Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Diospi Suyana 10th Anniversary Celebration

31 August 2017

The Diospi Suyana 10th anniversary finally arrived.  Although the anniversary was in fact celebrated with many events over a whole week both before and after the official day of Thursday 31 August.

Here is my account of how Thursday unfolded.

On our big anniversary day, Sandi was unfortunately sick and chose to stay at home with the three little kids.  It didn’t help that the highway between our house and Diospi Suyana hospital was blocked unpredictably for most of the day from before 7:30am to after 6:00pm for roadworks!  So I took our five eldest kids and narrowly made it through the highway roadblocks (including protestors – refer to comments later) from our house to drop our kids off at the Diospi Suyana Colegio to the sound of many helicopters in the sky.  As I was an official photographer for the event, I quickly drove up to Diospi Suyana to photograph what I later realised were trial landings on the Diospi Suyana heliport for the benefit of the pilots.  But we were confronted with hundreds of riot police in full gear.  My eldest son Jake was with me and we finally got access to Diospi Suyana.

There were three ministerial helicopters – the Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, (better known simply as PPK) finally landed at 10:20am in the third helicopter, with his other dignitaries and his media team arriving in the first two.  He was warmly welcomed by the Drs Klaus and Martina John, Dr Jens Haßfeld, as well as the governor of the state and the Curahuasi mayor.  PPK with his team were taken on a half hour tour of the hospital showing the newly completed extensions. 

At one stage this included a display of paintings centre administration to the hospital, where Klaus referred to one of the paintings depicting Christ’s miracle feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes. Klaus remarked "Mr President, this is the story of Diospi Suyana.  We had no money, no equipment and no employees. But God has made it happen from the very little into something big!"

The group of dignitaries walked slowly and chatted before arriving at the full amphitheatre to be met by an enthusiastic audience of about 4,000 people and poignant worship music from the stage.  All the Diospi-Suyana Colegio students had walked to the auditorium and then marched in preceded by their banner.  After this we sang the Peruvian national anthem. Then a large number of participants also sang the projected text of the German anthem that followed.

Peru has thousands of public and private initiatives. Therefore, the participation of the President in the tenth anniversary in the Diospi Suyana was an amazing honour.

It was a sunny day with smiling faces everywhere.  A cheerful President, three ministers, a deputy minister and dignitaries from all spheres of society.  The festival lasted two and a half hours and it went without any incidents.  It was estimated that four thousand guests and a national television audience witnessed the fruit of our trust in God as the first hour with the president went live on Perú TV to all 25 states of Perú.  The TV report is of course in Spanish, but the panning shots show beautiful sequences from the crowded amphitheatre. Here is the YouTube post of the coverage;

We will never know how many tens of thousands of Peruvians watched the presentation on the hospital of faith in their living rooms Dr Martina said.  She was referring to our reference to the cross of Christ and the empty grave as the basis of our work here at Diospi Suyana.

Before the ministerial visitors returned to their helicopters to make their return travel to Lima, the minister of Transport and Communications (MTC) Martín Vizcarra, visited the Diospi Suyana Centro de Medios.  I was privileged to meet him and be part of some group photos.

Behind the scenes there was much happening as the celebrations unfolded.  For Peru August 2017 was a tumultuous political time.  For two months the teachers had been on strike with some 8 million students affected.  In Lima militant educators tried to forcibly break into the parliament building which resulted in bloodshed and casualties.  The mood in the country was becoming increasingly explosive.  To top this off, the public doctors of Peru also began an indefinite strike and finally the judiciary also refused to work.

Any of these protesting groups if they were to have gained access to Diospi Suyana on the anniversary, could have wreaked havoc and caused a stoppage to the celebrations.  This was more likely given the visit of the Peru president with the accompanied national media focus.  If the risk was deemed too high, PPK would have cancelled his visit and this could be a last moment decision.

Prior to the event, Diospi management met with the district police and also the presidential forces from the palace in Lima who are familiar with these occurrences in Perú.  A plan was agreed upon involving a large police presence of 550 on the day with three defensive rings surrounding the hospital. 

This was needed, as there was much protesting on the day with road blocks, smoke and tear gas in the air and much chanting and yelling from gatherings in the surrounds to the hospital.  We prayed as the result was in God’s hands from this point.  We had faith that God is in control and accordingly we saw his hand at work to unfold a most amazing day. 

Romans 8:28 (NLV) We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.

