Sunday, March 30, 2008

It’s been a few days since my last update…
*Aidan’s trip to the dentist was a relief for him. The dentist said that we could wait until Aidan’s big teeth are in before cutting the skin. In the meantime we can hope that Aidan will fall and bump his mouth and it will break on its own. Considering how often Aidan trips and falls it is a miracle that it hasn’t happened yet.
*Hugo worked a few hours a day for three days last week. This week he’ll start by working for the full morning and see how that goes. The lovely rash is gone so that’s a good sign that he’s well on the way to recovery.
*I went to see Rita on Thursday and she is doing better. She’s just a bit behind Hugo in the healing process. I actually brought Ken and Shirley Keeler to her house so they could see how the locals live here. Ken is on the board of directors of MAF Canada and their daughter and her husband are teaching at HIS right now. Kathryn is Mikah’s teacher. Then we went out for supper with them while Jeanette Togeretz babysat our kids. That was a rare treat.
*On Friday morning my neighbour Janna and I drove on her motorbike to Jayapura. It’s about a 45 minute ride. We had booked tickets to go to Singapore next month and the lady in the MAF office misunderstood us and we ended up having to pay for our tickets at the Garuda Airlines office in Jayapura. We also needed a few names changed as they were misspelled on the reservation. We had to wait for one hour for them to process our tickets and payments… ugghhh… We are both going to Singapore for medical reasons and decided it would be fun to travel together. I am taking Christiaan for his annual hearing test along with new ear molds and some equipment repairs. I am also going to get my eyes checked. The clinic that Christiaan is going to is the flagship clinic of Hearing Solution which is where we went in Bandung. Our medical insurance recommended we go to Singapore as opposed to Jakarta and I have to admit that I am happy about that. The medical system in Singapore has an incredible reputation. Anyways, Janna and I made the drive without anything eventful happening. We did pass a motorcycle accident on the way and we watched some guys pick up one of the victims, a man, by his arms and legs and move him to the side of the road so that traffic could keep going. The man’s helmet had come off during the crash and he had a bleeding head wound and when they carried him his head lolled down. No thought for the possibility of a spinal injury or the like… So passing that while riding a motorbike was a little disconcerting. In Canada we may have stopped to offer some assistance, but here, unless we are directly involved, we don’t stop. Doing that could have some weird effects, such as suddenly we are responsible for hospital bills… We passed the ambulance a couple minutes later down the road.
*Wayne (see previous post) and Clarence Togeretz successfully flew the completed aircraft back to Medan this past week. This was the airplane that Hugo and the guys had installed a new avionics package into. It was about 18 hours of flying!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bits and Bites...

*Yesterday we had an Easter service and a hunt for plastic eggs... hmmm... and a krupuk eating contest - the krupuk is hanging from strings and you have to try to eat it without grabbing it with your hands. Throughout the "events" there was of course, loud music, Christian of course, playing. And there were lots of bite-sized goodies, many deep-fried, to eat.
*During the service we sat next to a tiny Dani man, wearing western clothes thankfully, and a bright pink toque. Yes, you read right, a bright pink toque. It was not cold...

*Hugo made it to church but spent the rest of the day attached to the couch...

*Warning to all who are considering visiting us, this (see photo) is what we require all guests to do after we're finished eating... (Just kidding...)
This is our friend Wayne, originally from New Zealand, now living in Medan. Thanks for the visit Wayne, so fun to catch up with you again! - This one was for you Rosie!
*Today I popped by Rita's house to check on her. Did the ole manual dehydration test by pinching the skin on her hand and all was good. She looked pretty good so that was encouraging.
*Tomorrow Aidan is supposed to get the little flap of skin under his upper lip snipped. It goes down inbetween his two front teeth and is causing them to spread apart... We'll see how that all goes down....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I am not only Mom in our household, I am also the official tooth extractor. I remember when I was a wee lass of six years old, my mother unsuccessfully attempted to extract my first loose tooth. My screams brought the neighbours to the door who rather rudely requested that we keep the noise level down... Let's just say that we only lived in that house, a town house, for a very short period of time mostly due to those very neighbours... Anyways, after my mother's unsuccessful attempts, I was sent upstairs to see my father who said, as he would many times in the future, "I'm just going to feel it..." And before I knew it, there was the offensive incisor in his hand.

