Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

How do you welcome in the New Year in Sentani? With fire crackers/works of course! And what do you use to light them when your cheap Indonesian lighter breaks? A canadian candle stuck in a bottle of course! The kids and the big kids had a blast lighting off a ton of fire crackers. Thankfully the heavy rain held off until later. Now it is 12:47 am and raining heavily so the noise of the "bombs" isn't nearly as bad as it could be! No complaints here!

Wishing you all a blessed New Year!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seasonal Ramblings...

So yep, that's us on Christmas day having our dinner of pasar (market) chicken, really expensive cauliflower from the interior city of Wamena, mashed potatoes and apple sauce... I had to ask the boys if they could please put on shirts as we were going to be eating a special meal together. It was really hot and because we really really wanted to have lit candles on the table, we had to turn off our oscillating fan in the corner. So we went through lots of "wine"-apple juice mixed with sprite. Can't actually buy real wine here. Although if I went down into the kampung below us, I could probably buy some pineapple wine. And it would only cost about 20,000rups a bottle too! Apparently every year around this time there are kids that try drinking rubbing alcohol because it is so cheap and every year someone dies from it. This year is no exception. So sad.
Pause - sip hot chocolate - yep, I'm sitting here drinking hot chocolate - it's cold! It rained this afternoon/evening and it was a bit windy and so now I'm warming up with some hot chocolate.
The two other photos are of carbite bombs. The first one is the cement variety. This one is conveniently parked right on the other side of the wall around the pool. So every now and then while we are swimming we get shocked with an incredibly loud boom! It is very, very loud. The bamboo ones aren't nearly as loud, thankfully.
On Christmas day and for the next few days afterwards, kids would come to our door and wish us "Selamat Hari Natal!" - Merry Christmas! and then look at us expectantly. So we'd just shake their hands and go back inside. Finally Hugo asked at work what the deal was. Apparently rich people usually give leftover food or cake/cookies to the poor people. We didn't know! As I wasn't about to bake up a pile of butter cookies - have you ever tried to make butter cookies in plus 30 degree weather with humidity levels over 80%? It is really, really hard! The butter keeps melting and so you can't even get the dough out of the cutter and off the counter/cutting board... I had some leftover free cookies that I'd gotten from one of the grocery stores for buying so much so that's what I handed out the next few times and then told them after that that the cookies were habis (done/finished/out of stock). Actually, I have to confess that a few times this week when Hugo was working, I just locked the gates so no one could come in, although one enterprising young lad still made his way in...
Wishing you a blessed Sunday!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” Ps 150:6
Let us praise the Lord as we remember the birth of
His son, our Saviour!
Wishing you all a joyous Christmas and
God’s blessings in the New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bakar Batu (baking stones)

Traditionally on the day before Christmas, the Dani people that live here in Sentani (I can’t speak for those that live elsewhere) cook a pig and eat it together. I wanted to get a good photo of the whole process, as it is quite interesting, but it was already done and over with by the time I went down there. Earlier today Hugo had taken the photo that’s kind of far away. Anyways, I asked them to explain their method of cooking the pig to me. So here’s what you do:
In the morning, lots of people go into the jungle and get leaves of all sorts that you can and can’t eat. You can see them carrying the leaves in the two other photos. As they are running down the road they are chanting back and forth. It sounded really neat. I can’t even write the sounds they were making. They dig a hole in the ground and line it with leaves. On top of that they put stones that have been getting hot in the fire. I didn’t ask how they carry the stones… Then you put more leaves on top and then you put in the vegetables – mostly leaves that they can eat and get for free out in the jungle or the ditches. Then you put the whole pig in. He said something about the stomach, I’m not sure what it was but they have to take something out. Then they put more vegetables around the pig and then they put more leaves on top and then more stones and then more leaves again. So you end up with this big smoky pile – see photo. The guy I talked to said that it takes only 30 minutes and the pig is done. He made it clear that this is only done by the Papuans that wear p*nis gourds – therefore the mountain people. He said that he didn’t know what the beach people did. Which is really funny because there are plenty of beach people living around here too. Anyways, the mountain people always cook like this as they don’t have kompors (little gas burners) or anything like that. According to the guy I talked to, this was the best way to cook because you don’t have to clean up lots of pots and pans and your kitchen. They just burn the leftover leaves. Very practical not? As for the pig, lots of people around here raise pigs to sell. The people from each church will get together and collect enough money to buy the pig. Right now, pig meat is very expensive here. I’m not sure why exactly, maybe because they figure people are willing to pay lots because they like it so much.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Praise and Worship Evening