Following here is a photo montage of the day’s highlights;
A practice landing of the presidential helicopter on the Diospi Suyana heliport about 3 hours before the real thing.
An assembly of riot squad police in the front gate carpark of Diospi Suyana (part of the 550 protecting the compound that day).
Blocking the road to the hospital from the striking protestors.
Udo’s model broadcast towers on display in the auditorium, along with the Diospi Suyana picture (centre) to be presented to the president.
Lunch for Diospi Suyana staff was unloaded in preparation before celebrations got underway.
The Perú national broadcasters move in and setup their equipment outside the Centro de Medios.
The “Eagle has landed” moment – the president PPK touches down at 10:20am and is being greeted by Drs Klaus and Martina John with Dr Jens Haßfeld of Diospi Suyana.
During the tour through the hospital, Klaus refers PPK to the painting of the 5 loaves and fishes.
Group photo with the hospital nurses. To the left of the president is the minister for health Dr Patricia Garcia.
Klaus in his element explaining as much as possible about the hospital to PPK.
Then they head out the hospital back door to the auditorium.
Diospi Suyana Colegio (including our Sam, Isaac, Sarah and Georgia) march into the auditorium in view of our presidential visitors.
The Peruvian and German anthems were sung to kick off the formalities.
Firstly Klaus addresses the audience.
And of course PPK follows with his address.
It was a full house on the day – approximately 4,000 in attendance.
Gifts were exchanged including a picture of Diospi Suyana facility for PPK and then a moment for the group photo before the president departs to attend to his busy schedule.
Some final farewells were said to the president before his quick departure.
And as quickly as he arrived – PPK was off again into the blue yonder.
Back in the auditorium the show went on.  The opening ribbons were cut for each new broadcast tower by a dignitary for the respective province.
More awards were made now with local government officials.
The Colegio students performed Peruvian dance.
Udo and Barbara Klemenz were honoured for their amazing service to Diospi Suyana.  This was their retirement moment – and they will be very much missed!
Then a brief meeting and photo in our TV studio with Perú minister for Transport and Communications in the Centro de Medios – centre in the white shirt and blue vest with Klaus John to the left and Doris Manco to the right in light blue.

 And finally a few family photos taken on the day:
Our kids on the day in their Diospi Suyana Colegio uniform – left to right is: Sam, Georgia, Sarah and Isaac.
And Jake was there helping out in the Media Centre for the day.
And me with fellow missionary friend and accomplished musician Almond from the UK, now living in Arequipa.  Almond also helped with some of the worship during the anniversary. 


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Our Curahuasi Tx Site Relocation to Tinyayoc

25 August 2017

The last thing I need to complete before the Diospi Suyana 10th anniversary was the relocation of the FM and TV transmission system from the hospital site and guyed mast (an interim solution with marginal coverage), to our now completed “Tinyayoc” site on the other side of the town – a distance of 1.6km. 

Tinyayoc is positioned on a rise up to Capitán Rumi – a steep hill on the northern side of Curahuasi and which importantly enjoys a clear line of sight to all of the town and also the valleys extending to the east and west.  This will capture most of the surrounding districts with good FM and TV broadcast coverage.

I worked with our Lima based supplier, Intelect to undertake this task.  It involved removing antennas and cables from the hospital site guyed mast, installing my new studio to transmitter microwave link (STL) and reinstalling all the transmitter equipment at the new site.  We also had to complete site security (razor wire and steel grills to be fitted) and the electrical distribution within our compound. 

The project took us a week and were long days for us all.  We had just one rigger from Intelect to undertake most of the tower work with a bit of welcomed help from me.  And we had to fabricate antenna mounting steelwork pretty much on the fly, with the help of the Diospi Suyana maintenance workshop.  Our Dutch missionary Oebele de Haan who heads up the Diospi Maintenance Department (and English speaking), was an amazing help with this and we could not have met our schedule target without him – thanks Oebele!

Here are some photos of the works.
A successful initial test of my TCP/IP program link at the new Tinyayoc transmitter site.
The lowering of one of 4 FM antenna elements from the hospital site guyed mast to the ground.
Our TV antenna panels (foreground) and FM antennas (background) after lowering to the ground.
Transporting our antenna systems in the Diospi Suyana “Unimog” 4x4 to the new Tinyayoc site.
Arranging the relocated antennas and cables for install at our new site.
The Intelect rigger at work installing the antenna mounting pole on the new tower.
Our transmitter compound at the end of a long day – the razor wire install was half finished at this stage.
Hauling up another TV antenna panel to the top of the tower.
My view down standing on top of the tower with all antennas now mounted.
A tired but satisfied customer (me) with the transmitter equipment back on the air.  Note this indoor transmitter equipment is still temporarily installed as we await the equipment rack in due course.
The completed Curahuasi Tinyayoc site tower with FM and TV antennas installed. 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Udo Klemenz is a Very Crafty Man!

08 August 2017

Here is a post by Dr Klaus John of which I have made some English edits for clarity.

