When I arrived at this mission of Quellouno, this text from Luke remained engraved in me and every day that I look around and see the mountains of this place, it moves me and motivates me to be a companion on the way together with Mary. We Carmelite Missionaries have been in this beautiful valley for more than 25 years.
I am Celia Beatriz Altamirano Díaz, Carmelite Missionary, I am 43 years old, the daughter of immigrants from Apurimac, living in a district in the southern cone of Lima. I consider this aspect to be important in my missionary vocation, because since I was a child this reality made me alert to see and feel what was happening around me, especially because of what I experienced during the period of terrorism or Internal Armed Conflict in Peru (1980-2000). In the midst of this context, I had the opportunity to live three years of my childhood in the land of my parents and it was enough time to understand Quechua, which became impregnated in me as part of my identity and my impulse to seek the visibility of the poorest and those who are not understood in their native language. Today, for me, Quechua is a valuable instrument of communication and cultural rapprochement.
Mission through the mountains
My missionary community of Quellouno is made up of three sisters: Ana María, Rosa and Isabel. The district is located in the province of La Convención, Department of Cusco.
Since I arrived in 2014, I have been slowly getting to know this reality with its lively vegetation and abundant water, visible in the beautiful waterfalls that adorn the mountains and rivers, where the waters of the mountains converge.
The evangelising work in this place is basically to be companions on the way to these villages. We visit the Christian communities, approximately 92, as a team with the two priests of the parish. We motivate the experience of faith and Christian commitment, hand in hand with the teachers of primary and secondary educational institutions, with whom we try to form them in values and preparation for the sacraments of initiation.
In terms of health, we have found that the health policy excludes vulnerable populations, due to the bureaucratic system, which is why we provide basic care from a parish first-aid post, mostly to the elderly Quechua-speaking population.
As a response to social risks and the protection of adolescents, especially women, as well as our contribution to education, we have a "Casa de Acogida" for secondary school students, a project that takes in children of limited economic resources and from populations far from the capital of the district.
MISSIONARY CHALLENGE AND COMMITMENT
The Church's mission is silent, but respected and known by the people. It can be said that there is credibility and in many moments of social conflict due to the demands of the population on agrarian issues, for being affected by the route to the gas extraction zone (Camisea) or for corruption of the authorities, as a community of Carmelite Missionaries, we are
as a reference point for support, hope and mediation. We are for the people like the "mother" to whom the children turn for advice, comfort and protection.
Being in this mission, in the Amazonian territory, today more than ever means to me a delicate and complex challenge of evangelising presence. With the invitation of Pope Francis' "Laudato si", we cannot ignore the reality of pain in our lands due to deforestation, water pollution... It is an urgent call to "take care of our common home" and therefore to defend life.