Thursday, September 28, 2006

Life in Bandung...

Today was a half day of school for the kids due to parent-teacher conferences. All is going well with the kids in school. Aidan has had the most adjusting to do, but he is coming along nicely. Because we had so much time in the afternoon we decided to take the kids to Jump’n Gymn at the mall. So we rode (lurched)on an angkot down the hill. When we got there we went through the usual process. You have to walk through security to get to the mall and usually they run a metal detector over any bags you are carrying. Today they didn’t ask to do it, I guess they figured that a buleh family with 5 kids was pretty harmless. While we walked to the mall some people video taped us. I have to say that we kind of live a little like celebrities here. People are always watching what we are doing and pointing and looking at us or videoing us… The kids had fun at the Jump’n Gymn and Mikah got to paint a statue of a girl. While the kids were there we have to confess that we actually went to (gasp) Starbucks. They actually have Starbucks here! It’s really quite a nice one too and everyone who works there is required to speak English, but just to practice, I placed our order in Indonesian.
The photo is of Ibu Misyah. She is our cook. Ibu Misyah has made a pilgramage to Mecca and is therefore very highly esteemed in the community. She doesn't actually have to work (apparently) because of this. But she would be bored otherwise as she only has two older daughters, so she works. Her husband died 7 years ago in an accident in Surabaya. Ibu Mysiah is a very good cook and we love her.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Week two of school...

Well we’re a few days into Ramadan now. Ramadan lasts for an entire month and ends with Idul Fitri which is Oct 24th-25th (I think). That’s when the people can stop fasting and they have big celebrations and eat lots of food. My helpers have been going home pretty tired after a regular day of work and no food or water. I can’t imagine… I’m trying to let them go home a bit early each day. Today my cook apologized as she didn’t know whether or not the food tasted good as she couldn’t test it while cooking. I feel bad for her that she makes this food and then can’t even eat herself. The other Ibu was hoping that she would lose the weight that she has gained since last Ramadan…
School is going well for us. It is quite exhausting I must say. This week we are separated into smaller groups and we go from classroom to classroom every 20 minutes or so to do different things. We do fluency drills (repeating the same lines over and over…) grammer lessons, vocab lessons and text drills. We start out the day in a bigger group and sing a song in Indonesian. Everyone here can sing so well and many play the guitar. By the time we go home my head is usually hurting. It is difficult to find the time and energy after lunch to go out and talk with people. Yesterday I went to Santosa International Hospital to talk with a pediatrician about Brynne. She has chicken pox so I couldn’t take her with. He was very nice and spoke pretty good English. The hospital is quite new and when we arrived by taxi there was someone whose job it is to open the car doors for patrons. I wondered if we were at a hotel and not a hospital. It is a beautiful modern building and most of the doctors are foreign trained. Anyways, he prescribed an ointment for Brynnies bum and it seems to be helping a lot.
Today one of our fellow MAF’ers has been hospitalized with Typhus. A reminder to us to be incredibly diligent with our hygiene and use of tap water. I still find it a bit hard to remember that the tap water has the potential to make us very sick. It is well water so it is probably not as bad as the city water, but I’d rather not use myself as a guinea pig… It doesn’t look bad at all, it is clear and smells fine. But we have to make sure that all dishes are completely dry before using them and we don’t rinse with tap water after brushing our teeth. We also don’t wash fruits and vegetables with tap water. They are first soaked in a pk solution and then rinsed with bottled water. Needless to say we go through bottled water like crazy… I’m just thankful it’s available and we don’t have to boil all drinking water…

This photo is of Marc "working" with the neighbour man and his grandson...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Info...

I've got a bit more info about Ramadan. Today we talked with the mother and daughter who live beside us. I forgot about them fasting and offered them some cake... Anyways, it was a good way for us to ask some questions about it. They start fasting at Ramadan at age 7. I think this is also the age they start disciplining children at. When fasting you may not eat, drink, or smoke anything between 4am and 6pm. (I feel bad for the pregnant daughter living next to us) At 2 am someone gets hold of the microphone at the mosque and wakes everyone up to let them know that it's time for their last meal before fasting again. (We slept through that whole thing this morning, apparently people were banging drums and everything...) Then after the 6pm call to prayer, people can eat again. I think they were counting down the minutes next door...

