Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today the three oldest were home with the fever virus that afflicted Marc earlier this week and Brynnie on the weekend. There's always weird viruses floating around here. Aidan said his head really hurt so I took him to the Apotik (pharmacy type place) to have a malaria test done. Apparently that is one of the most common signs of malaria. We head to the back to this little room labelled "Laboratorium". Quite hilarious. Just a little room with a desk, sink and a cupboard along one wall with a countertop on it. On there was a hair dryer, microscope and some other lab-type piece of equipment. There are no sterile-looking uniforms to be found. A young guy in jeans and a t-shirt pricked Aidan's finger and put some blood on a slide. Then he was looking around a bit and rummaged in the garbage can where he had just thrown the poker thingy and retrieved it and used it to smear the blood around on the slide. Hmmm... that's not going to contaminate the sample is it? He puts the slide in front of the hair dryer and turns it on. Then I get a little piece of pink paper and am told to go pay up front. Brynnie has to pee. I ask if there is a kamar kecil (literal translation: small room). Yes there is, around the corner. We go and see that it is a squatty potty, but actually very clean with no layer of water on the floor (they think that if there is water on the floor it is clean...). Hold her above and she actually goes and I manage not to drop her in. Then we pay and get the phone number to phone later for the results. The test cost me 5,000 rupiahs which at todays current exchange rate is about .55 cents... I better save the receipt for later reimbursement by our insurance... I called later and the results were negative. I had given Aidan the local version of tylenol (they actually have chewable tablets for kids!!) and it brought his fever down. Usually tylenol, or panadol as it is called here, doesn't bring down a malaria fever.
A sight that I don't think I'll ever get used to: Two big burly Papuan men holding hands... perfectly normal cultural behaviour. Members of the same gender may show public affection, but members of opposite genders may not.
I was talking to a woman who is a nurse and lived here for many years with her husband and children. She now lives in Greece and comes here twice a year to visit all the mission folks that she can and dispense advice etc.. She said that after having dengue fever you can have some bleeding under your skin. So it is quite possible that Brynnie had a case of dengue fever when she was sick that one week. Lets hope that's what it was and that it won't come back! Once you've had dengue, if I'm not mistaken, you are immune for a while.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tropical hockey - Today the boys were eager to play hockey outside and as our big cement pad is only literally half done, they played on the little slice of cement beside the house. It didn't take long and they had their own spectators cheering them on...

When we were packing our crates and deciding what to take with, what to give away/sell, and what to store, I did decide to take a few items to Papua that have meaning to me. These aren't all of them...
The carved elephant my parents gave to Hugo after their trip to South Africa before we were married. The green tea pot was a gift from my grandmother (mom's side) when we visited her on our honeymoon, the little candle holder beside it I bought at the Liquidation World within walking distance of our house in Aldergrove, the Alaskan Ulu was a gift from the in-laws after their trip to Alaska (great for cutting pizza), the handmade bowl was made by my artsy sis Lynn (She might not even know that I have it... ) the little black bicycle we bought in a shop in Holland on our honeymoon and finally, the little white vase was a gift from my closest friend Pearl. All of these items except the elephant are sitting on the window sill above my sink so whenever I am working there I am reminded of my friends and family... sniff, sniff... I have a cold, really...
Health update: Brynnie's spots look a lot better today. She had a few hive-like ones today but the purple ones are starting to fade a bit. I have stopped using fabric softener in the washing machine, maybe that was the problem... Marc is sick however. Remember on the weekend Brynnie had some fevers, now Marc has it. It is a weird little virus that only makes you have a low grade fever and feel somewhat tired. Nothing else. I'm telling you, this place is the place of weird sicknesses...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This is what Brynnie's leg looks like. Anyone seen anything like this before? Some of the spots seem to turn into purple bruises and others just go away like an allergy spot....
No more fevers since yesterday morning though.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ever seen a citrus fruit this big? It's about the size of Marc's head!! It's called jeruk bali. It's like a pemello which is like a grape fruit only not quite as sour or juicy.

Last night and this morning Brynnie was running a fever and her spots are worse than ever. She's still quite happy and active in spite of it all. Please pray that we will find out what they are and what to do for them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You know you've lived in the tropics for a while when your 8 year old son says:
"Wouldn't it be cool if you had an airconditioner in your room only it blew out warm air?"
Guess he's forgotten the concept of a furnace...


