Sunday, October 28, 2007

I thought I'd take a few shots around our "neighbourhood" to give you more of an idea of where we live and what it looks like. The first photo is our house from the road. The roof to the left of ours is our neighbours roof. The second photo is of the Sentani Youth Centre which is across the road from us. The last two shots are of our road. I tried to give you an idea of how terrible our road is. The second photo gives you a better idea of how narrow the actual road is even though it is supposed to be for both ways of traffic. It also gives you an idea of how the road is eroding away on the sides...
Anyways, today we had an International Thanksgiving dinner with all the MAF folks. It was a nice time of fellowship and sharing of traditions. The food was good too, we used the only two gas grills owned by MAF folks to barbeque up some lovely chicken breast.
Wishing you all a good Sunday!
Selamat Hari Minggu - to those of you who understand - Tuhan memberkati!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The first photo is an informal shot taken by Tim Dyke last Sunday as we hung out at the MAF playground.
The second is of Hugo and Wesley working on the new radio stack in the caravan. The third photo is of what a cockpit normally looks like, at least on the pilots side.... Yikes, that's a lot of wires...
Not much else new to report aside from the fact that we can now take hot showers in our ensuite without having to wait 5-6 minutes for the warm water to make its way from our little gas water heater (no such things as hot water tanks here!) outside the house through our stainless steel water pipes (whose decision was that?) to our shower. Hugo installed an electric wall-mounted water heater with a shower attachment and so now we can have showers without wasting a ton of gas. Propane is a precious thing here as there are times when they run out and you have to wait a long time before a new shipment arrives.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stayin Cool....

Picture number one is pretty self explanitory... It's what happens when Daddy is in charge of baths...
Photo number 2 is Tim Dyk, from MAF US headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, on the left and Wesley, Indonesian tech with MAF in Sentani for 25 years, on the right. They are busy installing a new radio stack in a caravan. Looks complicated to me... Note the size difference in the guys...
Yesterday we really felt like we had gone back a century in time. We had no internet, no email, very little water, and no power. Yep, and we survived it all too! The lack of water was due to a leak being repaired at one of the houses and then the power went off and the people in charge of the water reservoir forgot to put their generator on to allow the pump to fill the reservoir again. Does that make any sense? The internet and email are recurring issues. We have internet over V-Sat so sometimes it just goes down for a while... Other than that, all is well on our end of the world. How are things on yours?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This morning after church I went for a walk around our "neighbourhood" with a few of the kids. These are some of the houses we saw while we walked. I think it is pretty obvious where all the money in this neighbourhood went . That is a very nice church isn't it? There are a lot of Christian churches here. Especially this hill that we live on; it's Dani territory. The Dani tribe are from Wamena and if I'm not mistaken was one of the first tribes to come to know Jesus.
That house in the first photo is what I call a Papuan town house complex. There are about 5/6 "houses" in that row! Pretty tiny ones, they are probably used by single people or couples. Also, just below the house surrounded by bamboo was a pen with a big pig in it. Some people here do that, raise a pig and they can make pretty good money selling the meat. I haven't tried any yet myself... I'm sure that one of these days someone will come by the door selling pig meat.
This area is so much prettier than where we lived in Bandung. There is just so much more greenery it never ceases to amaze us. Behind us is Mount Cyclops and beyond that is nothing but jungle and some villages. We really do live on the edge of the jungle here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Notes on Life Here...

  • We have trouble keeping shirts on Aidan. The first thing he does when he comes home from school is take off his shirt. He takes a pj shirt to bed with him each night, only he usually has it on his head or something…
  • So we have water now, but as there was not enough pressure to get hot water into our ensuite, they are in the process of installing a jet pump so for tonight we have water but only cold water, brrr…
  • You know you’re getting acclimatized when you find it hard to sit in your airconditioned bedroom without wearing a sweater. We have the airco set at 24C…
  • The recent earthquake put a crack in the pool up here so no swimming for a while, bummer….
  • Indonesian kids have been teaching Christiaan how to climb up a nearby tree.
  • Apparently all the imported foods are stuck in the docks of Jayapura right now, which means that there’s no oatmeal, tomato paste, mayonnaise, sandwich meat, bacon etc… available right now… double bummer...
  • There are three bridges that were damaged by the flooding. One of them has been replaced with a nice new bridge. The other two are still in the works. For those two, temporary one way bridges were set up. However, one of those bridges is now only being used by motorcycles due to the installation of something big (not sure what it is) and all cars have to go down the river bank and through the river and then back up the other side. I did it the other day, rather freakish as it can be quite slippery… I’m telling you, after driving here, I think I could drive in those off-road races….