Aidan was not nearly so gullible. I had already felt his tooth many times and sometimes not so gently. So, in the end I had to hold him up against the wall and then just push his tooth out. His earsplitting cries quickly turned to joyful ones as he grinned at himself in the mirror. And when told that he looked just like a hockey player, his chest puffed out just a little more... The 10,000 rupiahs that the tooth fairy so generously donated helped even more...

I teach preschool at our house every other Wednesday. A few times a woman with a baby has been my helper. Brynnie has observed her as she nurses with great interest. After that, I have seen her "nurse" her plastic doll a few times but the other day I caught her "nursing" this rather large furry beast....

I went to see Rita today. It seems she also has dengue fever. She told me that none of her neighbours has ever had it. So she really didn't know anything about it or what to do if you have it. Thankfully, I'm newly informed and so could tell her what she needs to do. She has also received a malaria treatment just in case the slide that was done was read wrong. Poor girl, she's afraid to sleep because when she fell unconcsious, it was after she had fallen asleep. She felt like she had a bit of a fever and was kind of tired so she wrapped herself in a blanket and fell asleep. This was around 1:30. She continued to sleep until around 6:00 when she started babbling incoherently and then her sister called our neighbour John. By the time he got there she was unconscious. So when she woke up she was very surprised to be in the hospital and very embarassed as well. Please remember her also in your prayers. It is a tough virus to deal with as there are so many unpleasant symptoms.

Hugo is much the same today. Lots of laying on the couch. He is able to put the little ones to bed which is of great assistance to me!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hugo is showing some more signs of life today. He was up a little more, although still walking like an 80 year old... His blood test came back showing that his hydration levels had once again gone up so that's really good. I'm sure it will still be a bit before he can even operate at 50%, but things are headed the right way. We sure do appreciate all your prayers at this time. There is still a good chance that as he recovers he will experience depression, moodiness, and trouble sleeping. So please continue to remember him and us in your prayers.
Tonight I got a call that Ibu Ritha had a high fever and was unconscious. Yikes! She'd had a fever on Tuesday already and so I gave her some acetaminophen for it along with the amoxicillan that she was supposed to take for her teeth. Then on Wednesday she had a funny wound on her foot that made her foot sore and she could only walk on her tiptoe. Today she said that her foot felt a bit better and that the fever was down. So she worked a bit and went home. I guess her fever came back and her sister and other relatives wrapped her up in blankets instead of trying to cool her off. So she went unconscious. Our neighbour, whom she also works for, took her to the best hospital (where Marc was born) after bathing her in ice water for a half hour. There they took some blood and put smelling salts under her nose and she woke up. They checked for malaria but said that the test was negative (who knows who is working in the lab on the evening before Good Friday?) and the doctor refused to just give her a quinine shot. So she was sent home and thankfully is awake and wanting to go home to her girls. John, the neighbour (who has lived here for his whole life), feels that she does have malaria and so in the morning we will try and get her some quinine. Hopefully there will be a pharmacy open as it is Good Friday. In the meantime she will take medicine to try to keep the fever down. Please continue to pray for Ritha that she may experience a full recovery and be able to care for her girls.
Oh, and Brynnie's malaria slide was negative. It is possible that when she was really sick a few weeks back that she had a mild case of dengue and that is why she is still not 100% now as it takes a long time to recover...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Feelin' Fresh...

I have often seen these cans of drinks in the store and wondered why anyone would by a canned drink with a Rhino on the front. So today when I saw them, as I was buying guava juice for Hugo, I decided to buy a can and see what it was. Well, you remember a few posts ago I explained the translation regarding throwing big water? This drink, which comes in a plethora of flavours, is supposed to, and I quote, "The preparation is a traditional medicine which gives a cooling effect in body heatness, flu, gingivitis, sore throat, constipation. (Sounds a bit like a wonder drug doesn't it?)

