Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blog a la Nederlanse...

Het is weer eens tijd om een Nederlandse blog te schrijven. Gisteren was het onze buurt om een verhaal te vertellen en een stuk uit de bijbel uit te leggen. Erica vertelde onze reis van Papoea naar Canada en dan hoe wij met de hulp van anderen Christiaans gehoorapparaten kregen en hoe de Here daardoor ons de gelegenheid gaf weer terug te gaan naar Indonesia. Ik heb uit gelegt hoe de bijbel een soort reisgids is en dat door middel van de Heilige Geest wij de Bijbel kunnen volgen, dit is een goede oefening voor ons aangezien wij graag de kerk in Papoea willen helpen met bijbel studie en ander kerkwerk. De Unit die we nu doen gaan meer en meer over hoe je een presentatie moeten geven.
Mikah heeft nu een goede vriend in de buurt 3 huizen verderop ze speelt er regelmatig ook met Indonesische meisjes.
Christiaans verjaardag was zeer geslaagt en hij houdt van zijn Gameboy game hij is helemaal verslaaft aan het spelletje.
Aidan heeft nog steeds plezier in school en krijgt vandaag zijn Meester op bezoek, hij begint ook meer het overleven te denken, Vanochten vroeg hij hoe Brynne uit Erica’s buik is gekomen. Hij zag de film Spirit (film over een paard) en hij zag het paard geboren worden. Dus hij vroeg worden babies geboren uit de achter kant of moet uw buik geopereerd worden mama? We hebben maar geantwoordt dat soms de Moeder naar de dokter moet voor een operatie. Hij was tevreden met dat.
Marc “speelt” nog steeds regelmatig bij de buren dat betekent dat hij TV kijkt en regelmatig daar op de bank slaapt. De buren van dat prachtig.
Brynnie is een lekker tante haar krullen bouncen op en neer en ze houd de Ibu bezich met wandelen wat ze prachtig vindt. Ze loopt regelmatig naar de deur en vraagt voor shoe wat schoenen, milk, of juice betekent.
We zijn druk bezich met het voorbereiden van onze reis naar papoea, de kratten moeten van Canada worden verstuurt en we moeten het een en’t ander hier nog kopen. We zien er naar uit om wat van jullie te horen.

Today I'd like to introduce Ibu Umi to you. Ibu Umi is one of our neighbours and the mother of Ibu Nina about whom I've written before. Ibu Umi moved here from Surabaya a long time ago. While living here she met her husband who at that time was an angkot driver. Although he was much shorter than she, they fell in love. They got married and had four children. The oldest is a girl who is married with four children and is in her mid thirties. Then comes Ibu Nina, then August who is single and about 28 and then comes Adit. Adit is only 11 years old. When Adit was about 7, his dad died. At that point Ibu Nina and her husband Aep lived with them. And they still live together. Only the oldest daughter lives somewhere else in Bandung with her family but they don't see her very often because it takes one hour by angkot for them to come. So the rest of them all live together in the one-windowed house beside us. Ibu Nina's husband works in the apotek (pharmacy) of the local hospital. I'm not exactly sure what he does there but he works from about 7 until 1 and then from 5 until everythings done. He has a strange schedule. August studied computers but hasn't been able to finish his studies since his dad died. So now he fixes motorbikes for people. Sometimes he can't fix the problem but he brings the bike to someone who can and just charges for his time. Last week he got a new cover put on our motorbike seat. He charged us 40,000 rupiahs. The cost of the repair was between 20-30,000. Now we've asked him to repair the brakes on the bike and that will cost about 60,000 rupiahs. Not even $10! Ibu Umi sells something called gado-gado and another dish made with rice boiled until it sticks together in a glob and bean sprouts and peanut sauce and tofu. Gado-gado is a kind of cold salad made with peanut sauce, potatoes, cabbage, bean sprouts and some other green vegetable. So together this family works hard to get by. But it's always hard for them. They had borrowed money from me a month ago to buy books for Adit for school and they paid me back on time. A few days ago they borrowed to pay Adit's school fees. It costs 45,000 rupiahs a month for him to go to school. That's just over $5. Because they had to pay for the books they didn't have money to pay the three month installment for school. Adit was called to the school office about it and he was very embarassed. So I leant them the money. I like to help this family because I can see that they work very hard and live very humbly. They are also very happy to help me with my homework. On mornings that she needs to buy ingredients for her dishes that she sells, Ibu Umi goes to the market at 4:00 am. Ibu Nina's husband brings her there on his motorbike. He does this because if he didn't, she would have to pay for the transportation on the angkot and she would have to wait a very long time to get home as it is very busy then. Once she comes home she gets the ingredients ready by washing them and cooking the ones that need to be cooked. Remember how I described their house? There isn't one single sink in the entire house. Once everything is ready she helps Ibu Nina with her baby and with washing the clothes. Ibu Nina is too scared to wash her little baby, so Ibu Umi does it. Around 9:00 Ibu Umi brings her stuff up to her cart and begins to get it ready for the day. On an average day she earns about 20,000 rups on a busier day she might earn 30,000 rups. I have discovered here that the mark-up on things is incredibly low. Most people only earn about 10%. This money that she earns she uses to by food and to pay for Adit's transportation to school. It costs him 4,000 rups a day to get to school and back. Sometimes she gives him an extra 1,000 so he can buy something to eat at school. He is only in school for a few hours a day so he doesn't need to bring lunch with.