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wildlife continued...

So one morning we go outside and find these two guys on our front porch. I guess they wanted to visit...

Yesterday and today we had flashbacks of Bandung. We had no water in the late afternoons. Turns out that the pump that pumps the water for quite a few of the houses up here was just getting old so today a bunch of MAF guys put a new one in and whew... we have water again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Yikes! At 10:15 pm we experienced an earthquake, our first since we've arrived here. You can read the details at this site:
It sure felt and sounded weird. Our metal roof was bouncing up and down and it sounded like a huge dump truck was going by only we were shaking too.
Sure reminds one of the fragility of life and that it is all in the hands of our Lord and Maker.

I know, these pictures just seem like random shots, but in reality, they are a snapshot of our day. Today we had a bit more "free" time than we've had in the recent couple weeks. We hung up a few pictures on the walls and Hugo played with Lego with the kids and made this really neat pirate ship (you can even move the rudder to steer it!). The woman in the green t-shirt is Ibu Rita who comes in three times a week to help me out and without her help I think I would be a puddle on the floor. She is 29 years old and has two little girls. She has been married for ten years and her marriage was arranged by her parents and she met her husband three months before they were married. Thankfully he's a good guy and works as a truck or bus driver. Then later in the afternoon we walked down to the pool for a swim. The kids by the fence were watching the folks playing in the pool.
Today was Idul Fitri which is the day to celebrate the end of Ramadan. People (muslims) go and visit friends and family and apologize for anything they may have done to hurt and offend them in the past year. I went into town to see if I could find some tomatoes and I did find some, but there were no stores open and only a few vendors at the market. It was very dead in town and our road was so nice and quiet today as there were no big dump trucks going up and down. I think that Ramadan is more noticeable here now than it was four years ago. The muslim population has increased quite a bit and there are definitely more mosques than before. Last night we could hear some of them going at it, but definitely not as loud and as long as Bandung (all night long...).
This week the avionics manager from MAF in Nampa, Idaho, is coming to help Hugo do a radio installation on one of the Caravans. At the same time Tim will be "checking" out Hugo. Normally pilots and mechanics are "checked out" by those in charge of those divisions but as there is no one like that here, they are doing it while doing this installation and the paperwork that comes with it. So Hugo will be quite busy in the next couple weeks. Also, it was announced this week that Hugo will be the avionics shop manager now. So he can put his experience from Pacific Avionics to good use.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Misc Notes on Life here

Since we told kids that we would buy pineapples and bananas if they came around selling them, we've had a couple groups come with those items. The kids in the photo came and sold me some pineapples. We also have ladies coming by selling tortillas and cinamon buns and french bread. I buy the tortillas and sometimes the cinamon rolls. The thing is that they don't use the good flour that we do and so there is often a bit of an odd taste to some of the breads.
At supper one day this week we were discussing which composer was the best. There was some discussion as to whether Beethoven was a dog or actually someone who made music and Aidan is convinced that Vivaldi is the best composer. Seeing as this is the first composer that he has ever been told about, I would say his opinion is just slightly biased....

Brynnie has finally stopped saying that she wants to "go home". I guess she realizes that this is our home now. Poor kid... But she sure likes sleeping on her new bunkbed.

We live in this beautiful new home with all our new stuff and some old stuff, but we don't have a phone and it looks like it will be a while before we do have a phone. The reason? There is no phone cable around for sale. We have to wait for some to arrive via boat I guess. Hmmm....