Recommended Consumption:

For treatment purposes: Adults consume 1/2 - 1 can three times daily

Children consume 1/4 - 1/2 can three times daily

For precaution purposes: Adults consume 1 can daily

Children consume 1/2 can daily

On the front of the can you see the words Larutan Penyegar (in my dictionary, which isn't the best, Larutan means dissolved and penyegar means something that freshens.) Kaki (Leg) Tiga (three) - don't know what in the world that's supposed to mean! On the side of the can it says "Jamu" with a circle around it. Jamu is the Indonesian word for medicinal herbs... I thought it was also the word for mushrooms or mould... but again, my dictionary sucks...

Not sure what I'll do with the can now. Maybe I'll offer it to one of my helpers and see what she says...

Today I took Ritha to the dentist. She had gone to a cheap government subsidized dentist and had wanted to get the cavities between her front teeth, which were very visible, fixed. So they "fixed" them. I had no idea she was going to do this and when I asked her why she didn't talk to me first, she said,"Well, it isn't your problem, it is mine." So I very much appreciate that she didn't come to me with her hand out and expect me to take care of it. It turns out she has gingivitis and periodontitis. So today they cleaned her teeth and showed her how to properly brush them. She was faithfully brushing her teeth about 5 times a day, but not brushing properly. So now she is on antibiotics to get rid of the infection. She told me that this morning before coming to my house she ate some amoxicilan because that's what the local dentists tell you to do before getting a tooth pulled. I explained to her that antiobiotics need to be taken usually three times a day for at least a week not just one pill one time! I explained that doing that was a dangerous thing. But this is so normal here. Often when doctors or dentists prescribe antibiotics, they only prescribe for three days. Not nearly long enough! I think they do this because of the cost. I purchased 30 amoxicilan caplets for Ritha for $2.25 today, but for the average person, that is equivalent to a half or 2/3 days work. This is why I buy them for her. So in a few weeks, the fillings begin....


Yesterday I took Hugo to the clinic and they checked his platelet levels and they were low. They were 105 and they should be 150. He was not dehydrated at that time either. His malaria test came back negative. So he definitely has dengue fever. Which is not contagious and is passed through mosquito bites.
Today we went again and his platelet levels have dropped to 85 and he is beginning to show some signs of dehydration. So now he has to drink 4 litres today. If his levels drop again tomorrow they will need to put him on an I.V. It's kind of funny because he is actually feeling a little better today and showing a bit more life...
Now Marc has a fever and Brynnie is still cranky. While at the clinic I had them make a malaria slide for Brynnie too. Now we are waiting for those results.
That's the scoop for now!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bits and Bites...

Hugo is still very sick. After searching for more info on the internet, I'm almost certain that he has dengue fever. He has been experiencing pounding headaches and at times his knees ache and he has lost his sense of taste. With dengue also comes some psychological symptoms such as depression and mood swings. Tomorrow I plan to take him to the expat clinic and have the nurse do a QBC test which just looks at what the platlet count in his blood is like. If is is super low, that means he most likely has dengue. Dengue can be hemoragic, but the strain found here in Papua is not the dangerous kind. Thankfully... At the same time we will also do another malaria test and bring it to the most reliable slide reader in town. I think I will also have a slide done for Brynnie as she is still having fevers and being cranky with some spurts of energy in between.
Today we worshipped in the "new" building and it was a full house! Afterwards we all stood around and chatted and had cake and water. It was really nice! I got to meet the new bride which was also nice. And it was great that we could walk to church just like all our Papuan neighbours do!
Aidan has four loose teeth. The two middle ones on the top and the two middle ones on the bottom. Lets hope they don't all come out at the same time... One of the top ones is the loosest and I keep encouraging him to wiggle it, but he's such a wimp that at the slightest twinge of pain he cries out and stops...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mikah's 10!!!!