The completely unrelated photo on the left is of Mikah and her good friend Hannah who is from Finland...

Happy Birthday Brynnie!

Yesterday was our “Baby’s” first birthday. (Dad Moesker’s b-day too-happy birthday Dad!) We decided to have cake and sing to her on Friday so that our pembantu’s could be there too without having to make a special trip. One of them made a beautiful black forest cake for Brynne. Which Brynne enjoyed playing with and eating a little. She also received a little red dress (see photo) from the one Ibu and a little blue jacket from the other one.
On Saturday we went swimming with a young couple from church. Their names are David and Santi and they have been dating for about 9 months. We drove with them and it took about half an hour to get there because of Saturday traffic and because of the interesting road system here which at times make you have to take ridiculously circuitous routes to get places. Anyways, we get there and realize that this is the pool we can see from the roof of our house! It looks like it would take just a few minutes to walk there. But that isn’t the case because you can’t get in from the back you have to walk around up to the road and go to the front. Anyways, the kids had a great time. Of course we were a bit like zoo animals again. Most women here don’t wear swimsuits like in North America. Some women swim fully clothed. The men just wear swimsuits like back home. After swimming David and Santi took us to Bandung Hyper Market. There, there is a large food court with many different kinds of food. There was also Karl’s Burgers where you can order a “cow burger”. As Muslims don’t eat pork, they have to call hamburgers something that sounds a little less pork like. It was a very nice evening out.
Today is the first day of Ramadan. During Ramadan muslims may only eat at certain times of the day and fast for the rest. The idea is that they are withholding something that they want. It is an exercise in self-discipline. So early this morning the special prayers rang out to announce the beginning of Ramadan. I slept through the whole thing, but I don’t think that Hugo did despite using ear plugs… Yes, it’s that loud for us…

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Today our new neighbours had a house blessing party/ceremony. They laid out blankets in the living room, other room (we’re not sure what it is for) and outside in the new “courtyard” that was just completed this week. The men sat outside and the women remained inside. Everyone was sitting or kneeling and then they recited and chanted/sang. During their chanting/singing, the regular call to pray went on so there was quite the cacophony going on here. This went on for a while and then when they were done the men proceeded to the food table and got a plate of food. When they were all done, the women went ahead. Most of the men were wearing sarongs, tunic type shirts and special hats that denote them as muslim. The women were wearing traditional dress and had head coverings on. Later Hugo ventured over there to talk with them, but by then most of the men had already left and the women were busy cleaning up so he got to talk with the kids. The women did ask him how much we were paying to rent our house. We don’t actually know, which they thought was rather strange… It’s probably around or just over two million a month.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Today we decided to go with another family to visit a pediatrician. Brynne is due for her one year shots and as our language is pretty basic right now, so I thought it would be good to take the opportunity to go with someone whose language is much better. So the four of us, yes Hugo, myself, Marc and Brynne, hopped (well, not quite hopped) on the motorbike and off we went. I had Brynne in the sling on my hip. It is always an adventure whenever you ride the bike into town here. The traffic is insane and while there is a line sometimes in the middle of the road, that doesn’t mean that you actually stay within that line. The middle of the road is a bit of a no-man’s zone. There are also roads here that suddenly turn into one way streets and you need to turn off before it does. Umm, we’ve figured out that you just need to know which ones do that as they are extremely poorly marked. Anyways, we made it to the hospital (me with really white knuckles thanks to the guy who decided to cross a four lane road with his cart right in front of us…) safely only to find out that the doctor wasn’t in today and we could come back tomorrow… I think I will take a taxi next time. It will take a lot longer, but it will be less stressful… Brynne felt none of this and thought it was great fun to ride on the bike. She stuck her hand out and was feeling the wind and waving to people and then playing with the strap of my helmet. If only it were so easy for us grownups to trust so completely. We always want to have some control ourselves. But we just need to trust in God’s direction and know that he has a plan for us. There are times when things happen and we don’t know why, but we just need to trust that there is a purpose for everything. Today a young family in our church lost their baby just before birth. We pray that God will give you the strength you need to continue on and raise the three children that you have on this earth Dave and Leona. Know that your little girl is where we are all looking forward to going.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


