Fischers in Peru

Workshop in Tarucani

26 Apr 2024

The ETE ('Educación Teológica por Extensión') program has gotten off to a bit of a different start this year.  The usual progam organisers/ leaders, Roberto and René, are out of travelling action.  Roberto is slowly recovering from an operation he had a couple of months ago.  I visited him last week to see how he was going, and it's fair to say the poor bloke has had the stuffing knocked out of him (he could really use your prayers).  And René, like the vast majority of Peruvian pastors, isn't paid for his work and so he has to get an income from elsewhere -- in his case, farming the land.  So he's off somewhere in the countryside herding alpacas and all that sort of thing.

So basically that means that I was wondering how yesterday's mid-week workshop at the estancia of Patimayo might go.  I needn't have worried; René had organised people to (i) act as coordinator and (ii) deliver the training material.   I was able to deliver a short study on Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14), how it fits into its context (18:15-25), and what the implications are for all people generally, and also for us as followers of Jesus.

Above: main plaza of Quinsachata, between Tarucani and Patimayo.

Below: yours truly leading the morning study/ devotional on Luke 18.  And the hat?  Well it was about zero deg. C and I happen to value comfort above appearance.

Now, where is Patimayo?  Well, north-east of Tarucani -- which kind of sounds like a frontier town in the 1800's wild west.  But in fact it's a neat, orderly quiet sort of place which even sports a shop for abarrotes (groceries).  Twenty minutes further on you get to Patimayo, which is just a few houses and alpaca corrals.

Above:  Herd of alpacas in Patimayo, just itching to get out the corral gate for a day's feeding.

So why have an ETE workshop in Patimayo?  Because it's a geographically central location for that IEP (Iglésia Evangélica Peruana) parish, and so it means that most students can make it there without too much travel (be that on foot, on motorcycle, or codging rides with local traffic).

Above:  Hermana (sister) Antonieta leading the Thursday afternoon service in the chapel.

Thursday evening was the usual session of traditional music and singing by these Quechua Christians.  Some songs were in Spanish, others in Quechua, but it was all heartfelt and great to participate in.  Different people stood up to bring greetings from their families and churches, to thank all involved in organising the workshop.  So much of this would sound repetitive and even unnecessary to you or me, but it is the Quechua way.  They really are into honouring others in a way that the average Australian certainly isn't.

Below: tuning up for the evening's music session.

As my first highland trip for our second 2-year stint in Peru, the altitude knocked me about a bit, but I was kind of expecting that.  I wasn't the only one; Jimmy (Peruvian pastor mate) was also struggling with a low-grade headache.  But we kept our fluids up (lots of maté, the traditonal herbal tea) and popped a few aspirin which always seem to help.

Below: Jimmy (right) chewing the ministry fat with an IEP pastor.


Below: the unlucky alpaca which got turned into soup for everyone (and guess who got the bones).

On the way back this morning, we caught some stunning views of Laguna Salinas.  It's now full of water after the summer rains, and has heaps of flamingos wading around.  The Peruvian Andes really are spectacular; every ridge you come over, every valley you drive down, every river you cross, every town or settlement you come to... just wonderful.  (Hint: if you want to see any of the images in these blog posts in more detail, just right-click and select 'Open image in new tab' or the equivalent.)

Above: crossing over from Laguna Salinas to the valley where Tarucani and Patimayo are.

Below:  Looking east across Laguna Salinas to the active volcano Ubinas.