Udo at work in his office.  This task requires much patience!
At the Diospi Suyana 10th Anniversary on 31 August, we will dedicate not only the hospital expansion and orthopaedic workshop, but also our next five radio towers.  Of course, the attendees will not see these remote sites of Puno, Puerto Maldonado, Andahuaylas, Casabamba or even Curahuasi to cut red ribbons on the hilltops.  Nevertheless, all those present should know about the new Diospi Suyana infrastructure at these sites. 

Therefore civil engineer Udo Klemenz is working on five 1:75 scale models of each site. These displays are to be shown in the presence of all during the big celebrations.

The picture above suggests that not everyone would be given to this “Sisyphean task” (the Greek mythical king of Ephyra who was punished by rolling a large rock boulder up a hill only to see it roll down again and the cycle repeats endlessly).  Udo’s love of craft puts in the detailed effort.  Each of the countless sticks has its place, even down to the last paintbrush stroke. With the same dedication Udo, incidentally, also built the hospital, the dental clinic, the children's home, the school and the media centre.

The antenna tower in Puno is assembled, the completion of the entire site is being worked on.  At the same time, with the construction of the antenna towers finished in Curahuasi, Andahuaylas, Casabamba and Puerto Maldonado Udo has likewise now finished his 1:75 scale models.

Udo’s 1:75 scale models of the first 5 Diospi Suyana broadcast facilities – from left to right is: Puno, Puerto Maldonado, Casabamba, Curahuasi and Andahuaylas.
Udo’s 1:75 scale models compound and shelter (in fact each roof is removed to access a 9V battery and flasher PCB to power a red flashing LED at the top of each tower!).
In Puno, the completed 50 metre FM tower.
Here is a view from top of the Puno tower looking down.


Monday, 2 October 2017

A Peruvian Wedding

05 August 2017

In Perú many people don’t marry as it is expensive and they are just too poor to meet the cultural expectations of the ceremony.  This also gives rise to the problem of un-commitment in a relationship and there are many mixed families as a result.  But when these Peruvian’s become Christians, this invariably changes as there is a realisation from God’s Word (the bible) that they must marry.

This happened in our church, as a lovely couple William and Karina (with their daughter of 5 years) decide to get married.  In fact this couple were the ones who came to our house with our Perú pastors and their family just a three months before, and introduced us to the Peruvian Chicharrón meal with lunch at our house on 18 May (see my previous blog post if you missed that http://welchesinperu.blogspot.com.br/2017/08/a-chicharron-lunch-at-our-house.html).

Following is a photo montage of the wedding with comments on each.  There were obvious similarities, but also some differences to a classic Australian wedding which were really nice for us to experience.

Guests arrive at the wedding in all modes of transport – in the foreground a couple come in formal dress on a motorbike with the lady in “side saddle” (and no helmets which is common in Curahuasi!).  Our family are further down the road except I was stopped with the car by the construction sand pile across the road (also common in Curahuasi). 

A local open sports stadium was hired for the ceremony which was also where they have the reception.
Here are our family happily waiting – the start was delayed by about 1 hour (but this can happen in Australia too I know!)
Motocross bikes were the theme and an array of these were set either side of the isle.  Here the groomsman William makes some last minute repairs whilst waiting for his bride to arrive.
And whilst waiting the music played on… where here our Jessica (3) just can’t help herself but to launch into dance (a natural budding ballerina).
William – the man of the day.
Sandi with Stacey (who woke in time for the bride to arrive ☺).
The bride arrives and the bridal party enters. Differences to the normal Australian wedding – they dance all the way down the isle – twisting and turning, swapping sides.  The bridesmaids hold a bible each.
The ceremony is of course our Perú pastor Tomas (motocross bike ready for a quick escape! 😉)).
After the ceremony, the party accolades the newlyweds with a bible on one side and a rose on the other.
Now the newlyweds really do make an exit on William’s motocross bike – off to take photos on the hilltop overlooking Curahuasi.
Pastor Tomas “at the helm”.
A custom was to take group shots in a held photo frame.  Albeit our family did not quite fit (and Jake and Jessica were to be found elsewhere in that moment, as the whole process took some time to cycle through all the guests).
The bridesmaids and groomsmen.
The newlyweds return from photos and walk down the isle together.
Time for a fun bridal party photo (fortunately William left his helmet off 😉).
One of the last stages was the gift giving – here a point of difference is that all the guests personally present their gifts to the bride and groom.  This was a lovely social process we thought, as it meant every guest got a word with the couple of the moment.
This was followed by a served dinner of meat and potatoes served on paper plates.  Hands only to eat this!  It was lovely food and not a scrap was left as everyone seemed to bring a doggy bag for the occasion.

The ceremony officially started at 2pm and finished at about 6:30pm.  It was such a lovely day with many twists of difference to Australian ceremonies which we appreciated.