When you live in a country such as we do there are times when things happen that cause you to question what you previously believed to be true or thought you believed to be true. This past weekend there was a young man, who lives down below us, who was possessed by a demon. People here believe that trees have spirits and when you cut them down they go into a person. Three days before the event, a tree was cut down in our area. Apparently the young man ran out of his home asking where his home was and why did they cut it down without asking for permission first. He went bezerk and broke his fish aquarium, which was how he earned money, and was screaming and uttering guttural sounds that those who witnessed it had never heard a human make before. It took 7 grown men to hold him down and all the while they were beating him and calling out to their god to remove the demon from him. For those that witnessed the event it was very disturbing. An American woman who has lived here for 2.5 years has seen this happen a number of times. She said that the person will have no recollection of the event afterwards and they will just go on with life as before. We did not personally see this, but a few other MAF’ers did. We’re not really sure what to think about it all.
Today we completed day two of our language training. Our class is fairly large, 16 people, and consists of folks from South Korea, America, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Germany, Finland, Canada (me), and Holland (Hugo). So we are quite the diverse group. Everyday we have to introduce ourselves and say where we are from, if we are married, if so, how many children we have and where we live. We will do this everyday of the 20 days we will be in Unit 1. That way by the time we are done, we can say it in our sleep. We do a lot of repeating and mimicking in order to get the sounds right and imprint the words in our brains. Each day we are supposed to talk with 10 people and practice what we have learned that day. We have two teachers, one of whom happens to be the only Papua in the entire school, and they are very good at their job. They have an enthusiasm about them that makes the learning kind of fun. They are very expressive and like to sing… so we start out our days by singing children’s songs… complete with actions…

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Selamat Hari Minggu!!

So Friday we had our orientation to IMLAC, the language school we will be attending. It is conveniently located next to the school that the kids go to. We are very thankful that we already have some language as there were times when only Indonesian was being spoken. There were a number of people at the orientation who knew no Indonesian whatsoever. Let’s just say that we felt sorry for them.
I mentioned last time that Indonesians wear uniforms to school. Our kids do not have school uniforms, but they do have special clothes for PE and as they are in the younger grades they just wear their PE uniforms to school on the days that they have PE. They also have a special shirt that they wear on Fridays. The school colours are blue and grey and the sports team name is the BAIS Eagles. You can check out the school at
Yesterday we decided to go swimming. There is a pool nearby, but Hugo went there beforehand to make sure it was open and wouldn’t you know it, it was closed for some special event. So we looked up another pool and called up a guy named Pak Alpin to see if he could bring us. Pak Alpin, who looks like an Indonesian Phil Collins, is an angkot driver who loves to do charters for buleh’s (white people). Of course he does, he makes more money bringing us somewhere and waiting and then bringing us home than he would if he drove his route up and down the hill all day. Anyways, he was actually on the other end of town and so we were about to call a taxi, when he called back and in Indonesian style, had done some rearranging and was now waiting for us at the top of our gong (narrow pathways between houses used to go to the top of the hill instead of going the long way on the road.) So we went with him. On the way he was stopped by the police because he was driving off his route. As I was sitting in the front, I noticed that when he got his paperwork out he slipped 10,000 rupiahs into the folder with the papers. A little bribe. Well it worked like a charm and we were off in a jiff. It was a bit of a drive there but it was quite nice. There was a little pool for kids and then a big deeper pool that was covered. It was a nice relaxing time.
This morning we went to church again. As Sundays is the day they have a huge market (pasar) somewhere downtown, there are tons of angkots lined up at the top of the hill waiting to fill up. Then there are tons of people going up the hill for whatever reason. Sometimes we have a hard time finding an angkot who will go down the hill for us right away. They always want us to charter them which costs us waaaay more money. This morning we did find one and we hopped on. And then more people hopped on. We lurched our way down and then got stuck in a massive traffic jam due to a broken down angkot in the middle of the road. Thankfully some guys decided that maybe it would be a good idea to move it out of the way. Thank-you! Then we could move again and more people hopped on. There were 18 of us on board and then the driver! On the way down the hill the driver kept stopping for people who were waiting for an angkot, all the while dollar signs were dancing in his head, and every time we said,”NO! Tidak!” We probably could have squished more people in if some sat on the floor…. Anyways, we made it to our stop and there was a great reshuffling of bodies, and a sigh of relief, as we departed the angkot. We had a very good sermon about the things that the modern Christian family has to deal with and how they should be as a Christian family to counteract the negative effects of high-tech lifestyle, post modernism and hedonism. Then, thankfully, two of the guys from church brought us home so we didn’t need to use an angkot again.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