We did not celebrate thanksgiving this weekend as we are going to be having an International Thanksgiving dinner with all the MAF folks on Oct 28th. Hope you all had a nice thanksgiving weekend. This coming weekend is a holiday weekend here but for a very different reason. The past number of weeks have been Ramadan here. What a difference compared to Ramadan in Bandung! There have been a number of times that I have heard the nearest mosque going at 11:00 at night, but it is far enough away that you can just hear it and it isn't loud and annoying. This friday is Idul Fitri which is the day that celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. So this week the shops have been busier than usual as people like to shop for presents and stock up on cookies and other goodies for the Idul Fitri celebrations.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Our New Home

Well, we have been in our new home for nearly a week now. There are some things that we are getting used to. Like the sound of the Sentani youth Band practicing across the road. The sound of singing from the youth centre on Sunday morning-very neat. People hanging around the perimeter of our fence, mostly because there is shade from our trees. Or the roar of dump trucks as they pass by our house all day long and even into the night. The sounds of kids banging sticks on our metal fence. Stray dogs wandering around our yard. Wee little kids coming to the door trying to sell a positively enormous papaya (no one here likes papaya...). The fact that after 6:00 (which is when it gets dark here all year round) everyone and his uncle can see us as we have no blinds in the main living area of our house. I have ordered blinds that are made from the sago tree. I’ll post pics once I have them. The guy I ordered from came by today to show me the first two that he had made. They look great and only cost about $6 each. I know the above sounds kind of negative, but we really don’t mind any of it except the dump trucks as it sure makes devotions hard to hear...

Today after Hugo came home from work I took Aidan to get new shoes. The guy goes through footwear like crazy. Of course there’s not much made here that is built to withstand the abuse he puts his shoes through. So we headed out on the motorbike to the new mall. The store, well there are actually 2 stores open in the mall so far, was quite dead and all the little sales girls were all gaga over Aidan. And he was being quite a clown, doing a little lap around the shoe area with each pair that he tried on. Not that there were many to try on. They don’t make many velcro shoes in his size... he has enormous feet. Anyways, he wasn’t really sure what to make of all these girls fawning all over him. After that we went to head home and I discovered that we had a flat back tire on the motorbike. So I asked where I could get it fixed and thankfully there was a place not too far away. By this time it is after 6:00 and therefore dark and I mean dark. We have a very brief twilight period here and then it is really dark. I’m not sure if that’s because of the big mountains around us or what. I wanted to be able to call Hugo, but we have no home phone yet and I had left him with the cell phone. Anyways, I drove up to the place and told them that my tire was flat. The guy who helped me asked me if I wanted to replace the tire. What a stinker, tries to get me to replace the whole thing instead of just patch the tube. This place is quite hilarious. It is really tiny but they even had a pit so they could do oil changes on cars. There were tools lying around everywhere and the whole area was lit by one fluorescent bulb like those new kind that are being sold to replace the old type. I really don’t know how they could see the bubbles in their water tank. And there is no protective footwear being used, it’s good old flipflops all around. So Aidan and I sat on the wooden board provided for waiting customers and watched them work. They were really quite efficient in spite of the lack of light. And after about 15-20 minutes and 10,000 rupiahs, we were off. It sure is an adventure to ride a motorbike or a car up our hill. As I mentioned before the road is eroding in places and there are many, many potholes. So when it is dark, it is really hard to see when and where the next pothole is coming. It is even worse when you are stuck behind a dump truck... But thankfully we made it home safe and sound.

Hope all you Canadians have a wonderful thanksgiving. We are celebrating an International Thanksgiving with MAF on Oct 28.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Moving Week

Hey All. We are still alive... This was moving week for us and it was a busy, busy week. But the short of it is that we are in our own house and using our own stuff and happy about it. The house is nice and big for us and although we are on quite a busy corner, it is a nice spot. There’s always folks hanging around our fence, sometimes wandering in to sell something or to just see... There are a lot of other westerners living around here and lots of other kids for our kids to play with. We are also only a few minutes walk from the pool. Once I have some time I’ll make some photos to give you an idea of where we live and what we live in.
Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 01, 2007

So today the truck was supposed to be ready at 8am to start taking our stuff up to our new house. Well, in true Indonesian fashion, the truck was not ready and was still at the mechanic. "Could you wait until tomorrow?" they asked. Not really... Hugo is only given a certain number of days off, it really sucks to waste one of those. So our hero, Mike Brooks the base manager here, lined up another truck and things got rolling at around 11am. By about 2:30 they had all our stuff up to our house. So we've started unpacking... started being the optimal word here. Tomorrow we plan to go at it heavy. And hopefully tomorrow my washing machine will be installed and the little problems with the house, ie air conditioner that doesn't actually condition air, will be fixed.