I feel bad sometimes when I buy things that for me are cheap but for them are a small fortune. Like yesterday I bought some Reebok flip flops that are that nice light rubber material for 100,000 rupiahs. That's about $12.50 CDN. Back home the same sandals would probably cost around $20-25. But for them to spend that much on sandals is just incomprenendable.

Tomorrow I am planning to take Ibu Nina with her daughter Asila and my other neighbour Ibu Sri and her boy Bilal to the Jump'n Gym again. I have some coupons and I know how they love it. These people never get to anywhere because they just simply can't afford to. Even to pay for the angkot is a hardship for them. Hopefully Marc isn't sick, he didn't eat supper today, he just went to bed.

Today Aidan had his teacher over to play. He was so excited about it and then Mr. Adams even stayed for supper! Aidan was over the moon about it. Very cute.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

For all of you who were waiting with bated breath to find out if your guesses were correct, here are the answers:
fokus = focus
Inggris = English
coklat = chocolate
sekolah = school
gubernur = governor
presiden = president
Cina = China
teori = theory
foto = photograph
presentasi = presentation
air = water
amplop = envelope
motor = motorcycle
bis = bus
dokter = doctor
turis = tourist
potret = portrait
bola = ball
kualitas = quality
vokal = vocal
agen = agent
demokrasi = democracy

Here in Indonesia as of late there have been a lot of disasters. Some natural, some man-caused. There is a mud volcano in East Java that has been spewing mud for nine months now. So far it has swallowed up five villages. Lots of experts from other countries have been brought in to discuss this and see what can be done. Some blame it on the Yogjakarta earthquake, others blame it on the oil drilling that is being done there. But some Indonesian experts have come up with a fabulous idea. Their idea is to drop a ton (or more) of concrete balls attached by chains into the volcano itself. They think this might help slow the flow of mud.... What do you think?

Friday, February 23, 2007

The completion of today's class marked the half-way point for us! I can't believe it!? Although on the one hand it feels like we should be farther than half way on the other hand just a few months ago we could hardly speak Indonesian...
The following is a list of Indonesian words. See if you can tell what they mean... Remember the letter "c" is pronounced like "ch"...