This evening we had our annual Christmas Praise and Worship program. We all sang some Christmas songs together and there were some performances by a vocal group from Jayapura, the Togeretz family, the deHaan's, and the kids of the church. The minister also had what he called a "short" sermonette on Christmas. It was still 40 minutes long, which is short for him as he usually preaches for at least an hour... The kids all received a gift as well. Then afterwards we all ate goodies together and had fellowship. The two photos that show us all sitting on chairs and stools is exactly how we have church each Sunday. The room is "L" shaped and there are stools and chairs lined up on each end and the minister is in the middle.
Note the words on the shirt of one of the girls in the vocal group. You can find the most odd and most crude t-shirts here along with the ones with really bad English. I honestly don't think most people know what they mean most of the time, they just like it that it's in English.
I'm going to answer the questions regarding my previous post here. Getting into the comments section is really hard and often doesn't work...
No, Uncle Keith, we don't get our meat from the place between Jalan Pos 7 and Jalan HIS. I've heard that there are people that do though. We get our meat beside where Virgo's used to be. It's just over the bridge on the left hand side as you are leaving town to Jayapura.
Nicole, it is rather gross, but we just cook the snot out of the ground beef and then it's okay! Just like with the chicken that I buy at the market...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Yesterday was the m*slim holiday of Idul Adha. This is where they celebrate the fact that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Ishmael (they believe) on Mt. Carmel. In Bandung the mosque was going on all night long and it was obvious that it was a special day. Here, it was really quiet and a lot of the stores were closed. The only loud sounds we heard were the three Christmas booths near us going at it. There’s one that likes to play rap-style Christmas music and another one likes to play traditional music. Quite funny…
The MAF national workers chose to take today, Friday, off instead of Thursday. So Hugo’s plan is to finish re-organizing the avionics inventory today. He likes to do it when the national workers aren’t in because they ask him a lot of questions so it is hard to get tasks completed and also, he doesn’t want to offend them too badly by redoing their inventory system – which didn’t make sense to him…
The rest of us are spending a rainy day indoors to the smell of a roast cooking in the crockpot getting tender for croquettes… yummm…
The roast is another story. The new grocery store in town has a meat section. They have a lot of fish and sometimes squid or shrimp. They also have frozen chickens (thankfully without all the stuff we don’t want) but they also have whole ducks – eyeballs, legs and all… The other thing they have is hunks of beef. Everything is done where the customers can see, so… I was watching them cut the beef the other day. There are hunks that are a few inches thick and a couple feet long by a foot or so wide and they use a machine like a jig saw to cut smaller hunks off. This meat is so incredibly frozen it’s like cutting ice. The guy who was cutting it was about 18 and was wearing a big black plastic apron. I’m going to guess he’s never studied how to cut a cow up properly… I also have a feeling that they don’t really clean the blade all that well, if at all, between cutting fish and beef. It’s too bad because you can’t buy beef from them that hasn’t been frozen before so whatever you buy you need to cook in the next couple weeks… At least I think that’s how long beef can last in your fridge… I get my ground beef from this little hole in the wall place along side the road and you have to order the day before and every morning they slaughter a cow and later on you can go pick up your ground beef in a big black plastic shopping bag. If you ask, they’ll double-bag it… thankfully…

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is a photo of our yard guy/night guard cutting our grass. I took the photo through our tinted glass bay window so that’s why it’s kind of light. Anyways, we recently, together with our neighbours, bought the weed eater that he is using to cut the grass. We both decided to take our yard guys out of their misery and make them happy. Prior to us purchasing this wicked piece of equipment, they cut the grass with machete’s while on their haunches. We have a fairly big yard… (Actually it really doesn’t bother them to sit on their haunches, they do it all the time, including when going to the bathroom – squatty potties rule here! But it just takes them sooooo long to do it with just a big knife…) Lawn mowers are just not available here, unless a missionary who’s brought one from back home and is leaving the field sells one - therefore not a reliable supply is available. And the only weed eaters available here are like the one we bought - motorized ones. The part that cuts the grass is not a little nylon string like the ones back home, no, this one has a large metal blade… Thankfully our guy is pretty smart and actually wears shoes and not just flip flops… We’ve seen many guys using those machines while only wearing flip flops and of course, no eye or ear gear…

