Sometimes things just work out. Probably not all that often in first—time cross-cultural world, but sometimes. A couple of years ago, we surveyed the city in order to create a list of possible target areas. We had a pretty good tour guide, so we felt good about our first impressions.
Of course, we always knew that we would have to do more in-depth investigation before making a decision. Yet, for the purposes of creating a strategy, we went ahead and picked a scenario. We wanted an area of the city that would be livable for us but near to areas with much greater needs. Arequipa is a pretty compact city, and there are lots of areas with great needs, so on one hand it was not that tough to find what we were looking for. We went with one of the most promising options available, a combination of neighborhoods in a geographically isolated area of the city. Miraflores has some nice, modest residential areas, and Alto Selva Alegre is a little worse off. They are separated by a small canyon (marked in brown on the map), but together they form a peninsula of urbanization. All around the peninsula are more areas that have been “invaded” by poor settlers who have proceeded to work toward developing their plots. These are the people we hope to serve with developmental ministry, and north of ASA is Pampas de Polanco, a particular neighborhood that we are interested in.
So, to make a long story short, despite our strategy scenario being totally hypothetical, our investigation of the city has led us to select Miraflores for our house hunt, ASA for our office location, and the outlying areas for our developmental ministry. The red dot beneath “ASA” on the labeled map indicates where our office will be located. It is a great central location for the area, and we are thankful to God for the find. We have also found a team vehicle, which will be a great help to us (once we get our paperwork done!). El Instituto Cristiano de Desarrollo Urbano (The Christian Urban Development Institute) is almost ready for launch! Labeling our developmental work with this identity gives us more credibility among Peruvians, who have a generally high regard for NGOs.
After the new year we will set up our office, begin preparing for the felt-needs and demographic research projects that we will undertake in these areas, and look for houses in Miraflores. Please remember us and the many thousands who live in Arequipa in prayer.