Monday, February 19, 2007

So we got day 1 of week 2 under our belt today. Unit five is much the same as unit four but with some new vocabulary. We still have to go out and ask people questions and then write up their answers. We also have to make sentences using a root word and changing it to fit different senarios. The Indonesian language has only one tense but has active and passive sentences. So it's not nearly so hard as english in that sense.
It's been raining a tremendous amount here. According to the locals that's because it is Imlek-the chinese new year. They say that it always rains a lot the month of the chinese new year. They don't really like chinese here, so they are an easy scapegoat... I told my neighbour that I felt like I was back home in Canada where we can have rain for an entire month. And she said, "Oh, you have Imlek there too?" Quite hilarious!!
Otherwise things are just fine out here. For the time being, we are all healthy!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Today we finally managed to visit Ibu Mesiyah at her house. We took an angkot to the entrance of her gang and then proceeded to walk down, down, down. She lives unbelievably far down into her kampung. The houses are even closer together than in our kampung and you can’t take a motor bike down to the bottom! Finally, when we were almost down by the river, the same one that flows below our kampung, we reached her home. I thought our neighbours had a small house… Wow, her house is tiny, but cute. The photo was taken while I was standing in her front doorway. To the left is the kitchen and washroom and beside the fridge is a tiny bedroom. (note: there is absolutely no sink in the entire house) Up the freaky stairs are two small bedrooms and a sitting area. The nice couch area in the photo is the official guest area. If they are hanging out they sit upstairs. That’s why her furniture looks so nice. It’s quite old, but they only use it when they have guests. Ibu Mesiyah lives in this house with her two daughters and her younger sister. Ibu Mesiyah was married while still young to a man quite a bit older. The marriage was arranged by both sets of parents. At first Ibu didn’t want to get married to her husband, but he liked her right away. But after they got married, she fell in love with her husband. He was a very good man. Sadly, he died in a car accident about seventeen years ago. So Ibu Mesiyah had to work to support herself and her daughters. In the late 1980’s (I think) she had the opportunity to go to Saudia Arabia with the family that she worked for. She knew that if she took the opportunity to go, she would be able to save money to buy her own house and be able to pay for her daughters to go to university or college. I believe she stayed there for three years. Although, if I understand correctly, there was some time spent in Malaysia as well. While Ibu lived in Saudia Arabia she had the opportunity to go to Mecca with her boss’s family a few times. So she has actually achieved the title of Haji. That is the title given to women who’ve been to Mecca. Being able to go to Mecca made her very happy. There are five pillars to the muslim faith and going to Mecca is one of them. Normally, when a woman has achieved haji, they wear a head covering. But her theory is that the head covering isn’t what makes her a good person, it’s what’s inside her heart. So she only wears one on special occasions. When she returned from Saudia Arabia she was able to buy her house, although at that time it was really old and in need of a lot of work. It also only had one floor. She only recently put in the second floor. Although, according to Hugo, it is not the strongest floor ever built. It is made by 2x4’s with plywood on top and when people are walking on it you can see the 2x4’s straining… You’ll notice that she has a rather large fridge. This is quite unusual as most people can’t even afford a fridge, never mind a large one like that with a big freezer on top. Ibu was able to buy it cheaply from a family that she used to work for.
Ibu had made donuts and these other deep fried things made with flattened bread, chicken, carrots and spice. Then she had made a chicken curry dish with rice that has been cooked inside banana leaves until it becomes a solid mass. I wondered how it would go with all seven of us in her house, but it went pretty well. The nice thing about visiting Indonesian folks is that they basically take over Brynnie so we don’t have to run after her and keep her out of trouble. Of course, Ibu had to take Brynnie around to the neighbours and show her off. They all think she looks just like a doll. We think so too… Ibu put on a video for the other kids and that kept them in one place so it went rather well I think. Now in two weeks we hope to visit Ibu Tati then I can tell you her interesting life story.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Today was Christiaan's 7th birthday. We had a party at the pool with the boys from his class and his buddy Jalen from down the hill here. They had a great time. Ibu Tati and I made his cake to look like an X-Box. On the way to the pool, part of the box of the X-box fell down, but it still tasted good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So last night someone decided that they really, really wanted to have our bike. It is a rather nice looking bike I must say. However, Hugo always puts a lock on the front wheel (see photo). So I guess whoever tried to steal the bike got a bit angry that he couldn't steal it, so he decided to take a knife to the seat. Thankfully, the seat is just cheap vinyl and we can easily get a new cover put on. Thankfully he didn't decide to take a knife to the body of the bike. I guess we'll have to start putting the bike in the house at night....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On Friday Hugo and I helped out a new couple that's just come here from New Zealand. They are with MAF and will be heading off to Medan, Aceh when they are done language training. Here you have to show the ropes to all new people or it is incredibly difficult for them to do anything especially with no language. We're still so thankful for the help of the other families when we first arrived.
Friday evening we took the kids to Bandung Hypersquare. There is a playground there with a tree house, swinging bridge, slide etc... But the best part was that there were bikes the kids could ride. For Mikah, Christiaan and Aidan, it has been about 7 months since they've ridden a bicycle. We met our friends David and Santi there for supper and then the kids went and played again.
Today, Sunday, we took an angkot to church and I think we broke the record for number of people on board one angkot. I believe it was 21 including the driver. Aidan was in the front seat, not a bench seat, with two other guys; very cozy... But I think we got to church in record time too as the angkot was pretty much full right away, the driver just bombed down the hill.
Now it is pouring rain. We haven't had a ton of rain lately so that's okay. Tomorrow it is back to school again. We are over half way done!! Yippeeeee!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Afgelopen maandag ochtend is een van onze oudere buren over leden hij was een leraar aan een christelijke basis school. Hij was een 63 jarig man die mij graag hielp met mijn huiswerk en zeer vriendelijk was tegen alle buren. Een van de winkel eigenaars waar ik ook regelmatig mee praat zei dat hij het ongelovelijk vond dat ze als Christenen zolang tussen de moslims konden wonen, en dan ook zo’n goede relatie hebben met hun buren. Deze man heeft een ongelovelijke invloed gehad op de buren het is dan ook zeer jammer te zien dat zijn kinderen niet het zelfde karakter hebben. Bid dan ook voor zijn vrouw, twee zoons, en twee dochters die niet sterk in hun geloof staan.Ook hier is de gewoont anders dan dat wij gewent zijn, hij was opgebaart in de woonkamer en we hadden maandag avond een bijeenkomst met zijn familie en vrienden in de woonkamer dat normaal gesproken al vol is met zo’n 10 mensen maar er waren er zo’n 40. De begravenis was dinsdag wat ongewoon is voor Indonesische begrippen anngezien normaal gesproken de begravenis de zelfde dag van overlijden is dit is de moslim gewoonte.

