Thursday, October 30, 2008

I can't convince him to throw it away....

*It's a t-shirt from the All-star game in Vancouver (going back just a few years) that I bought at the thrift shop in Aldergrove, probably for .50 cents or something, about four years ago!!!
* Yesterday Ice came to me and told me that she had lent someone some money and as a guarantee they had left their hand phone with her. Then while she was working, someone got into her house and stole the phone and brought it to a pawn shop and got 150,000 rupiahs for it. The guys from the pawn shop came to her house and told her that if she didn't pay the money by the next day they would keep the phone. So she needed me to advance her the money so she could get the phone back. I feel so bad for her because now she is out that money, about $20 CAD and that is a lot of money for her. I think for a gift at Christmas we should put a lock on her bedroom door. There's obviously a fair bit of theft going on in that area. I also told her, again, not to lend people money. I told her she should just keep all her money at my house and then when people ask her she can honestly say that she has no money in her house.
* Brynnie is the latest victim to fall to the malaria parasite in our house. After one year of only a case of dengue fever, we are sure getting hit with the malaria bug! Just before supper she started crying that her head hurt and I felt that she had a fever. So I brought her to a nurse who lives nearby and she made two blood slides which Hugo dropped off just before 7:00 and a half hour later we had the results from one of the pharmacy's. That was amazingly quick!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today Hugo took a day off and we went together to Jayapura. One of Hugo’s main goals today was to order some parts for his motorbike, a 2005 Yamaha Scorpio 225cc beauty. There aren’t that many Scorpio bikes around. Mostly the police use them as they are the largest motorbikes you can buy here. The local dealer in town will only do warranty service so we went to a dealer in Entrop, a town near Jayapura. There they did not have the parts in stock but were willing to order them. But maybe we could try the dealer in Jayapura first. So we go there. Nope, they don’t sell spare parts, try the one in Entrop.
While we were in Jayapura anyways, we decided to stop in at the post office there. I had heard that sometimes packages get “stuck” in the Jayapura post office and don’t make it to Sentani. I was directed to a warehouse type building behind the post office itself. There I was directed to a little office in the back. There were piles and piles of bags of mail and packages everywhere. There seemed to be little rhyme or reason to it all. In the office of the man I was told would help me, there were more packages lying in what seemed like random piles. I saw packages with names of friends on them, people I know! I got excited and thought maybe I would be the bearer of many gifts today. But, sadly, I couldn’t take any of those or any of the tons and tons lying in the little room off the office. They haven’t been passed by customs yet, I was told. I deflated… But, you can take any of these small ones, the man said and proceeded to dump a bunch of envelopes and a box out of a large bag. These don’t need to go through customs. Wouldn’t you know it, the one and only box was for us!!! Yippee!!! I went through the pile of envelopes and took all but two of them as I knew the adressees of them. I had to pay 5,000 rupiahs per envelope to have them released into my hands and then I had to sign the back of a little paper saying that I had taken those envelopes. I did not have to show any identification at all. He just trusted me when I said that I knew the people and would make sure they got their mail. I asked him about a package a friend had sent me a long time ago. He took out a hard covered notebook and went back to the month of June and every single package that had come from outside the country was listed in that book. The place of origin, the addressee and their address were all noted. Not a computer in sight! I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to everything if the gentleman in charge of packages from outside the country were to quit or not be able to work anymore… It was really really painful for me to leave that office knowing that there were so many more packages I could have delivered…
Aahh, but in the end we had a nice day and enjoyed some pizza for lunch from Sarpino’s. Mmmmm mmm good!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bits and Bites...