In the news lately there have been a number of articles regarding toy recalls and contaminated toys etc… In Canada there are fairly strict rules regarding toys that can be sold in stores. I think that it is safe to say that not one single toy that is sold in the stores here, except the real Hot Wheels tracks, would pass any of our rules back home. The selection of toys here is really quite hilarious. For boys it is: weapons – plastic AK-47’s, swords, light sabers, pistols, bows and arrows…. you get the idea and remote control cars. They love remote control cars out here. Well, actually they love any toy that takes batteries and makes noise… For girls the selection is: toy cooking utensils, fake Barbies and stuffed animals. Every toy that you buy here will break within days. I’m not kidding you, everything breaks and there are always pieces that you could choke on…. The plastic that is used is so thin and brittle. They take the meaning of cheap to a whole new level!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

This is a Christmas booth that is near our house. I couldn't decided which photo of it to post so I just did both. The one I took before we went for a late afternoon swim and the other I took after our swim. Thankfully, the folks that made this one don't have the music going until really late at night and it's not too loud either.

What is loud right now, are the carbite bombs that are going off. Tis the season again! Each year, specifically for New Year's Eve, local kids build and blow off carbite bombs. They take a metal or bamboo pipe and cork one end of it with a big rag. The other end has a small opening which they can open or close. The put water and carbite into the pipe and wait a bit. Then they put a match into the little opening and it goes BOOOOM!!! They are sooooo loud. It really does sound like a bomb is going off, or at least what I imagine a bomb going off sounds like. Thankfully, they seem to "practice" more during the day than at night right now...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not too horribly much new going on here. Our eyes are all slowly getting better. Mine are still pretty bloody looking but I’ve heard that it can last well over a week with adults. Marc and Brynne healed up the quickest and had the mildest cases. Marc’s also the only one who got away with only having it in one eye, lucky guy!
The school that the kids attend is on a hill. It’s kind of a narrow hill that leads up to the mountain behind the city. Our hill is not far away, but we have to go down our hill, travel up mainstreet a bit and then we can turn to go up the school’s hill. The two hills themselves are not connected. Anyways, just before you reach the gates of the school there is a graveyard. It’s really quite humorous because this spot, outside the walls of the graveyard, seems to be the local make-out spot. Especially at night if you drive out of the school gates you will pass couples hanging out together. Of course, here they are snuggling on a motorbike and not in a car. I’ve even seen girls in head coverings snuggling with boyfriends… Obviously their parents don’t know about it…
I also want to briefly talk about flipflops. This is a country where flipflops are standard footwear and are taken to a whole new level. No matter what you do for work, construction, nursing, road repair etc… flipflops are what you wear. I have also never ever seen so many different kinds of flipflops. They even have them for little kids that squeak when you walk! (very annoying in church…) Although, our minister, always wears formal dress shoes when preaching…

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Well, the news from here is rather grim right now. We are all at home in quarantine with the dreaded pink eye virus. Hugo suggested that since we're all home it would be a good time to take a family portrait... right...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On Friday evening we had the annual MAF Christmas party. The guys had cleared out the hangar and it was decorated and filled with chairs and some tables. The evening started out very warm (we've been having a bit of a heat wave out here) but cooled off nicely as time went on. There were the usual speeches and little skits and then came santa on an MAF plane and all the workers children received a gift. Then we had a nice meal - rice, chicken, spicy Indonesian beef, and chap chay.
The photos at the top are of a test set that Hugo made from scratch. This set is designed to test two similar types of radios that are used in some of the MAF aircraft here. It will allow the systems to be trouble-shooted and fixed here instead of being sent back to the states. Pretty cool huh?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More bad English...

Continuing on with yesterday's theme of bad English....
Read on wrapping paper that is covered in white teddy bears:
The mid music notes rising from tranquility Canbring you in silence (I copied this exactly, spelling mistakes and all...)

Written about the animals on the instruction sheet on how to put together the foam zoo animals:
Polar Bear:
The polar bear is found in all of the polar regions of the entire northern hemisphere. Polar bear reside alone. They float on the floating ice, swim and dive with violent nature and celerity action.