Brynnie still has her spots. They seem to turn purple and look like little bruises. Weird. They did a little blood test at the expat clinic and her leukocytes were normal and there was no bacteria. Although, she could still have a virus... We are trying to see if reducing the sugar in her diet will help. So we've started by cutting out refined sugars. The other day you could tell she was craving sugar when she wolfed down tons of pineapple.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In the past couple months we have had some donations come to us through the MAF US website. We are so thankful for those - thanks!! - but, if you want to donate to us online, it is easier if you do so through the MAF Canada site here:
All of our support is done through MAF Canada and we are on loan from them to MAF US. Confusing huh?
Well, we survived the birthday party on Friday... 15 7-8 year olds... water.... mud... you get the picture... except I forgot my camera and haven't managed to get any photos from Adel deHaan yet.
The concrete pad behind our house, against our house, is done!! Yeah!!! Now they have to work on our little sports pad...
Brynnie is still very spotty, but also very happy so that's good. She is pretty much toilet-trained too!! What a relief! Diapers here, the only good ones are from Korea and called Mamy Poko, are rather pricey.
That's the scoop! Selamat Hari Minggu!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So today I got real celery for the first time in 1.5 years! You could find some imported celery in the import store in Bandung, but it was a fortune and came on a boat from Korea or Japan or something. Here you can only buy celery that’s like a herb for soup. This stuff that I just bought was grown in a mountain village. Hopefully we’ll be able to get it more often.
Brynnie has had a mysterious rashy maybe fungal-type thing all over her body for a few days now. Poor kid, she looks rather diseased. This is different than the other spots that she had before-those looked just like chicken pox only weren’t. And just today a new doctor came into the clinic. He is an older gentleman from Finland who hopes to work here and in the villages to provide medical care. He said he thinks he knows what it is but didn’t want to give any medicine just wants to see her again next week. Okay…
Today the kids had International Day at school. Mikah’s class did Indonesia, Christiaan’s class did Mexico and Aidan’s class did Canada. I have to say that Aidan’s class, led by Jeanette Togeretz, did a fabulous presentation. Myself and another Canadian mom put together a little hockey shooting activity. Fun stuff!
Christiaan enjoyed turning 8. We didn’t actually eat cake today. He had so much candy and chocolate at school already… tomorrow is the party and then we will eat chocolate cupcakes. Yes, I still have some flour in my cupboards. I also managed to get some other repackaged flour and threw it in my freezer to kill any eggs that might be in it. Hopefully it tastes okay…

Photo 1 - Aidan informing everyone that Canada has two official languages...
Photo 2 - Christiaan and his class counting to twelve in Spanish
Photo 3 - Mikah and her class all wore traditional sarongs
Photo 4 - Christiaan opening his new playstation game
Photo 5 - I love these early morning photo ops, everyone always looks so stellar!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yesterday a woman was beaten to death by her husband and then found by the side of the road by a motorbike taxi guy. The husband escaped and has so far not yet been caught. Who knows if the police here even really want to try and find him especially if he’s gone into the jungle.

There’s a real shortage of flour on the island right now. I still have a few bags in my cupboard but that’ll be gone this afternoon once I make bread… hope the boat comes in soon! We might have to go local and eat rice at every meal instead…

The work on the concrete around our house is going at the typical Indonesian pace; galatial… They are supposed to work some more on Friday and Saturday this week.

Tomorrow is Christiaan’s 8th birthday. He will be having a combined class b-day party with Aidan deHaan on Friday. Nicole - we invited the whole class, 13 kids or so, and are hosting the party at the school playground and outdoor covered cafeteria...

Tomorrow is also International Day at the school. Aidan’s class is doing Canada. Yeah!!! So I’m helping with a little hockey booth where kids can take shots and try to score through one of three holes. Should be fun!

We are heavy into toilet training these days. And I must say that things are going amazingly well. As long as I don’t tell Brynnie when to sit on the toilet or potty it’s all good; the little stinker… wants to go when she feels she has to go… But we’ve got number one and number two all happening in the potty or on the toilet with only a rare accident!!!!!!!!!! I’m a very proud mother….

Lately the kids have been talking about missing slushies from the gas station and Tim Hortons timbits. But if anyone of you has any ideas about sending those items to us, no thanks… :0)

Hugo and the avionics team are making good headway on the plane from Aceh. This week Tim Dyke the avionics manager from MAF in Nampa is coming to help out.

