shelter roof is being covered
Sieving by hand – inconceivable in the developed world!
Materials no longer needed are removed from the site.
Monday morning: hundreds wait to be admitted into the Hospital.


Original Diospi Suyana post by Udo Klemenz;

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Poltocsa - the day after the vote and a week before the building work starts

13 February 2017

Diospi Suyana building engineer Udo Klemenz and me discussed important broadcast technical needs for the planned FM radio tower construction in Andahuaylas.

After the surprising majority vote from the local community of Poltocsa (see my previous blog of 12 February), the building works are planned to start next Monday.  Diospi Suyana contracted an external construction company to manage the project, and they will keep Udo in the loop of the building progress through regular photo reports.  Our tower supplier ICESE will construct the 36m free standing tower after the 3m security wall has been erected and the site is secure.

To the right of the existing towers overlooking Andahuylas is the transmission site for Diospi Suyana


Original Diospi Suyana post by Dr Klaus John;

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Breaking News – Victory for Andahuylas

12 February 2017 – original written by Dr Klaus John

The total journey of 460 km takes nine hours return.  Bend follows bend and travel sickness is a fellow passenger.  Five times we drove from Curahuasi to Andahuaylas to find a suitable site for our radio tower.  Finally we were able to buy the plot of land.  But then came Poltocsa!

350 houses, most of them roughly a kilometre away from the tower, 700 adults and perhaps 2,300 children. Six towers already stand on the mountain.  So why does the population of Poltocsa not want the seventh one?

"The radio antennae will change our climate" says one group and "Our children will be born deformed" says another.  "We hear funny noises coming from the mountain at night.  It is an eerie feeling!"  The Quechua people are superstitious, fear dark powers and APU to unfriendly god who lives in the mountain.  What would Pachamama (mother earth) say to the seventh mast?  Why did we have a severe hailstorm recently?  It must have been due to the antennae.

Four more times Doris Manco and I travelled to Poltocsa to meet the challenge of persuading the residents.  Through two presentations in the city hall we tried to soothe the public anxiety.  So then we collected signatures.  Saturday evening: until deep into the night we knock on doors and speak to lone wanderers we meet out and about.  By 10 pm we have collected 268 signatures. Will that be enough?

 Doris Manco collecting signatures from residents of Poltocsa
At 7 am the next morning the "Asamblea General" (General Assembly) commences.  175 paterfamilias or their wives must be present.  By 8 am we are nowhere near the required number.  The mayor does not allow me to give a presentation of Diospi Suyana in the school's auditorium. There we would all have had enough space and would not have to bake in the sun.

One after another is granted permission to speak and says he is against Diospi-Suyana radio.  Doris Manco, José Saenz and I have to endure the hostile atmosphere. Why we are not granted permission to speak, we do not know. The mayor had promised us beforehand did we would be allowed to give a presentation of our vision. Were all our efforts and our sweat in vain? Will all our many hours of journeys through many nights come to nothing?

Then others arrived and there are now 180 Quechuas present and we now have a quorum.  But it is clear we had lost this discussion ages ago. When the vote will be taken, no one present will vote for us.  The populous is terrified of its politicians.  They fear did if they vote for Diospi Suyana that the water for their fields will be turned off.  We heard this fear often expressed in the previous weeks.

My tongue clings to the roof of my mouth.  Have we not prayed for days that God would intervene? Did not the Christians living there say they would support us?  The pastors themselves spent hours during the night praying for us.  That morning I had sent an email to the missionary fellowship in Curahuasi urging them: "Pray for us, we are under great pressure".

Finally the alcalde (mayor) grants me permission to speak.  What should I say? "Doris, while I am speaking, can you pray?" The head of our media centre nods her head.  She would have done so without me prompting her - she had been praying all along.

I have ten minutes. I start talking about my childhood, about my dream to be a missionary doctor for the poor; I mention my wife Martina, who some of those present know personally (having been attended to in Diospi Suyana hospital). 

"We are here to help you", I call without a microphone into the large crowd. "We do not care what our bottom-line looks like.  We want missionaries to comfort, alleviate and heal!  "I talk about the suffering in the homes in which we have visited and treated people.  "Via our radio we can tell you what services the hospital offers directly and which doctors are there!" 

Further verbal contributions follow; most of them are against a radio Diospi Suyana. Just before the vote I can address those present one last time: "Dear inhabitants of Poltocsa, it is your choice.  I beseech you - did you listen to the voice of your hearts, not to what any leaders here want to tell you!"

The mayor Describes how the vote will take place: everyone who goes and stands on the right hand side is for Diospi Suyana radio, on the left hand side is against.  It will be a matter of seconds and then we will know for sure if we are if we can leave here once and for all, sad and downcast.  It is best to get unpleasant things over and done with as soon as possible. 

But as soon as the vote starts the people flock and stream towards the right hand side! The queue stretches across the whole school yard and along the far wall.  An incredible spectacle!  The vote is crystal clear.  We can hardly believe what we are seeing.  Not a single person, not even minutes before had those who rallied against and Criticized Diospi Suyana, goes to the left hand side. 108 votes for Diospi Suyana, 72 abstentions. 

What a decisive and incredible victory against fear and superstition, against opposition and intimidation.  A huge stone falls from my heart.  Doris, José and I cannot believe what we see.  All the prayers spoken were not in vain. Thanks be to God. Gracias to God! 

After a four-hour long session being baked in the sun, the 180 people present must now sign the minutes.  I am one of the last in the line.  Over the past few years, this must now be my favourite signature and my dearest document. 

The minutes are signed – it’s a long que and it’s a hot day!
Klaus’ signature for Diospi Suyana - one of 180th entries
108 votes for Diospi Suyana's FM antenna, 72 abstentions.
Dr Klaus Dieter John

Original Diospi Suyana post;

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Diospi Suyana Broadcast Transmission Progress Updates to Follow

10 May 2017

Since my last blog post it has been a very busy period for me in Diospi Suyana.  I have travelled many kilometres for Diospi Suyana with the “broadcast transmission site selection team” consisting of Dr Klaus John (Diospi Suyana Director), Udo Klemenz (Diospi Suyana Civil Engineer) and Doris Manco (Diospi Suyana Media Centre General Manager).  Indeed I have been singing my own version of the original 1959 Aussie classic “I’ve been everywhere man”! J

So from this point I will endeavour to catch up on these happenings in a sequence from where I last left off.  Most of these will be based directly on the Diospi Suyana website news posts by Dr Klaus John albeit with some improvements to the English translation, clarifications where necessary and occasionally an extra photo here or there.

Starting from 12 February, and subsequent posts in a timeline are to follow…

But to aid your reference of place names, here is a map I have compiled showing the locations including a table of summary details of our broadcast sites that we will be referring to;