They have the large body, round head, the strong extremities, all of the fur color are orange with rank black stripe. They live in lands and forest, and usually go out alone at night, they take action quickly and good at swimming, their food are some phytophage animal.

Yesterday I mentioned that there was loud music from all sides as I was posting. Well, the really loud non-Christmas music turned out to be my helper's (Icelina's) birthday party... So today she didn't show up for work and when I asked her sister where she was today, she was sleeping... must have been quite a bash...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Indonesians love our language, they truly do. However, it is a difficult language to learn. There are many tenses and many, many words and baffling grammatical rules.(I think I just broke one or two already) I always get a kick out of reading what they write on the packaging of products sold here in Indonesia. Sometimes the language is so inappropriate. I guess when you make something look like it was meant for export, it sells better!

Written on a carton of Country Choice Orange Juice:
At Country Choice land, people drink juice 3 times a day to keep the family healthy. The natural freshness of Country Choice Orange Juice lets us treasure more the loving memories and unforgettable experiences shared with family. Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, it provides antioxidants. Make Country Choice Orange Juice part of family’s daily routine.

Found on the packaging of a child’s xylophone (Brynnie’s Sinterklaas present):
-Real musical instrument!
-It has mallets and musical instrument included.Safe and durable.
-This musical instrument can enliven child’s musical cells, exercise the ability that the child discerns the form, the recognition capability of color, increase the child’s fun!

When I walk around town or around our house I often hear, "Hello Mister!" People love to try out their limited English on me. One woman told me that all the English she knew was: I love you! Kiss me please! Yes and No. I told her those were dangerous words to say...

As I post this, we are being “treated” to Christmas music from all sides… Many have been getting their booths up and their speakers going this week… yippee.... (sorry no photos yet...)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yesterday was quite a day here in Sentani, Papua. First of all Marc turned 4! Hard to believe that it has already been four years since he was born here in Papua. We had a little party for him at the school. There is a covered area with tables beside the playground so it is an ideal spot for a party (no mess in your house!). The kids, including Ibu Rita's two girls, had a good time. Then in the afternoon we gathered together with the other dutch folks that live around here or happened to be in town here and had a very special visitor all the way from Spain. Sinterklaas was able to make a quick stop in our town. Although he had to leave his horse in Singapore as Garuda (Indonesian Airline) wouldn't allow him to take the horse on board. Interestingly enough, Sinterklaas is fluent in four languages! What a guy! He also had his special book with and all our children were in it, and thankfully none of them needed to be punished by Swaarte Piet. The kids all got a gift and then the grown-ups played the dice and present game. After that we enjoyed a potluck dinner. In the last photo the kids are watching a puppet show about Sinterklaas.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Notes on Life In Sentani

Gross: peeling open your banana to find a nest of earwig larvae....

Christmas booths: have started up for the season again. These are booths that people set up wherever they want, decorate them according to what they think Christmas means (photos will be posted at a later date) and play loud, loud mostly Christmas music, sometimes 24 hours a day...

Rain: lots and lots of it - maybe there's hope for our grass yet!

Abscessed tooth: Icelina's is swollen again-took her to the dentist and now we're trying different antibiotics to get the swelling down so that tooth can come out. (yuck...)

Crazy hair day: I razored four letter "A's" onto Aidan's head and he doesn't want them to go away so he didn't want to have his hair washed.

The traffic on our road: DEAD!!!! YEAH!!!!

The condition of our road: bumpy, potholey, and muddy (in spots)

The mall: has a new restaurant and optical place... we're moving right along here

Brussel Sprouts: spotted for sale in the new supermarket... wonder how long they'll stay in the store... (not my favourite...) and they made the long boat trip from France...

Marc: today was his last day being three!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Here is a shot of Brynnie playing with Rode (Roeday) daughter of Ibu Rita. They had quite a lot of fun together.

Wow, our trials here are nothing compared with what this family is going through right now:

Be sure to keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Big news! The new bridge is open!! Yippee!!

On Friday we had this couple (see photo) over for dinner. Al and Kathryn Fortin who originally hail from Calgary but last lived in Barrhead, Alberta. Some of you may know them! They are both teachers at the kids school. Kathryn is Mikah's teacher.

