Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Sam Cycles for a Back to Back Race Win

31 July 2017
This Sunday was the annual Competencia Ciclista Curahuasi Circuito del Anís (circuit of the aniseed) run by the Municipalidad de Curahuasi.  We only found out about this race a bit over a week ago - normal notice for these parts! J But also incredible for us that our little home town hosts a road bike race.
Ironically the street circuit was around our church, Morada de Dios in downtown Curahuasi.  So being a Sunday morning race, our pastor Tomas was out the front and prayed for Sam before racing which was great.

As background - Sam has kept his road cycling training up including some decent hill gains such as our nearby Abancay climb (rising from 2,650m to 3,950m ASL) and so he was in good form to win his age group 14 a 17 years (10 laps of the town circuit).  But that’s not all as immediately following this race and to the surprise of many, he enrolled into the next race which commenced only minutes later.  This was the over 18 age group (25 laps of the town circuit).  Then to everyone’s amazement – he won this race also!  It was a hard ride with the lack of oxygen at these altitudes.  But he was awarded two “gold” medals and also won S/. 350 in prize money.  

Sam’s training by Helmut Vetisch of the North Sydney Cycle Club Juniors along with many a club race with NSCC gave Sam a distinct advantage combined with his continued training regime.  As Sam later noted, cornering, bike handling and mature race tactics learnt from Helmut was key to putting him in front of the locals.

The competition was road cycling teams from Cusco and Abancay.  Sadly one rider from Curahuasi hit a stray dog (of which there were a number per normal in our town) and crashed hard, unfortunately removing him from the race.  A fellow rider who is a German missionary and strong mountain biker, Nathaniel, also raced, albeit on my bike as he does not own a road bike but Sam dropped him early in the second race.  Why did I not race you might ask?  OK I was feeling crook so I agreed to loan my bike to him – just this once! J

A funny thing of note - they use loo paper as the finishing tape.  Very resourceful for their low rural budget.

Incidentally our Solomon (6 years) also raced in his age group, but due to low numbers on the day they combined the 6 to 8 years (años) and 8 to 13 years age groups.  So he was handicapped in age and lack of riding experience.  This was good for him to come back to next year though.  Maybe I will be ready to race in the over 18 grade – although Sam too will surely be back a year stronger.

Many Perú friends joined us also, including our housekeeper Rocita and her son Luis, two of our landlords with their 85 year old mum, and one of my workmates with his wife and young kids.  Sandi and I were obviously very proud parents!

Here is the Curahuasi council (Municipilidad) registration tent at the start and finish line.
Sam warms up on his rollers in front of our Perú church.  This is not a common sight in Curahuasi or Perú for that matter.
Sam takes out his first race breaking the “tape” with good margin.
Here is the line-up for the over 18 age group.
The over 18 group is a tougher challenge.
Post Sam’s second win – we pose for a family portrait with our Perú pastor, Tomas.
The podium medalists for the over 18s.
A proud mum and dad on the day with the champion (and as seen on Sandi’s face - the sun was pretty intense!).
Here is the link to a Diospi Suyana post by Klaus (in English) on this event with my photos;

Signed - a proud Mum and Dad,

Sandi & Chris

Monday, 28 August 2017

It is always best to speak directly with the boss

20 July 2017

This article was posted by Klaus on the Diospi Suyana website, of which I have made a few English editorials here for clarity;

Diospi Suyana's six antenna locations need to be connected to the electrical mains.  Pylons need to be erected and cables suspended.  Transformers and all sorts of contactors need to be put in place before the transmitters and antennas can function to broadcast our signal. One could of course go to the respective state bureaus of the electricity company "Electro Sur"and try to individually negotiate with each one of them whilst hoping for a favourable outcome.  But in Peru, it is a known fact that one should understand – one should always speak directly to the boss!