Yesterday I took the two neighbour ladies and their kids along with Marc and Brynne to the Jump'n Gym. The neighbour kids had never been there and were so excited that the night before Asila didn't want to go to sleep because she was afraid we would leave without her. That morning Bilal didn't want to go to preschool because he was afraid we would leave him behind too. They had such a nice time together and myself and the two ladies got to walk around the mall. Both of them had never been to the mall either. Not that it's such a great thing to go there as it is generally rather expensive. I wouldn't buy clothes there either. But it was an experience for them all. Then we went to McDonalds for lunch. It's quite hilarious because they all wanted rice and chicken-it's chicken like KFC chicken. They thought it was rather strange that Marc, Brynne and I didn't eat rice. Because, you know, you're not really full until you've had rice to eat... It was a really fun day and I hope I can take them to the Jump'n Gym again sometime. For us it is quite cheap during the week, less than $2 per child, but for them they can't help but think about how much rice they could buy for 15,000 rupiah. The kids here hardly ever go anywhere. They hardly ever leave the area around our houses. So I'm glad to be able to give them a fun experience.

Today Hugo and I went up to the hot springs. And you have to go up to get there. We were up pretty high in the mountains and I was thankful to be wearing my WindRiver rain proof jacket. It didn't really rain, but the wind was quite chilly. The hot springs area is neat. It is quite old and in need of some updating, but the pools were nice. You can also rent a private bath room to enjoy the hot water in peace and quiet.

This sign we saw on our way home. It says "dua (2) anak (kids) cukup (enough) and then "KB" which means birth control....