So today we went for our evaluation. Even though we knew what they were asking and could answer the questions they asked they still said that we need to start in unit one as our grammar needs some work. At least we have a good basis from which to start and grow on.
We are getting new neighbours soon and there have been four guys working away in the courtyard beside our house. Unfortunately they have decided to make a large enclosed area in front of their house thereby taking away about 1/4th of Marc’s biking space. It’s quite the fancy metal fence they have installed. They use baskets which they carry on a stick resting on a shoulder (see photo) to bring soil or sand in and rocks and other garbage out.
Tomorrow we have our orientation for language school and then real life starts. We must be at the school by 8:00 and we are free to go at 12:00. The kids start school at 7:45 and they are out at 2:45. It’s a long day that’s for sure. Indonesians are in school only for the morning or the afternoon. They also wear uniforms everyday. It looks really neat when you see them all going home from school together.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Today I made my first visit ever to an Indonesian home. Even during our time in Papua I never set foot inside the home of an Indonesian family. This evening after the supper dishes (sigh, no dishwasher) were done, I set out to pay our tutor for her services. I didn’t expect it to become a formal visit, but it did. She, if you remember, lives kind of in the middle of a rice field. Her house is attached on one side to someone else’s. I entered her home and right by the door was a very tiny sitting area the size of most Canadian’s bathrooms. There we sat. It was very dark in the house as the only light bulb was situated in the middle of the main part of the house. Ibu Nining apologized for the darkness as she doesn’t have her own electricity yet. She and her husband had built this house not that long ago and because it is in a rice field it is too far away from the other houses to get electricity without putting in a hydro pole. They have to pay for the pole and it is very expensive. I’m not sure how come her neighbours have electricity though…. You never really get the whole story here. Anyways, her husband is a taxi driver and doesn’t make very much money so she tutors. She also has a niece living with them so that she can go to school here in Bandung as the school’s where her parents live aren’t as good. This girl sees her parents about three times a year even though they live one hour drive away. Ibu Nining herself has a three year old, but she mostly lives with Ibu Nining’s sister as she has been married for three years and doesn’t have any children. It sure is a different way of living than we are accustomed to in Canada. So I had a little chat with her in both Indonesian and English. I am very excited that I can now understand some of what people are saying. It can be very frustrating when you first arrive and you have no clue what people are saying to you and it can be just the simplest thing. Tomorrow we are having an evaluation at the school. We are really hoping that we can skip unit one as in unit one you must speak with 15 different people each day and make notes about what you talked about. This will be very difficult for us as we will be in school from 8-12 and then go home and have lunch and then at 2:45 the kids need to be picked up from school. There isn’t really much time in there to speak to that many people.