Yesterday Doris Manco and Chris Welch liaised Directly with Sr. Freddy Gonzalez from Electro Sur. He is none other than the electricity company's president responsible for three states. He has the final "electric-say" in the departments of Apurimac, Puerto Maldonado and Cusco.

Freddy Gonzalez has been acquainted with Diospi Suyana for several years and he promised to support us.  The journey from Cusco to Curahuasi is a long and arduous one.  But what are 250km if one can liaise directly with the boss?

We received the commitment from Electro Sur that they would undertake the labour at all Diospi Suyana sites for free.  We only need provide the materials.  This was an incredible outcome for us.
From left to right: Chris Welch, Freddy Gonzalez, Doris Manco and the executive secretary.
Electro Sur's entrance in Cusco
Here is the link to a Diospi Suyana post of this visit by Klaus (in English);



Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Completion Building Inspection of our Puerto Maldonado Site

07 July 2017

Only 56 days until the big party!

This is a brief report on tropical Puerto Maldonado. Udo Klemenz, Doris Manco and I flew to site to make a final construction inspect the FM site and collect the land registration certificate from the local Notary lawyer.  

Udo and I created a list of defects for the builder.  This was necessary as we cannot always be present to monitor the work due to the tyranny of distance.  But on the whole, we are satisfied with the result.
There was also an electrical engineer on site as a representative for the supply authority Electro Sur, where we have discussed out needs and were presented with a cost estimate for the work to be performed the following morning.  It was a lot more than we expected, as we believe liberty was had with both materials and labour.  Our only avenue to contest this is to discuss it with Electro Sur management, which invariably would take us to their head office in Cusco.
Coming in to land at Puerto Maldonado interfacing the Amazon “selva” (jungle).
The notary presents the registration of the property from the Registro Público (Land Registry).
Here I am measuring the ground resistance of the 4 tower legs using our digital ground meter (Fluke 1623) with test probes distanced out in the surrounding soil.  This process is to ensure our grounding system is as designed and that lightning does not cause us a problem in the wet season.  I needed to make some quick reconfiguring to the earthing system (a challenge in our tight schedule) per my original design with our builder on site, in order to reach our target resistances.
The finished tower stands at 50 meters to reach the thriving metropolis of Puerto Maldonado.
The finished tower stands at 50 meters to reach the thriving metropolis of Puerto Maldonado.
For interest – at this time the Christian Perú folk group “Kerygma Canta” from Lima enriches the morning service in the hospital chapel.  The Quecha congregation come alive with their brand of music.  Later, Kerygma Canta are recorded in our Centro de Medios for our radio and TV broadcasts.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Our Return to Echarati in the Back of Beyond

22 June 2017

This trip felt like I was part of a modernised Dr David Livingstone’s mission pioneering adventure story where we were wielding a machete through thick undergrowth to mark out our new FM transmission site for Echarati.  If you followed my previous Echarati post, you may have gathered I was not very satisfied with that initial selection.  Although it was convenient in terms of access, it was not optimal in terms of FM coverage (you can find my previous article with this link; http://welchesinperu.blogspot.pe/2017/08/echarati-our-6th-fm-license.html)

We returned to investigate the options I found from my desktop coverage predictions which confirmed that going up the road a few kilometres with a height gain of 150m would reach communities with our radio message of hope that would otherwise be left in the noise.

Here following is my version of the official Diospi Suyana post by Klaus of this trip with my photos (as he was in Germany at the time);

Clearing the undershrub with a machete for our new found Echarati transmission site.
This was a three day trip for Doris Manco, Matthias Besold and I.  The first day was travelling back from Curahuasi to the Echarati valley.  We spent the second day exploring Echarati's mountain undergrowth with my pre-determined site options, until we finally found the ideal spot for erecting of our next broadcast transmission tower.  Our Curahuasi driver Cesar, was invaluable with his experience slashing through the Peruvian undergrowth with my machete to peg out our lot.

