This past weekend I spent 3 days and 2 nights in the village community of Tsoroja. I was helping my friend and fellow Moody grad Dan May to install a satellite dish in the community where he works with the Pioneer Mission organization.
On friday morning we met at the SAMAIR hanger and flew the hour and twenty minutes down to Tsoroja. Dan recieved a little flying lesson about straight and level flight, turns, and climbs and descents. Just 50 more hours and he can get his pilot license. Arriving at the community, we quickly got to work digging holes for posts. Tsoroja is a very rocky place so we had to try a number of holes and remove many rocks before we had two 3 foot holes for our posts. The wood we used is very hard so holes must be pre-drilled before nailing. We did not have a drill so I used a piece of wood, vice grips, and a drill bit to "make my own drill". Shortly after that the other missionary in the village came by with his cordless drill! What a blessing! By the end of the first day the platform was built.
On day two we installed the dish and Dan began to run through the setup procedure. I went off the end of the airstrip with an axe and machete to chop down some treas and bushes that had grown up at the end of the airstrip. The taller they got the less runway we could use. After three hours I was COMPLETELY wet, my boots even had standing water inside of them! Yuck. At lunch time we had a nice swim in the very cool rocky mountain river stream! Dan continued to fight with the setup procedures for the internet and I took a nap.
On the final day I flew back to Cashibo while Dan stayed on for another three days trying to get the system on line. However despited his best efforts, he was not able to complete the task. So, like many things in Peru, it will just have to wait.
For me, it was a good experience to be in the community and see how the missionaries, who we fly for, live and work. I got to kill a few bats inside of their house yet ate much better food than I have in Cashibo thanks to the Swift family. I appreciate the work the missionaries do and being a part of this work project makes me hold them in even higher regard.