Last week Wednesday we had the pastor of our church and an elder over for an official visit. They plan to celebrate Lord's Supper the beginning of December so they wanted to visit with us with regards to this. As I was just finishing reading the boys a book when they arrived, Hugo served them tea. Not cultural here to have the man serve.... The pastor, Rev Dikon (I think that's how you spell it) likes to talk that's for sure. He talked so much that he forgot about his tea which by the end of the evening was swarming with ants....

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Okay, I tried to get these photos in order, but that's just so hard to do with Blogger. Anyways, this is what I experienced when I drove Marc and Kaya to preschool this week. Driving here is soooo crazy. By the time I reached the preschool, I was shaking... First we drove up the road from our house (photo with mountain in background). That road gets kind of crazy further up, the potholes are huge. Then I took the "short cut" down the hill. At the bottom you have to go through a river (photo number 4). But, before we could even get to the river, we had to squeeze by the little black pick-up truck (photo 6) that had a front wheel broken off. They were in the process of unloading all the bricks out of the back end when we arrived on the scene. Then they tried to push it forward which of course doesn't work with a wheel that is separating from the axle. Then they picked up the back end and swung it over a bit. Then we could just squeeze by with literally inches to spare. Then we went throught the river and turned onto the road in photo 6. As you can see they have decided to widen the road. So there is a very narrow path to drive on and as you go further you are driving between the tar fire and the guys arranging the gravel nicely by hand. Then we passed by the door-to-door vegetable truck (photo 5). Had to squeeze by him and then we had to squeeze inbetween an old rusty oil barrel and some bamboo poles before we could turn onto the main road. After briefly driving on the main road, we had to turn onto the incredibly skinny road in photo 8. We passed by quite a few people on that road and I prayed I wouldn't run over anyone's toes as we passed by. Finally after turning onto another equally skinny road we had reached our destination. I dropped off the kids and started the drive home. Going home we go a different way because then we are going the right way in order to cross the temporary bridge (it's one way for cars). The "entrance" to the bridge is photo 3. All these vehicles and motorbikes converge and have to make their way across the bridge (photo 1) while watching out for motorbikes going the other way. Then once you're across and you've driven up the bank, we turn onto our road. Our road is a mass of potholes and bumps. I rarely make it out of second gear.
Things about driving we've just gotten used to:
  • passing oncoming traffic with just inches to spare
  • liberally using car or motorbike horn
  • avoiding potholes, oncoming traffic, motorbikes and pedestrians all at the same time
  • rarely going over 40 km an hour, usual speed: 20 km per hour
  • watching for motorbikes trying to pass you on the inside even though you're making a right hand turn (like a left-hand turn back home)-crazy how often that happens

The other day some guys were filling some of the potholes on our road. As you pass by them you are expected to put some money in the card board box being held by one of the guys. I'm not sure if they just decided to fix the road on their own and make some money doing it or if they are told to do it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks to those who gave us some advice and encouragement regarding our communication issues. We are here, the Lord willing, for the next 2.3 years (the countdown So we have some time to establish relationships. I recently spoke with a wise woman who lived here for many years and she encouraged us to find an Indonesian family to get to know and have them over to visit and have their kids play with our kids. She said that's the best way to allow your kids to interact with local kids as opposed to opening your yard to them. So now we just have to find a family that fits the bill...