Moreover this new transmission site is accessible by car via good unsealed road and is also located near medium voltage electricity lines where we need to install a pole transformer which is a requirement for commercial services by the Perú electrical authority.  Both these attributes are important for the swift building of an antenna tower. 

On Friday, Matthias Besold acting as deputy administrative director for Diospi Suyana signed the deed of purchase.  President Sr Remigio and his deputy signed in the name of the village community "Cooperativa mateo pumacahuac".
Our team combing through the undergrowth has finally found what it what looking for!  From left to right: Doris Manco, Carlos Lopez, Cesar Mosqueira, Chris Welch and Matthias Besold.
The analysis of the FM coverage of this latest optimal FM site shows much of the population of Echarati can be reached by our Diospi Suyana radio.
We then commenced the site purchase process, where our adventure then took us on a half an hour dirt road trip out of town with Sr Remigoio to his community elders to get their signature of authorisation for the Diospi Suyana lot purchase.  When we pulled up, we then set off on a hike through orchards and produce gardens to their house hidden deep in the bush – all the while being bitten by mosquitos and sweltering in the midday heat.  But what a lovely Christian elderly couple lived at the end of that path.

Our team marching through the tropical bush of Quillabamba to the elders’ house.
Despite being obviously very poor, this lovely Christian elderly couple proudly presented us with some of their local produce as a token of gratitude for our mission work to their region.
The formal signing was done in a notary's office in the nearby city of Quillabamba.   The amusing thing is arriving at the Notary at the advertised 4:00pm reopening hour in the afternoon (i.e. after a 3 ½ hour lunch break J).  We were in a hurry to get back to Echarati before 5:00pm to submit another document at the municipal council there before closing (if we missed this, we would have to stay another night), but the Notary staff did not get back to open their doors until 4:25pm!  Needless to say our patience has improved so much since being in Perú!
Our Notary lawyer’s hours of attention sign on display.
But as it so happened, we just made it in time including a couple of quick group photos (see below) and then we set off on our 6 hour drive home to Curahuasi.
Matthias Besold signs for Diospi Suyana.
Outside the notary's office: the two parties celebrate the moment with a group photo. The president of the village community Sr Remigio stands between Doris Manco and Matthias Besold.
Leaving Quillabamba at the end of another eventful day in the tropics.
We pass through the Sacred Valley of the Incas which are major tourist destinations for their archaeological appeal – here is a picture of the Scalinata e terrazzamenti in Ollantaytambo.  This was an Inca fortress where they fought the Spanish.
Our driver Cesar gets some fuel in the night from one of the small shops/fuel stations on the mountain pass.  It puts another spin on “old fashioned station service” as we know it in Australia! 😊
As noted, Echarati will be Diospi Suyana's 6th FM location and once the satellite connection has been made, the Peruvian States Apurimac, Cusco, Madre de Dios and Puno will be able to receive Diospi Suyana's radio programs.

Here is the link to the original Diospi Suyana post of this visit by Klaus (in English) albeit more brief than my version above;



Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Signing the satellite contract with Intelsat

20 June 2017

As background, it was on 28 April 2017 that Diospi Suyana received an update from Hispamar indicated that Diospi Suyana have been granted Corporate Responsibility status, and for so a minimum of 3 years they said we will be given free satellite access for our radio services.  This would represent a significant OPEX saving for Diospi Suyana.  Moreover we hoped that subsequent years will also be gratis.  But even if their head office chose to charge us, we were told it would be at an “attractive rate”.  All this said, we need to have this in a written contract and vetted by Hispamar Head Office in Madrid.  This was the next step in the process.

But on June 20 we had to about face with Latin American Hispamar after 3 months of delays, un-kept promises, incremental increases and then to cap this off receiving unacceptable terms and conditions.  It was a similar story with the other Latin American satellite operator ARSAT (based in Argentina) initially considered by Diospi Suyana a year ago. 