Yesterday was Mikah's 10th birthday. I can't believe it is already 10 years since she was born, 10 days early-to my great relief (water retention...). There she is with her newly layered hair holding up her new drawing kit (bought from Costco 1.5 years ago-remember Heidi?). Mikah had 5 friends over and we all went to the pool for a swim right after school. We had some cupcakes there too. Then we went home and opened gifts and had hot dogs for supper. I have actually found one brand of hot dogs that is okay. I personally won't eat them, but I'll feed them to the kids and they enjoy them. Plus these ones don't give off red dye when you boil them like so many of the others do. Why do they think hot dogs have to be bright red? Anyways, it was a fun party and we all had a good time. Except for Hugo and Brynnie. They are both sick. Hugo started on Thursday and had a malaria slide done but it was negative. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have it. You see, we don't need many parasites in our blood to make us sick but Papuans need a lot. So it's a lot easier to find the parasites in their blood. Today, Saturday, Hugo was still pretty sick. Last night he soaked the sheets with his sweat and his head has been pounding. It's possible it's dengue fever. So I got him some guava juice which has the right combination of vitamins to help get better. There are no drugs to cure dengue, you just need to drink about 3 litres a day and get lots of rest. However, if you get really super sick, you need a blood transfusion, which means getting medivaced out of the country as there is no way you'd want that done here! If he's still bad tomorrow, I may just take him to get another malaria slide done. As malaria can be fatal, it's important to rule it out first. Brynnie isn't as sick. She just has fevers and is more tired. Apparently this virus is making the rounds around here right now.
So that's the scoop on our family!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There's Brynnie on her fancy new trike. She's already gotten the hang of pedalling it. This afternoon she and Marc were out on their bikes on the cement pad being watched by a crowd of Papuan kids...

This is Hugo's handiwork on the plane from Aceh. Both sides of the cockpit are pictured and that's about all I can tell you...

Oh, and cheddar cheese has gone up from 250,000 rups for 2 kilos to 350,000 rups for two kilos. That's nearly $35 for 2 kilos of cheese... sniff, sniff... What a painful hike... I've asked around at the stores and no one seems to know why. Well, there are only two stores in town that sell the cheese...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Recipe for disaster:
When your young son opens the bedroom door at 7:00 am and asks,”Hey Dad! What do you want for breakfast?”
Breakfast in bed has no appeal here. If there is even a crumb that falls, ants will find it. The ants here are voracious and even the tiniest crumb attracts a swarm…
Rita started working again today. Brynnie sure was happy to have her friend Rode (Rita’s daughter) to play with again. They are so cute together!
I also bought Brynnie a new tricycle as we now have a place where she can drive one. I bought the simplest one they had and it still comes complete with rearview mirrors, a big horn and a basket at the front. I could have bought the one with the large sun canopy, music and steering stick for grown-ups…
After that I went to visit our guard’s wife. We understood from him that his name was Nuel, but when I went to the general area of his house and asked where I could find Pak Nuel’s house, I got blank stares… Turns out his name is Nios (Nee-aw-s). Anyways, his wife wasn’t there at the time that I had said I would come, she was at a roving clinic having their new daughter immunized. So I came back at 11:20 as agreed and she wasn’t there again, she was down below washing clothes at the public clothes washing place. But she came up and I went in their “house”. Wow, talk about a humble abode! It is a very small wooden building with a dirt floor that they’ve spread straw over. There are two rooms. One is for sleeping and the other is where they cook and hang out. The baby was nicely sleeping on the floor on top of a rubber mat and then some blankets. She’s cute but has no hair. They haven’t given her a name yet as they have to have a party and feed lots of people in order to be able to give the baby a name. (In fact when I asked if they had any names picked out, she said they didn’t!? I have to admit that I made a couple suggestions…) At that time the minister will come and pray for the baby as well. I find it very sad that they feel they need to do this even though it is very obvious that they are so poor. They moved here a number of years ago from Wamena specifically so that Pak Nios could go to the Bible school across the road from us. (so their language is really bad, hard to understand because they mix up some of the letters and add a uuhhh sound to the end of words) He is nearly done his studies there and will hopefully get a church after that. In the meantime he works for us as a guard and takes care of our yard. I think it is hard for him to find the time to work on our yard but when we talk about finding someone else, he says that he can do it. Now I know why! BTW, they have five children and school is not free here and they have to buy uniforms.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Today we went to the wedding of a young man from our church. As the building that we will be meeting in is way too small, they had rented a larger open type church building. The service promptly began at 10:00 and was a long, hot, rather joyless, rigid affair. (I felt very sorry for all the ladies dressed in their traditional Indonesian clothing which is pretty much like wearing plastic… and the groom who was wearing a full suit and gloves...) We sang accompanied by a keyboard set to the pipe organ setting and way too loud for the amount of people there. Our pastor preached in his usual long-winded repetitious manner and two hours later the, hopefully, happy couple was married. They promptly left the building, for reasons unknown, and the rest of us went to the back and signed the guest book, inserted our envelopes with money into the box provided and got our complimentary fans and little boxes containing a sliver of cake, cup of water, some kind of chips made from a nut (kind of bitter tasting) and two candies and went and sat down again all while the wedding singer belted out some romantic tune. The reception was supposed to start at 12:30, in the same building, but we really didn’t know how it was all going to go. So I asked around and found out that they were waiting for the bridal couple to return and then they would go sit on those fancy chairs on the stage and then some people would speak and then, after about an hour, everyone would eat. That sounded a bit much for the kids who already did great sitting there in the heat for 2 hours, so we headed home. I couldn’t help but wonder why everything had to feel like a ritual instead of a joyful opportunity to celebrate one of God’s great gifts to us – the institution of marriage. Well, next week Saturday, Bible study is scheduled to be at the newlywed’s house. Then we’ll actually be able to meet the new bride and see what she really looks like. They all wear so much make-up and fake eyelashes etc… at these affairs that they all look the same and so different than they do in “real life”.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