Hugo wanted me to post this photo of the maintenance guys here cleaning a Cessna 206 that was recently stripped of its paint. They are going around the rivets with their little brushes to strip the hard-to-get areas that the paint stripper can't get at. Planes don't need to get repainted very often, maybe once every 5-10 years, but this plane was showing some corrosion and when they tried fix just those spots, the rest of the paint started coming off too. Turns out its last paint job in the States had been less than stellar.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Well, the news from here is that we are enjoying sporatic power outages. There is supposed to be a schedule of when our power will be turned off for the day, but it doesn't seem to happen when it is supposed to. Oh well, the generator is holding up so far...
Here's another thing that I'm struggling with a bit. Talking with the locals. It is brutal to try and have a conversation with them. You have no family in common or people that you both know from other churches (do you realize how connected the Can Ref church really is?), you have a different culture which also means different priorities and I'm having to do this in a different language! There are times when I've been having a "conversation" with a local and then some of her friends will come up and they'll start talking Papuan or something and I'll feel just like you do in grade 8 when you're trying to get to know a new group of people and you feel like an outsider and they don't make any effort to draw you in. We are really trying to get to know the people at church better, but they aren't making an effort from their end so it makes it really hard. I did manage to have two fairly long conversations with one of the men at church - we talked about computers... I know that finding a common interest is good, but doing that can be brutal too. The man owns a computer shop and was working on upgrading our desktop computer so finding a common ground with him wasn't rocket science.... But the women are another story! Any advice from the experienced is welcomed with open arms...
Just a goofy pic of Marc with his Cat in the Hat hat from preschool...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today I had an interesting experience. On Monday one of my helpers (yes, I have two helpers, didn’t plan on that it just sort of happened) came in with an incredibly swollen cheek. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a cheek that swollen before. She couldn’t even open her mouth. So I gave her some Tylenol as that was all I had in the house and suggested she go to see the doctor. So today is Wednesday and she didn’t come in again so I decided to go and find her. I knew approximately where she lives and went down that way and asked a young woman who has a warung (small shop) where Icelina’s (pronounced Eechayleena) house was. She locked up her shop and took me there. I had Brynnie with me, Marc was at school, and we were on the motorbike which I parked in front of the warung. So we descended into the kampung there. It really felt like I was in a campsite, not a Canadian one mind you as there were no fire pits and picnic tables, just old rusty oil barrels and pig pens among other things… We walked over an incredibly rickety bridge that was made out of some wood and some metal stuff that had big round holes in it. We, thankfully as the river is disgusting, made it over safely. Icelina lives with her dad, her parents are sadly divorced. Her mother is actually my old helper from four years ago. Anyways, we yelled hello at the door but it turned out she was bathing. Bathing happens in a little hut underneath the rickety bridge… So out she comes with nothing but a large towel wrapped around her. She went inside and I continued to watch the half naked little kids running around while their mothers watched me. Brynnie is not shy at all and marched right into the house and went straight into the kitchen at the back. The young woman showing me the way followed her to make sure she didn’t get into trouble. I was a little shy of just entering and hung by the front door. Their “living room” was just that, a room. There was absolutely nothing else in that room whatsoever. NOTHING… The rooms inside were built using plywood and were painted a lovely shade of bright blue. Anyways, Icelina got herself dressed and I asked her how she was doing and if she’d been to the doctor or not. Well, she was still quite sore and couldn’t eat, only drink and no she hadn’t been to see anyone yet. I offered to take her to a dentist if she knew of one that was half decent. So she borrowed a helmet, strapless no less, from her friend and off we went on the motorbike. Fairly recently a new hospital has been built a little ways out of town. She suggested we go there, in as few words as possible. Papuans are very shy people and really don’t say much in general. You really have to look at their faces and read their body language to get the whole picture, which is really hard to do while driving a motorbike. I have to say that I rather enjoyed driving out there. The road was smooth with no potholes, once we got outside of town, and there was very little traffic. So we buzzed along at 60 km an hour, which I’m telling you, feels like you are flying as the majority of the time we drive at speeds of 20 km per hour or so… Anyways, we made it there and we went in. It is a fairly nicely designed hospital and looks nice. However, it also looks like they kind of ran out of money as there is not much in the place. So we got Icelina signed up to see the dentist and I had a little chat with the nurse there. She informed me that all services are still free as they don’t actually have their license to practice for money yet. Whoo hoo! I also informed her that I didn’t have a lot of time to wait as I had to pick up my son from school in a bit. So she told me she’d bump us up on the list… Cool… At that point Brynnie really, really wanted something to drink so I asked if there was somewhere to buy drinks. Yes, there was, up there somewhere. They are always so vague here. So off we went to look. We walked around and didn’t see anything resembling a warung or snack bar. So I asked a security guy and he led me there. Well… They are still excavating at the back of the hospital and we had to walk over some rather large stones and around some stuff and then we came to a little “house” and went to the back door. I bravely looked in and there were some people sitting inside cutting up vegetables. There were three woks going on the right hand side and on the left side about a foot and a half higher was where they were cutting up the food and where there were a few shelves with dried foods and a small fridge. Yes, they had juice and thankfully they had straws in sealed packages… So we made our way back and in a few minutes it was Icelina’s turn. She sat in the chair in front of the dentist, who was a woman – she looked Papuan to me – and they discussed all the same things I had discussed with her earlier. The dentist then prescribed an antibiotic, an anti-inflamatory, a pain killer and a vitamin (always prescribed here). So we decided to get those in town instead of at the hospital pharmacy. So 55,000 rupiahs later, she had her stuff. I paid for it of course. So that was my adventure for the morning. I have to say that everything went extremely smoothly and quickly which is really not the norm for life here in Indonesia.
P.S. Sorry, no photos, forgot to take the camera with...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