So we revisited our United States friends at Intelsat, whose Latin American office is based in Miami.  We had engaged with them initially, but they were uncompetitive at that time.  However they were delighted to hear from me again and with this new opportunity to win our business they were able to match the price of Hispamar.  The other winning attribute were sensible terms and conditions and a simple flat price for the contract term i.e. no price indexing.

So on Monday the contract with Intelsat was made valid with a term of 5 years.  Through this cost-effective and technically excellent solution on their IS-14 satellite, Diospi Suyana will within a few years, reach millions of people in Peru with our radio channel. "Dios mediante" - God willing.

In fact the IS-14 C-Band signal coverage (or “footprint” as it is known in the industry) will cover all of Latin America!  Our Diospi Suyana broadcast will be available to anyone in Latin America with a C-Band dish pointed to IS-14 in the geostationary orbit of 315° east.
Intelsat IS-14 satellite C-Band Americas coverage which will be utilised by Diospi Suyana radio.
And a photo for interest – here is a picture of IS-14 prior to its November 2009 deployment into space.
Here is a link to the Diospi Suyana article on this subject by Klaus (in English);



Monday, 14 August 2017

Headlines - Diospi Suyana Meets with the President of Perú!

19 June 2017

Two articles of this meeting were posted by Klaus on the Diospi Suyana website news.  I have made a few editorials to these for clarity in English;

From left to right - Ing. Máximo San Román, Dr Klaus John, President PPK, Dr Martina John and Dr Jens Hassfeld.
A great honour for Diospi Suyana was with the invitation of the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (popularly known as PPK).  Doctors’ Klaus and Martina John and Dr Jens Hassfeld met PPK in the government palace and were given the opportunity to present the vision of Diospi Suyana. The atmosphere was very warm.  

The presentation of over 100 images was enough to guide the president through the history and the different working fields of our mission.  In a personal statement, Dr Klaus John made it clear that Diospi Suyana exists to show the love of Jesus Christ and to share and honour God.
The band of the President’s Palace.
The highlight of the visit for Diospi Suyana was when the President willingly announced he would attend the big anniversary celebration of our hospital on 31 August.  We thank God for this special audience with the highest dignitaries of Peru.  Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory to God alone).  Without doubt this will add a special touch to the ten-year anniversary of Diospi Suyana.
A special meeting with an extraordinary man.
Anyone who obtains information from Wikipedia about the current Peruvian president, will probably take off his hat.  The son of a Jewish father from Berlin speaks several languages and has extensive knowledge in the fields of economy, politics and art. He has held many high offices during his life. And during his training, he studied at the elite universities of Oxford and Princeton, among others. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Pablo_Kuczynski

We (Klaus, Martina and Jens) went with a certain tension to this meeting with the head of state.  But the palace meeting was partly funny, sometimes serious and definitely extremely cordial.  We spoke in Spanish and German.

"So a hospital such as Diospi Suyana, we would need everywhere in Peru!" said PPK.

In recent weeks, the personal adviser to the President Ing. Máximo San Román, the German Ambassador Jörg Ranau, the Governor of the State of Apurímac, Venegas Wilmer and a close friend of PPK had been working toward making this meeting happen.

Diospi Suyana wishes to the President of the heart a successful term of office, which continues as planned until July 2021.

Here is the link to the two consecutive Diospi Suyana posts of this visit by Klaus (in English);



Friday, 11 August 2017

Remote Monitoring for all Diospi-Suyana Transmission Sites

12 June 2017

This post is a continuation of my blog dated 27 March where I have summarised my proposal for remote monitoring and control for Diospi Suyana transmission sites.  If you want to refer back, here is the link for convenience;

Here below is a progress update on this matter by Dr Klaus John (with a few edits for clarity by me);
We believe the satellite manufacturer ND Satcom has the best satellite modem solution for Diospi Suyana.
Chris Welch of Diospi Suyana had thankfully been doing a lot of engineering homework for our remote sites.  Last Thursday, Dr John visited ND Satcom, and presented the media vision of Diospi Suyana.  CEO Stefan Schröder and Sales Director Bernd Lehr looked with interest at the PowerPoint presentation of Diospi Suyana.  The company ND Satcom from Immenstaad, Germany offers satellite communication equipment including telemetry systems, exactly what Diospi Suyana needs to monitor all its own remote transmitter sites.