Earlier this week we had no phone, no internet and no email… yikes, talk about feeling isolated from the rest of the world…

I mentioned before that there have been soccer games across the road from us every day. Well, the other day the women/girls were playing and someone decided that for those games they needed to have a play-by-play being screamed through a fog horn… So that’s how we ate supper that night, to the sound of distorted play-by-play (they always turn anything with a speaker to max volume so the sound is always distorted.) Someone also decided that it would be nice to have a sound system for music going. So every now and then they’ll play some music. So we have been treated to Abba, Celine Dion, some popular Indonesian singers etc… but rarely do we get to hear the whole song. They seem to play random snippets at random moments… and very, very loud….

Yup, so that’s what’s happenin’ down our way these days….

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bits and Bites...

Yesterday a couple guys came and started to prepare the ground behind our house for some concrete. I took the two photos above this morning as they continued working along with Hugo and one more guy. Man, Papuans work at a galacial pace. It can be quite painful to watch... so I try not to. Now I understand why it took sooo long for our house to be finished. So the plan is to have concrete at the back of the house where we have our generator and gas tanks etc... instead of just dirt which is kind of well, dirty... The other big patch of cement is for the kids to play on. There's nowhere around here where they can play hockey or basketball or write with sidewalk chalk etc... The kids are very excited about this!
Then this afternoon the young man in the lower photo came by with a black backpack and asks me if I want to buy (I forget the exact word he said, something like anggur... which actually means grapes). I thought maybe he meant some kind of food and then he opens up the bag and takes out a tree kangaroo! This is not the first time someone has come by selling live animals. We've had a guy come with a snake wrapped around his arm (the mouth was taped shut) and some ladies came with a couple rabbits before too. Anyways, I told the young guy that we really didn't want any pets as we already have five kids. Never mind the fact that this little guy will get pretty big and where in the world would we keep something like that! I asked him some questions about it. It came from somewhere far away on the island, I forget the name, but he took it here on a plane. He's had the kangaroo since it was a baby and it is now two years old. It's been his pet. I asked him how he could sell a pet that he had taken care of for so long? He just shrugged his shoulders. Maybe he needs the money for school. That wild shirt he is wearing is a school uniform. Anyways, he said that because it was still young, he would sell it for 1 juta (million) rupiahs. That's more than one months wages for the average worker, but still not much for two years of nurturing. Anyways, the animal was cute and quite tame but I sent him on his way and told him not to waste his time going to the neighbours as everyone already has all the pets they want.
This past week we got word that the local men of Pos 7 (our hill) were going to "fix" the road. Now, our road is the absolute worst road in Sentani, bar none. Months of big dump trucks bumping up and down have just wrecked the road. So one morning a bunch of guys were out there and filled all the pot holes with dirt. Which is fine.... if it doesn't rain really hard... like today and yesterday and the day before.... It can be quite treacherous to navigate the road in the rain on a little motorbike like ours. Well, it's actually called a "bebek" which means "duck". It is just not designed for off-roading...
Oh, BTW, Pak Nuel's wife had a girl and it was their 5th child, not their sixth. It is really hard to get information out of this guy... I ask him if he likes to drink sugar in his coffee or just drink the three-in-one coffe the way it is (super sweet already). And he says, oh, just the way it is. Then a few days later he comes to me and tells me that all the sugar is gone. Oh, I guess you do like to add sugar to your coffee... Ah, cross-cultural communication...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today was a Papuan holiday celebrating the day that the Gospel entered the province. Apparently there were quite the festivities down town. The kids had the day off school today. After I took Christiaan to the dentist (there is an American dentist here and he is great!) we hung out at the pool with some other moms and kids for 4 hours. As it was an overcast day I did not put sunblock on the kids… oops, a couple got burned anyways…

This morning as we were coming home from the dentist and driving up our hill, a burly Papuan guy with longish dreads and holding a very large machete was standing in the middle of the road. So I stopped the car a little shaky inside wondering what he was going to do with the machete. He approached my side of the car and made the international sign for money rubbing his fingers together. I replied,”Untuk apa?” Meaning, “What for?” We repeated this exchange another time and then he waved me on. What was that about? Although I'm thinking some imbibing may have been a factor...

Big news, Pak Nuel's wife had a baby yesterday. Their sixth child. I haven't talked with him yet so I don't know if it is a boy or girl or any other important details.

Monday, February 04, 2008


  • Our new guard seems to be working out swell so far - he comes on time!!