There are always words or expressions that you just can't translate literally from one language to another. Take for example: buang (throw-like throw away, not like throw a ball) air (water)
buang air = to urinate
buang air besar (big)= number 2

Today Mikah bought a new watch. It is Pasnew brand, which I'm sure you, like me, have never before heard of. On the bottom of the little metal cylindrical container that it came in was a type of sales pitch:
"PASNEW" comes from a mysterious legend in china, like a powerful, brave incomparable and ever-victorious BULL. "PASNEW" means "BULL"
The self-surpasing pace of PASNEW watch never falls behind for the past 10 years.
PASNEW watch is always taking the lead in its audacious technology, exceptional - ingenuity design, unconventional and wise ideas, and novel and extraordinary appearance.
PASNEW watch combines function with fashion. Its excellent quality is reaching perfect. Years are cycling and PASNEW watch defines heroes!

Sounds like a lot of bull to me....
It's actually a cute, sporty, pink digital watch... that cost about $12...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This was the scene this morning in Wamena, Papua. This cargo plane had a hard landing and burst into flames. We heard that no one got hurt or killed thankfully. Most airlines here just don't have the money for proper maintenance, proper training and safety training....
Wamena is a city in the mountains of Papua. It happens to be the world's largest city with no roads going to it. Everything is brought in by aircraft. Except for the produce that is grown there. Because of the cooler temperatures and lack of humidity they can grow some veggies like cauliflower and nice tomatoes etc.. that can't be grown here in the lowlands. It is also where some of the first Papuans became Christians. MAF does a lot of flying out of this mountainous city.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bits and Bites...

This past Saturday was the fortieth day since Ibu Rita’s husband died. According to their culture they have a service at Rita’s house. So all her family came and all his family came and Rita was expected to serve them all (never mind the fact that she has been forbidden from working or even leaving her house for the past 40 days). Many many people came and there were many that slept at Rita’s house. They also went to the gravesite and some of the relatives wanted to see the place where Rita’s husband had died. So instead of working this week, Rita is recovering.