Once telemetry is installed in our media centre, devices can be monitored and controlled at these and other future locations where we have our satellite systems installed.  The management of ND Satcom provided a cost-effective solution and we hope to make a decision to purchase it in the next four weeks.
ND Satcom Sales Director Bernd Lehr (left) after the interview with Dr John.
Here is the link to the Diospi Suyana post of this visit by Klaus (in English);



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Echarati - Our 6th FM License

09 June 2017

It is now 84 days until the big feast! (the Diospi Suyana 10th Anniversary).

On Thursday 01 June, Diospi Suyana took possession of a VHF FM frequency in the district Echarati. This area is one of 14 districts in the state of Cusco and is estimated to be home for some 65,000 people. It lies mostly east of the Andes. A surprising number of patients in the Diospi Suyana hospital come from Echarate. The trip by car takes 7-8 hours and takes you through the Urubamba Valley which is rich in Inca ruins and history and is the gateway to famous Machu Picchu.

Our site assessment team comprising Doris Manco, Udo Klemenz and me (as Klaus is in Germany this time), took 3 days out to Echarati.  We found Echarati is a neat and clean little town (unusually so in Perú) and is only about 1,000 meters high with both sides embedded by 2,000 meter mountains, and is in the transition zone to the Amazon rainforest.  This provides a climate which is almost tropical and where citrus fruits, pineapple, banana, peanut bushes, cocoa, coffee, etc. grow in abundance.

Down to business – I soon ruled out all but one hilltop range to obtain the maximum population coverage of the Echarati district with a single FM transmission.  We explored the options but the local guide we employed to take us up to the hilltop in his 4WD would not agree to take us to the highest option.  That was to me clearly a better coverage point as it would service much better into the river valley to the north, reaching a number of towns that would otherwise not be well serviced with our radio program, if at all.  The reasons given were high foliage, fear of snakes and poor road access. 

So without further options available at the time, we located the “el presidento” of the land and returned with him to peg out a lot of land 12m x 12m for our proposed FM tower overlooking the district capital of Echarate.

We visit the first Echarati site option with the land el presidento (second on right) and Udo pegs out the boundaries.
One of a number of GPS readings I took from the hilltop.
There was domestic power nearby, although this is also not the best for reliability and also the authority Electro Sur generally insists on the installation of a dedicated transformer for commercial installations.
Here is the domestic electrical termination pillar – note the precarious wiring typical with many of these!
We return to Curahuasi, but with more work to do on the legalities of the purchase, albeit I am not really comfortable with the selection from an optimal coverage perspective.

Also as of this time, construction on the antenna tower in Puerto Maldonado go ahead very quickly and in a few days the installation of the 50 m high tower to begin. In Casabamba the top of the mountain hill was pulled, pushed the subgrade for the antenna system and started the excavation. In Puno, the geological survey has been prepared and is scheduled to begin on Monday with the first works. As far as the current state of antenna systems.
The four tower foundations are concreted and the perimeter grows at our Puerto Maldonado site.
Progress is quick with our builders in Puerto Maldonado.
Where the excavator is on the top of the hill, the tower will soon rise at our Casabamba site.
The Casabamba site hilltop is removed and levelled for construction.  Here you see the foundation soil sample pit in the foreground.