  • The power has been going off more often and for longer periods again. Wonder if they are running out of diesel down at the power station…

  • This week a 737 was coming in for a landing in Merauke (city down in the south of Papua) and one of the engines injested a big cow… Well, the cow and the engine are toast…

  • Last night Icelina was playing with a big knife, they do that here, and cut herself badly so today she couldn’t sweep and mop today – which is the bulk of what she does around here…

  • Our minister preached as normal yesterday. Guess the problems are worked out for now…

  • The new building that we are going to meet in is almost ready, just needs some painting yet.

  • Today we had our A/C’s cleaned for the first time. Wow! Was the one in our bedroom ever dirty! It actually runs quietly now and doesn’t make the window panes rattle anymore!

  • This morning a truck came by spraying out chemicals to kill mosquitoes – what a nasty smell!

  • There’s been a soccer tournament going on across the road from us. It’s a small field so I think it is just 4 on 4 but every afternoon there’s a game. And there’s always some enterprising folks who bring out a little table and try to sell pina (beetle nut-nasty nut that they chew along with some kind of powder which makes the juices red along with the inside of their mouths – yuck!!) beside our fence.
  • Brynnie is eating normally again!!
  • So is Hugo… he was sick from Thursday to Saturday.

  • And to finish off, a completely gratuitous photo of Brynnie:

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Well, we are trying out a new guard/yard guy this month. I think he’s going to work out just fine. He has completed theological school and wants to further his education. His wife is expecting their sixth child. Their oldest is a sixteen year old boy who can cover for his dad if he has church responsibilities or is sick. Nuel doesn’t have his own church yet but he does help out in a church. Seems like a more stable kind of guy.
Today the guard for the MAF house across the road from us, and up a little hill, came and told us that he had seen two guys break the metal bar and go in but he yelled at them so they took off. Obviously Yoben, our old guard, was either sleeping or “away” while that happened. I’m thankful that the other guard noticed them. Really, all people want is to steal stuff and we really don’t have much outside for them to steal. I usually make sure that all our good shoes and sandals are in at night. Our generator is outside but it is heavy and there is no way they could have gotten it through the opening there. So guards here are mostly for theft. Sometimes drunk guys will come by, but it doesn’t happen often where we are. But I still feel safer knowing that there is someone keeping an eye on things.
As far as the fence. It really didn’t take any getting used to Lisa. We’re just glad to have it. We actually have bars in all our windows too. But they are kind of like wrought iron so they don’t look bad. A while back an expat family had their house broken into through a section of glass blocks in their bathroom wall. Barred windows are impossible to get into so the thieves broke the glass blocks. They then stole everything they could and burned the house down. This happened around Christmas and the family was at a village in the interior. It was quite a traumatic experience. So we’re all being a little more careful these days….

Friday, February 01, 2008

More "fun" stuff...

The fun never ends here. Today we had to fire our guard/yard guy. He had been kind of slacking off lately and coming in really late and then Sunday night he didn't come in at all. Saturday night someone cut one of the metal bars of our fence so now people can come in. Wonder where he was when that happened? But the real reason we have to fire him is because he was found to be fooling around with women in the middle of the night when he was supposed to be guarding our house. He would quickly run out and then come back afterwards so we never knew. There's an older Papuan MAF worker who facilitates the hiring of guards and yard workers here. He said that he called together all the people around, I think they're all related, and they punished Yoben. He has to pay four million rupiah (4 juta), one for each woman, by March. Apparently he also has to marry one of them. Soooo.... While back home we would never be allowed to fire someone over a moral issue such as this, unless it was interfering with work, which actually this was, it is important for us to stand behind the community on this issue. If we were to say, "Oh, we'll let him continue working for us in spite of everything." That would have a very detrimental effect. We have to be an example here and we have to show that we also agree that his actions were not right and that he should be punished. It's really too bad because when he did do work for us, he did a pretty good job and he has made our yard look quite nice. But like I've said before, this is a huge problem here and we need to help change that in whatever way we can.

On another note, I'd like to ask you all to remember the MAF programs in Chad and Kenya in your prayers. The political situations in these two countries is very volatile right now and there is much violence and senseless killing occurring. MAF planes have been busy evacuating people who are in danger but at some point may need to evacuate themselves. Please pray that the situation could be restored to a peaceful one and that the work of spreading the gospel in those countries may continue.