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Today we didn't go to the funeral service. Last night there was a service in the home of Pak Sandroto's family. Hugo went there and squished into the house along with a ton of other people. There were so many people there that they were sitting outside the house along the gong. Of course, as at all events here, they used a microphone with amplifier so everyone could hear. I could hear the singing at our house. This morning they had another small service at the house before the body was picked up by the "mobil jenaza"-literally meaning "corpse car". It's basically a van with lights on top of it. There was to be another service far away from here. Here there are normally three kinds of cemetaries. Those where christians and muslims can bury their dead and then there are separate ones for each religion. It depends on where you live. Because we are in the big city, there are designated spots for christians to bury their dead. The muslims here prefer it if there is no mixing. We did not go to that service as we found out yesterday that one of our teachers was in the hospital with hepatitis A. We rent our motorbike from Pak Okie. So this morning we went to visit him. He's pretty exhausted right now. Here in Indonesia they really look at things differently than we do in North America. There is no antibiotics for Hepatitis A as it is a virus. You just need a lot of rest and fluids and avoid fatty foods. However, Pak Okie has to take two different kinds of "medicine" three times a day. Who knows what they're getting him to take. The ward that he is in looks like something out of a movie set in the 1950's. Nurses wearing white uniforms and the traditional hats. Even the room doors were retro. But it was very clean and quiet there. Of course, here when you visit a sick person you are expected to give an envelope containing money...
After that we travelled around Bandung looking for this big store called ACE. It's an american store that sells almost anything you'd need for your home and a lot of it is imported. We wanted to start checking out the prices of appliances that we'll need to get when we move to Papua. They're a lot cheaper here and there's a lot more selection. Anyways, by lunch time we still hadn't found it. We even asked some people if they knew where it was. I think we asked the three people out of the 6 million living here who don't know where the store is... Anyways, we had lunch and then called a friend who gave us directions. On our journeys this morning we really got to experience the culture and smells here. I wish we had smellmail so I could give you an idea of what it's like. We drove around so much that the tops of Hugo's hands were burnt by the sun. I felt so dirty by the time we got home all I wanted to do was have a shower. There is so much pollution here and more than one time we ended up behind a belching bus, cough, cough... But we finally made it to Ace and I got my bottle of Shout stain remover for $7. Insanely expensive, but the only absolute kind of stain remover you can find anywhere here. So I'll take what I can get.
Tomorrow the plan is to take the two neighbour ladies and their kids to the Jump'n Gym. They've never been so they're pretty excited about it.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This morning the owner of the house we live in died. Hugo often went to his house, as it is very near ours, to talk with him and get his homework answers. Recently Hugo found out that Pak Sandroto was a Christian and had previously been a teacher at a local Christian school. A while ago he had already suffered a stroke and was wheel chair bound. This prevented him from getting out much so he was always sitting in his chair out on his balcony and he loved it when Hugo came by to chat. Last night at 2:00 he passed on. This morning Hugo and I went to their house to give our condolences and of course, an envelope with money in it. They had the body lying on a mattress in their guest room; the room you first enter into when entering the house. When we entered, the body was completely covered but they asked if we wanted to see him. So Hugo said okay and they pulled the blanket over his face down. He looked very peaceful. This was my first time seeing the body of a recently deceased person. It was strange to look at a person and not see their chest rise and fall.
When you greet or say good-bye to people here of the Sundanese culture you put your hands together and bring them towards the other person. They will do the same and one of their hands will briefly go in between your two. You also slightly bow your head down. We did this when we arrived at the house and when we left. Tomorrow is the funeral service and we plan to attend if possible. We don’t have school this week. This morning we had our evaluation and we have both passed onto unit 5 and we both had positive evaluations.

Apparently this super hero can't finish his breakfast because he doesn't have a mouth....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Three days ago the ATM's at our local 7/11 (tuju (7) sebelas (11)) were robbed. It happened early in the morning and the thieves made off with 500,000,000 Rupiah. Quite a sum of money. About $64,102 CAD! Apparently there were guns involved. Just to be on the safe side, the police arrested all the store workers in the area, all the angkot drivers and all those walking around the area at the time. Just to be safe... Anyways, today it was all still closed. But it turned out to be a good thing for us as it forced us to go to a different bank machine. I managed to find one that will let us take out even more money than the ones that were robbed! This is very exciting as we pay $5 each time we withdraw funds out here. So there was a silver lining to this whole event...

Today Mikah and I went shopping. Took an angkot and took a couple pics inside to give you an idea of what it is like:

This fruit is called rambutan and it is in season here right now. You break open the fuzzy red things and inside is a fruit that looks like a grape without the peel. Inside that is a pit. It is quite sweet and tasty, but sure makes a lot of garbage!

Hope you all have a good Sunday!