The concrete pad at the back of our house is finally finished. So the kids were out there yesterday on roller blades and playing hockey. Very quickly a crowd of kids gathered to watch.

I think the soccer league that plays across the road is heading into the playoffs - there’s a lot more and louder cheering now.

Yesterday I took Ice to the dentist. Things got rather busy so I wasn’t able to take her before. But that turned out to be a good thing as there is an expat dentist here and he is now allowed to work on whomever he wants. Before that was not the case. So yesterday I took Ice and Christiaan to see him at his house. At the moment he can only work out of his house. So the two of them sat down in the cool reclining lawn chairs he uses for when he goes out into villages. This dentist is teaching Papuans how to be dentists. It’s a pretty neat program. So it was Papuans who worked on Ice. She needed more than just the one tooth that caused the abscess pulled. She had some old roots from other teeth that she had pulled out herself that also needed to be removed. (Papuans have an insanely high pain tolerance.) So yesterday they just pulled out everything necessary on the one side of her mouth. Next month we’ll do the other side and then the following month we’ll work on getting her some fake teeth. Unfortunately she has chewed beetle nut which stain teeth a dark red/brown. Like really bad coffee stains only really, really hard to get off. We all strongly encouraged her not to chew it any more as it can give you gum issues which will make your teeth simply fall out. It will be hard for her as so many people do it and it is such a social thing like smoking together or drinking coffee together.

The other day we discovered that we can’t run the kettle, the hot water heater for our shower and the dryer at the same time… bummer...
Finally, I'll end off with Aidan's most recent "thinking sheet". Each child in his grade has an ice cream cone with a cherry and a few scoops. For infractions in the class they have to remove first the cherry, than a scoop and so on. If they need to remove a scoop, they have to draw a picture of what they did wrong and then one of what they should have done. The following is Aidan's illustration of himself doing an arm fart and then of himself sitting quietly at his desk:

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What a Sunday! Today after church, three of the minister's daughters came over for a visit. In the left photo are Diana and Hermina and in the right photo is Nike (pronounced Neekay). Hermina finished university and studied administration. (university here is no where near what university in Canada is) She works at the Aids prevention office in the main hospital in Jayapura. Diana and Nike are both in their last year of high school. Diana is a few years older than Nike but for some reason needed more time to get high school done. Diana enjoys economics but really doesn't know what to do after high school. Nike would love to be a nurse. They stayed until 4:30! Guess they were enjoying themselves. I had bought beads and string to make necklaces and stuff to make earings so they kept themselves busy doing that the whole time while at the same time showing Mikah and I how to do it. They really liked the beads we had brought from Canada. Again, anything you buy here is super cheap quality.
Then for supper we had three men from MAF headquarters in Nampa. While we were talking after supper, Marc and Brynne decided to have a sword fight-see photo... Love how kids always want to wear the fireman hat backwards...
Remember those pajamas Mathilde? They are Marc's favorite!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Kerja Bakti

Well, today we had kerja bakti at our new place of worship. Kerja means work and I don't know what bakti means exactly but when you put the two words together it means we all as church got together and helped clean up. This building is being loaned to us for two years by the ZGK. It is the old school house that the missionary kids attended while living in the dorm beside (in background of second last photo). So the men sanded the finished benches and then stained them. The backs of our legs are very thankful for the sanding that was done... Myself and some of the single girls cleaned up a garden area behind/beside the building. There was a lot of broken tile and concrete and weeds there so we cleaned it all up by throwing everything down the hill beside... You can see on the last photo where we were working. In behind you can see a partially finished something; well that something is going to be the washroom for the church. Hope it's done in the next three weeks... There were a lot of us working and not that much work to be done so as you can see by the second photo, there was some shooting of the breeze occuring as well. The kids ran around and played some basketball and soccer and climbed trees.
The kids were for the most part back to normal today. So after kerja bakti (I left early with the kids) we went to the pool for a nice refreshing swim.