Radio in Peru

Easing carefully into the passenger seat of the rickety pickup truck, I’m handed a seat belt, “place it across your chest.” I do this, even though there is no way to fasten it. I quickly get it: it’s for show, so we don’t get stopped and get a ticket from the police. After an hour, we arrive at Las Lomas de Carabayllo, the poorest outlying community of Lima, Peru. Some stench. Along the hilly, dessert roads, there are piles and also huge holes of garbage.
They’re picking at it, 6, 7, 8-year old boys and girls. Completely dirty, they wave at me as I look. Are children eternally positive? They will die soon, lead poisoning.
Atop the hill we stop and inside a 5’X 7″ brick box are 6 teenagers waiting for me and my companion, Nelson Fiegueroa, Director of “Día del Pueblo,” a 30-year old media producton group. They are all smiles, the directors and creators of a 25-watt radio station, 89.3 FM. For two hours every day , 7-9 PM, they transmit interviews, local news, in-depth analysis of health issues, and a closing “romance notes.” Adrian Milla, 16, learned how to work the audio mixer and the computer and is at the controls– he continually dances rhythmically with the music ins and outs that he blends into the show. Ivo Mori and Liz Leon interview me in the tiny announce booth. They really put themselves into this with verve and passion. They switch speaking back and forth, both charming and quirky. There is nothing here of the splash artificiality of radio talk. I can see why the community tunes in.
I tell them that I wish I could share their example more widely in the US, because they are setting examples for others who could really benefit by knowing what their radio is doing. They call their radio station, “Radio Lomas, Breaking Boundaries.”
I have to stop writing now. These teens, living gracefully, forcefully….are too much revelation of God, and there is not enough damnation of our human political ane economic structures that have condemned them to such a hellish place.
AM

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