As I'm writing this I can hear the sound of thunder. So I'm taking a chance leaving my phone line and ethernet cables connected to my computer. Here, these lines are not protected from surges and so anytime there is a thunderstorm you risk your motherboard or modem being fried. Yes, we still use a modem here. However, most of the time we access the internet through the V-Sat but if I want to blog I need to use our modem as MAF internet blocks all blogger sites. Anyways, I will surge on... heehee... and keep typing in spite of the thunder which sounds like it is moving away from us.
One dilema that I'm kind of struggling with is how to deal with the local kids that come around. They want to play with our bikes and any other outside toys we might have. I feel sorry for them because they don't get to play with much stuff at all. But... our neighbours have tried to let the local kids play. They would limit the numbers they would let in their yard. However, now the kids are there at their gate first thing in the morning yelling out asking if they can play. And they don't stop. So our neighbour will go out and tell them that today is not a good day so they won't be allowed. But the kids will often still hang around in the hopes that she will change her mind. Or they will go in anyways if the gate is unlocked. The other problem was that if she let them play and then their time was up, they wouldn't listen when she told them. They would just keep playing. Part of this is that Indonesian kids, at least the ones around here, just don't respect their elders. They are not taught to respect and the respect is generally not earned by the parents either. It is not that uncommon to see a mother throwing rocks at her older boys. Anyways, until this point, I have not let local kids play in our yard. I will let them drink water or fill their water bottles at our tap and I will also let them come in to sell things but not to play. Expats who have been here for a long time compare the local kids to ants. If you have the sugar they will just keep coming and coming and will wear you out. So for now, I prefer to keep my home a quiet, peaceful place for my family alone. And of course any visitors we might invite... On that note I would like to say that our door is always open to any one who wants to come visit out this way....
Selamat Hari Minggu!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Notes on Life in Sentani...

The first photo is Marc with the train track that he created. He almost always makes straight tracks... I guess he's just a straight up kind of guy... And he insisted on wearing his motorcycle helmet for the picture.

The second photo shows how Aidan was attired at supper yesterday. One of the first things he does when he comes home from school is take off his shirt. Today, however, he didn't as yesterday he got eaten alive by mosquitoes after playing outside in the trees without a shirt on. He is proudly displaying the genuine "plastic/gold" medal he received from his teacher after reading all three stories in his Sing Spell Read and Write story book. (I'm not sure how much he actually read and how much was simply memorized...)

And the third shot is a completely gratuitous photo of our little cutie... How could I resist posting this one?
The fourth shot is of Christiaan's watch. It's HUGE. But he loves it because it tells him the day of the week, the date, it has a stopwatch and a light and you can turn the dial and oh yeah, it tells time too... So coooollll!!! He bought it for 40,000 rupiahs with his allowance.

So life here has settled into a routine of sorts. Everyother day we go without power for fairly long stretches. Apparently it's going to be like this for a while. This is in spite of the six new generators that the city installed recently. I think they must be running out of fuel...

For the past three days the area my helper lives in has had no running water. No one seems to know why but the result is that we have a lot of people, mostly kids, coming to the door asking if they can fill their jugs at our outside spigot. As our tap water is actually drinkable, we are the prime location for people to get water.

One of the first projects that Hugo is diving into in his new role as Avionics manager, is to clean up the radio shop. There just hasn't been time for the other two guys to even think about doing this and therefore it hasn't been done in many, many years and Hugo is really eager to have some real space to work with. He hardly has room to put his tools. Today he came across a wack of old passport size black and white photos. Back in the day, everyone who had an HF radio had to send a photo to the government. I already found a couple old pics of people we know. Plan to post them at a later date once I've been able to find some more.
I asked one of the little girls who hangs around here how her friend who got bitten on saturday was doing and she is doing well. She needed 8 stitches, some of them on the inner layer of skin.

I guess that's about all the interesting news from here! Hope all's well on your end!