Monday, 7 August 2017

A Presentation in Front of Four Important Decision Makers

01 June 2017
50 important minutes in the Perú Ministry for Transport and Communications (MTC).
It was more than just a polite gesture when the Deputy Communications Minister Dr. Carlos Valdez Velásquez (center in photo above) listened to a presentation on the history of Diospi Suyana yesterday afternoon.  His advisor Dra. María Rodgríguez Cuba (left), the Director General for the allocation of radio Licenses Luis Catellanos Sánchez (third from the right) and his co-ordinator Dra. Guadalupe Guerra (second from the right) was also present.  A roundtable followed the presentation at which all officials promised to support Dr John.

In its protracted dealings with the public authorities, Diospi Suyana is dependent upon this positive fundamental attitude. Such a high-profile meeting, which lasted almost an hour, was a God provision for our radio and TV work.

Here is the link to a Diospi Suyana post by Klaus (in English);



Saturday, 5 August 2017

Health Tips on Radio Diospi Suyana

30 May 2017

Dr Martina John being interviewed by Jesús Hurtado in the Diospi radio studio.
The program is called "Your Health" (Tu Salud).  Three times a week our radio channel broadcasts the program on prevention and treatment of diseases.  In the picture above Dr Martina John talks on parasites and worm infestations relevant to the Andes regions of Perú.  That said, currently we only reach listeners from the Curahuasi district.  But we hope our five FM towers are in operation at the end of August. That would be the icing on the cake for the tenth anniversary of the missionary hospital.

Here is the link to the original Diospi Suyana post by Klaus (in English);



Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Turning the First Sod of Soil for our Casabamba and Puerto Maldonado FM Sites

26 May 2017

It is 98 days until the 10th Anniversary celebrations at Diospi Suyana.  The countdown is on to getting the Diospi Suyana FM transmission sites finished beforehand if possible.  We will do our best!

Casabamba: a 2.6m deep test pit has been dug for the tower soil to be analysed by the geotech enabling the tower foundations to be designed.  We hope to award the contract for the structural work within the next few days.  The 50m tower for Casabamba has been purchased from our now established supplier ICESE SAC based in Lima.

Puerto Maldonado: the subcontractor has started excavating the large four individual foundations for our 50m high tower, also from our supplier ICESE SAC.  Being the rainforest region, it is hot and humid and there are a lot of biting insects.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Manually excavating soil geotech pit for the 50m tower foundations in Casabamba – it would be unthinkable to do this by hand in affluent places like Australia.
In the Amazon rainforest near the city of Puerto Maldonado, the foundations are being dug for the Diospi Suyana's next 50m high FM broadcast tower.
Here is an AutoCAD drawing plot of our ICESE SAC 50 meter high free standing lattice steel towers for Casabamba and Puerto Maldonado.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Chicharrón Lunch at our House

18 May 2017

The Saturday before last we were blessed by our Perú pastor Tomas and his wife Conci with their family and church friends William and Corina who came and cooked a traditional Peruvian dish of Chicharrón at our house.  This is normally of pork belly and/or rind, deep fried in a wok accompanied by oven baked potatoes.

Our friends arrived and firstly got to work at the edge of our vegetable garden (where the soil is soft) making their traditional outdoor kitchen.  This consisted of two fires – one surrounded by rocks to support the pots and wok for cooking the meat.  The meat was firstly broiled in the pots and then deep oil fried in the wok.

The other fire was made in a dugout with earth formed sides.  After there was a good amount of hot coals, the potatoes were thrown in and the oven was covered over with earth.  After about an hour and a half of the potatoes cooking, the meat was deep fried and voilà!  Serve, say grace and eat.

Following photos describe the rest of the story details;

Broiling the meat in the pots over the first fire – overseen by Conci.
The potato oven was the second fire – here managed by William.
While waiting for the cooking – our Jessica (4) finds a new friend her age to play in the cornfields opposite.
The ladies at work demonstrating their methods to Sandi.
The process of deep frying the pork belly.
The outdoor kitchen in our vegetable garden at the back of our house.
The families in our dining room to partake of the lunch.
The final presentation of our Chicharrón lunch for serving. 

Chris & Sandi