In a village community hall
If everything goes according to plan the big aerial tower above the city of Andahuaylas will be built. The plot of land has been purchased and the necessary equipment is bought and paid for. But there was one final hurdle, which we hoped to cross yesterday in style.
“We do not want an aerial tower on this mountain!” said the Campesinos, who live half a mile away from the site. Ironically six towers have been transmitting from this ideal location for years. Theoretically the villagers have no say in the matter. They have no rights over this mountain and the scientifically-proven radiation risk of a FM-aerial at that distance is zero.
At 10 a.m. we set out towards the aerial tower’s site: it’s a spectacular journey over high mountain passes and through deep valleys. Chris Welch, the expert from Australia, is impressed and immediately confirms the site’s ideal location. We reach the community hall at 5 p.m. The mayor has invited the farmers to a hearing, but no one is there! Why? Is it due to the light drizzle or the population’s disinterestedness?
At 6 p.m. 14 Quechuas are present: “We do not want a further aerial tower, full stop!” says one. Will the meeting take place? Another hour later the crowd has swelled to 50 Campesinos. The room is dark, an energy-saving lamp hangs from the ceiling and a plastic tarpaulin tries to keep as much rain out as possible.
Chris and I had retreated into a corner and prayed for God’s blessing. Shortly afterwards we wondered why we did not experience his blessing: aggressive and hostiles comments flew from the farmers’ mouths hitting us from all sides: “They can go straight back home,” barked one Quechua, “we want neither the aerial nor this meeting.” I wondered if I would have to put away my laptop and beamer immediately and realise that I had wasted the past nine hours.
“The mayor invited us and that is why we have travelled from distant Curahuasi.” My voice had a distinct pleading undercurrent. “True,” a farmer replied, “and therefore it is only polite that we listen to what you have to say!”
The mayor nodded to me and I embarked on the founding-story of a hospital, which cannot be explained logically. We saw God work wonders and turn events in the most amazing ways. No one spoke during my hour-long presentation. The pictures were working in the hearts and minds of the listeners. A hospital, a school and a media centre for the Quechua Indians, the people Diospi Suyana wants to help and serve first and foremost, with no hidden agenda.
After the presentation the discussion starts. In turn each farmer thanks us and stresses that he has nothing, absolutely nothing, against the aerial tower. The village’s president says: “We should actually convene again to give our written consent, but the people from Diospi Suyana can start building the tower right away.”
“Five years ago Doctor Oliver Engelhard treated my wife brilliantly in this hospital!”, reports one thankful Quechua-Indian. Others tell similar stories – God has heard our prayers and has resolved this problem: praise Him!
Shortly after 8 p.m. we begin our 230km-long homeward journey. From one bend to the next, through thick fog and pelting rain, always on the lookout for boulders which might have slipped onto the road. We reach Curahuasi shortly after midnight, totally exhausted, but extremely thankful. /KDJ