Yesterday one of our helpers came to me and asked to borrow 2 million rupiah’s and have her pay cut $200,000 for 10 months to pay it back. Wow, that’s a lot of cash! She said that it was for school for one of her daughter’s who is going to university. (we don’t know if this is really the real reason, could be a family member needs the $ for something or they borrowed from someone else in the past and that person needs the $ now…) She has three daughters. The oldest is 21, then a 19 year old and then a 2 year old. So Hugo and I talked with a couple of the other MAF families about what to do. Truth is, we really don’t have that kind of money to lend out. So we decided to offer her $500,000 and to cut her salary $100,000 per month. So I wrote out exactly what I wanted to say on a piece of paper. I started out by thanking her for her hard work, and I must say she does work very hard. Laundry is a lot of work here… Then I explained that we are a big family and that we had to buy a lot of things for our house here and for the kids for school. Also that next month is Idul Fitri or Ramadan and then they receive a one month bonus. This is instead of a bonus at Christmas, as they are Muslim so Christmas means absolutely nothing to them. Then I offered her the half million. She was very thankful and said that it would pay for her daughter’s books and apologized for having to ask. Phew, I was somewhat worried as to how it would all work out. Sometimes they will push and push for the money. But we feel good about only giving her a quarter of what she asked for as that sends out the message that we aren’t a bank… The reality is that usually when you lend to the one, the other one will also ask just to keep things even… So we had to keep that in mind when deciding how much to give. Idul Fitri is a really big deal for them. They buy new clothes for their kids and make special food. Also, food prices go up in anticipation of Idul Fitri. So everyone’s costs go up. We have also been warned that starting Monday there will probably be policemen on all the roads just looking for people to pull over for whatever reason and then solicit a bribe. For us that means making sure we are all wearing helmets on our motorcycles and carrying our special traveling paperwork from the police. You don’t want to give them any reason to pull you over to get a bribe. So today I went and bought myself a quality crafted motorcycle helmet for all of $65,000 rups. $78,000 is $10 Can. Unbelievably cheap! It’s even got a tinted visor!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I entitled this post stuff as I'm just going to recount a few interesting and funny things that happened today. This morning I went with Marc to Setia Buti to see about a mattress cover for our bed. We are just sleeping on a foam mattress that has cloth around it and then a fitted sheet on top. It gets pretty warm at night in our room as we sleep on the second floor... Anyways, on the way down we were in an Angkot and some guy just kept touching Marc's arm. Marc didn't like it one bit and kept asking me if we could get off. I tried to tell him that the man just liked his white skin, but that didn't help at all. When we were in the store Marc decided to run around a little bit and some of the ladies kind of chased him to play with him and he freaked out and came running back to me saying that they were trying to get him. Then this afternoon as I was bringing the kids home from school again on an angkot, a rather scary looking guy with a wandering eye had his hand on Aidan's knee the entire time we were riding. Aidan didn't say a thing but I sure kept my eye on that hand to make sure it stayed in one place... Then another male passenger told me that Aidan had the most beautiful eyes... Folks here are incredibly intrigued by us. I often see parents nudging their children when I walk by either by myself or with the kids.
As I was walking to the school this afternoon to pick up the kids I passed a regiment of the Indonesian army jogging their way up the hill. These guys were fully outfitted in camouflage clothing and helmets and rifles. Some of them weren't spring chickens anymore either, which probably explains the ambulance trailing behind them... I wondered what their reaction to me would be and I was surprised. Many of them smiled and said,"Hello Missus, how are you?" By the time they were all by my cheeks were sore from smiling. I just love it, you never know what you are going to meet up with when you go out here.

Hugo and Marc on THE bike...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Salamat Hari Minggu! (Happy Sunday!)

Today we went to the same church again. We witnessed the baptism of three adults including one older woman and two younger people and the public profession of faith of a young woman. It was really amazing to witness publicly the fact that these people have made the choice to be christians in this extremely muslim country where there are continuous threats to christian churches. This happened following a sermon about how parents must teach their children the fear of the Lord as they are already born in sin and need to be taught what good is. After the sermon we witnessed the celebration of Lord's supper. Only those who were members of the church participated. The elements were distributed by two elders. Instead of bread they use what look like communion wafers here. The wine was in little cups just like back home in Aldergrove. On Friday we had met with four members of the church to talk about how they could help us and if they could answer any questions. They also offered to have someone translate the sermon during the service. We asked if they could just have someone take notes in English for us and then we will try to understand as much in Indonesian as possible. We now have a handy dandy translator which translates both ways and is extremely helpful. Anyways, today one of the young guys wrote out some notes on the sermon for us for which we are very grateful.

Just had to post this adorable photo of Brynne in a dress she got from her big cousin Anna.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Never a dull moment...

I must say. There’s never a dull moment here in Indonesia. (BTW, we are all thankfully recovered from the flu bug-just a 24 hour thing) Today one of the boys, who shall remain unnamed, locked his bedroom door and closed it while he was outside it. This happened with Mikah just after we moved in and the landlord came by with a ring of keys for the house so no problem. Of course, today we discover that there is no key for the boy’s room on the ring. On the plus side, this particular bedroom door has an opening at the bottom for…. we’re not really sure at this point why it’s there, but who cares? It saved us today. With a bit of ingenuity, they don’t want him in Papua for nothing, Hugo, using a broom and a baby sling along with the opening in the door, managed to get the door open. I would imagine there was some grunting and heaving involved, but I wouldn’t know for sure as I was out shopping. Shopping on a Saturday afternoon in Bandung. Christiaan and I hopped on an angkot to go to the big import store Setia Buti. It took us a good 25 minutes and two different angkots just to get there. On a motorbike, this is a 5-10 minute ride. As we sat there sweltering, while our cool as cucumber co-passengers in their coats and sweaters weren’t sweating a drop, I realized that none of the windows were open. A situation quickly remedied and we could enjoy the Bandung breeze as we drove, no I can’t really call it driving. What do you call it when you inch along stopping and starting incessantly? Anyways, we made it to the store without difficulty, always a plus. Thankfully, inside the store it wasn’t too busy. One thing about Indonesia is that they are fabulous at job creation. It is difficult to find work here, but I commend the local stores for doing their best to ease the situation. Inside the store there are people in every aisle just waiting with bated breath for you to ask them where something is. In the meantime they take stock of the items in their aisle. When you go through the check-out there are people to put your groceries on the counter, people to pack your groceries and people to help you carry them out of the store. Then when you are out of the store there are two guys whose job it is to “help” people park (it’s really a very small parking lot) and to hail cabs for those, like us, who need one. This is a really great feature about shopping at Setia Buti or any of the other large stores. While you wait in the shade, they will stand in the sweltering sun, wearing a fleece body warmer over a long-sleeved shirt, and hail you a cab. Then they will load your groceries into the cab as well. They don’t however, come home with you and put away your groceries for you… bummer. And we still had to lug everything down the two gongs (narrow passage ways between houses with very uneven steps) to get home. Oh well, it could be worse, I could have had to go to Superstore in Langley where I not only have to put everything onto the counter myself, I also have to pack it myself and pay for any bags I need. Then I have to load up my own car…. Yup, life here is rough. Did I mention that we are running seriously low on water and are considering going to the pool instead of showering at home? Today I bought Styrofoam plates and plastic forks so that I wouldn’t have to use water to wash the dishes after supper tonight… Did I also mention that we share our home with both lizards and cockroaches?

This completely unrelated photo is of a new condo development going up near the school. All the scalfolding is made of bamboo and old wood. Nothing is measured so it's all a little haphazard looking... All the workers wear flip flops and no one has a hard hat on.... The finished condos look great though!

This completely related photo to the one above, is of some shacks right behind the new condos. The grey wall in the background is the back of the condos.

Friday, September 08, 2006

We're still here!!

For those of you who are avid readers of our blog (Aunt Frieda….) and have been wondering where we are, we are still around. The flu bug has hit our family pretty hard. Not just our family but also our pembantu’s. They still came in today as they were feeling better, but had been sick the night before. The only ones to escape the wrath of this flu bug so far, are Hugo, Brynne and Aidan. The rest of us are slowly on the mend.
Unfortunately this means that we will miss the open house at the kid’s school today.
Tonight an Evangelist and, I think, an elder from the GKI church are coming to visit us. We are thankful that they have embraced us and are being so welcoming to us. In fact the Evangelist, named Eric, talked with the manager of the apartment/conference building where the church meets about getting us a pass to use the pool there. He was willing to make an exception for our family as normally only tenants of the building can use the pool. Yippee!! Some of the other pools here aren’t always so clean…
We have hired a tutor named Ibu Nining. She is coming every day for two hours to help us get up to speed with our bahasa Indonesia. She lives just down the hill from us in the middle of a rice field. In fact she was born on this very hill and has lived here her entire life. So she finds us rather fascinating as Hugo is from Holland, I am from Canada and Marc was born in Papua. I’m fascinated that someone could live in the same place their entire life!! I also told her that on Sunday when I walked by her house, it was the first time in my life walking through a rice field! This she found kind of funny of course.
As we are attaining more language we are better able to understand the questions that people ask us. Here it is very normal to ask someone where they are going. Not that you expect a specific answer, it’s just a greeting like we would say, “Hey, what’s up?” So we have learned just to say “jalan-jalan.” This means “traveling”. It is also very normal here for people to ask you how old you are. They are also very curious about how much things in Canada cost. I just tell them that everything is “mahal.” Expensive. Most things here are really quite cheap. A lot of the time that means cheaply made too… People also express surprise that we have five children and that some of them are really quite large. Marc is the same size as the almost five year old who lives beside us .
These are photos of the kids school. The photo on the right shows the "gym" area with the classroom doors to the right.

Monday, September 04, 2006

More pics...

The first photo is of a guy we pass on the way to school every day. He has a compressor and a bucket of water and repairs motorbike tires all day long. As most people drive motorcycles here, he is kept fairly busy every day. The next photo is of a little "restaurant" or food stand that we also pass on our way to school. It is very typical of the food stands you find here. We never, ever eat food from these as our intestines wouldn't be able to handle it. The third unrelated photo is of our neighbours pond and potted plants. There are actually some pretty big fish in there and sometimes they jump out of the water to eat a bug. Until the neighbours harvest them for their dinner table...
Good news, we've found a bike we can rent on a month to month basis. It's a flashy red suzuki 125cc. It's actually what they call a babek. It has no clutch so it is quite easy to ride.
We went to Bandung Electronics Centre today. It has about 5 floors of cell phones, computer stuff, gaming stuff, and pirated dvd's and cd's. It's quite the place. We were looking to price out tv's which you would have thought a place like that would have... No dice. And when we left we went into the wrong angkot and ended up farther away than we had ever been before.... Thankfully, all you need to do is hop out and flag down the first taxi you see and tell him where you want to go. It costs a bit more but it is sure more reliable and much faster as they don't stop every 100 meters in the hope that someone else will get on....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Two weeks, two days...

Well, we’ve been here for two weeks and two days now. I think that we’ve learned more Indonesian than we did during our entire six months in Papua. It’s amazing what a difference being immersed in the culture and language makes. Yesterday we had the pleasure of visiting with Jonathan Raney, assistant program manager in Papua. It was nice to visit with him and catch up on all that’s happening in Papua.
We are currently looking into renting a motorbike. We thought we had one lined up and then found out that here it is normal to pay up front for the entire time you wish to rent, which for us is about 11 months. Sooo, we asked if we could please pay for less time up front. We were wondering about why someone would want to rent out their only mode of transportation. In the Sundanese culture here, if you have any cash, it can be borrowed by others. So people buy things like motorbikes or jewelry instead of having cash around. However, when a child starts school there are enormous costs involved. Registration fees, uniforms and supplies. It can cost over 1 million Rups per child. Because people don’t save here, they have to get the money somehow. So they rent out their motorbike and get the entire amount upfront, or sell some jewelry. We’d love to help out a family in need, but we aren’t sure we want to pay that much money up front. If we decide that we don’t like the bike, then we don’t get our money back. So we have asked if we can pay for less months in advance. It just depends on how much money this family needs. Otherwise we will have to find someone willing to commit to less time up front with the option of a renewal. This is a very common thing to do here so we should have no trouble finding another bike to rent.
Tomorrow we plan to worship with the house congregation of the GKI not far from where we live. We will need to take an Ankot there, but it will sure cost a lot less than hiring our neighbour to take us to the big church.

These photos are of the front and back of a warung (little restaurant) that we pass by everyday on the way to school. The two little girls live in the back with their parents and their chickens. The green vehicle in the front is an Angkot. I'm guessing the driver was having a food break. There are no specific eating times here, you eat when you are hungry and it is very common to buy something already prepared to eat. There are a few guys that come around our area regularly with food for sale.