*I’m feeling much better although my energy isn’t quite back up to 100%.
*In the past couple weeks there have been at least three days where the power has been off from very early morning until dark, 6:00pm. They are pulling new larger cables. Which is a good thing really. But what you can do is pull all the cables, and then turn off the power to switch them all over at the same time… Ahhh, but that would just be too logical for here….
*The plane that experienced the hard landing is still stranded out in the village interior. We are still waiting for a ferry permit to allow the plane to be flown here to be repaired in full. After months of waiting, some of the parts for that plane were delivered last week, but they were damaged! Thankfully, after looking them over and much discussion, it was determined that they could be repaired and used. It seems like just one thing after another is hampering the guys from getting the caravans into the air! The other caravan that was down after falling off the jacks is finally back in full service.
*While living here, I’ve had to acquire a much greater knowledge of health and pharmaceutical matters. I have to admit that I enjoy trying to figure out what is “wrong” with someone exhibiting symptoms of an illness. Ritha’s daughter has been having a sore ear and fevers, but only at night. We did a blood slide today, and like the other two that were done last week, it was negative for malaria but showed a high white cell count. Malaria is cyclical. It is not uncommon to feel fine during the day and only have a fever at night. Infections usually cause a more constant fever. But Rode definitely has something in her ear and it’s got to come out so that the nurse can see farther in. So tonight we started her on quinine and then tomorrow we’ll get the ear cleaned out and see what’s hiding in there.
*Marc is also suffering from some kind of stomach bug. Could be amoeba or giardia but for now I’m treating him for worms first. Worms, sad to say, is just a part of our life here. We all take meds every three months regardless.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Last week a single, young MAF pilot lost his life off the Northern coast of Australia when his plane crashed into the sea. Please remember his family and girlfriend in your prayers.
This is again another reminder to us of the fragility of our existence here and that we could be called by our Heavenly Father at any given time. We must always be ready!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I'm doing a lot better now. Haven't had a fever since lunch time today. Thankfully, I had a fairly mild case of malaria, albeit two kinds... Although, when the nurse tells you that you have 36 hours before it will become cereberal (if left untreated)... you take a breath and are thankful that you can get a test done and get the right meds (even if they have nauseating side-effects). There are so many around the world who wouldn't have been able to call up a nurse to come to their home and take a blood sample and then have someone take that sample in and have the results in an hour. There are so many who would just have to suffer without even a tylenol to ease the fever or pain and then quite possibly, die. So, I'm thankful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Malaria strikes...

Early yesterday morning I woke up with my first ever case of malaria. I felt feverish and really thirsty. In the afternoon a nurse who lives nearby came over and made a couple of blood slides. It's always best to get your slides read by more than one person here. Then Hugo brought them off to two local apotik's (pharmacy). The results were in a bit late as the power was off from early in the morning until 6:00 at night. Fun, fun! The one apotik said that I have malaria tersiana +1 and the other one said that I have malaria tropika +1. I talked to a nurse and she informed me that you can actually have both at the same time. The problem with lab techs here is that they don't keep looking for parasites on the slide once they've found one. So there's a great possibility that I have both. I'm taking a new drug that was brought in for us by some of the nurses called artemether. However, it doesn't necessarily kill the tersiana parasite. So if I don't feel like I'm getting better after a few days I need to go and get another slide done and possibly take quinine... Let's hope I don't need to do that...
I'm feeling a little better today, at least for now. Malaria is cyclical and you will feel better for maybe the whole day and then at say, 5:00, the symptoms will reappear and you crash.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Never a dull moment...

Today I was involved in something that all us expats here dread being involved in. A car accident. I should go back a bit and explain that over the past year, the city of Sentani has put concrete medians in the middle of the road for about half of the main road in town Sometimes there are even pretty flowers growing in them… They put a few openings in the barriers, but not always at the best spots. And, you are only allowed to make u-turns on two spots a ways down, the wrong way for me. This morning I went to the Hypermarket grocery store with Brynnie and did some shopping. I exited the mall and proceeded towards one of the openings (one that you are not supposed to make u-turns in) but before starting to move to the centre of the road I put on my signal light and stuck my arm out my window to indicate my intentions. I have found it far more effective to stick my arm out the window than to just use my signal light; in fact just using my signal light alone produced no results in past attempts. I looked beside/behind me and noted that the road was clear and proceeded to the middle. I was waiting there for the oncoming traffic to clear when suddenly a young kid on a motorbike plowed into the driver’s side front quarter panel. I was in shock!! I really don’t know what his intentions were. I had only been looking at the oncoming traffic and didn’t expect anyone to try to pass in front of me as I had my nose right in the gap in the concrete barriers. So I pulled over and noticed that he right away went to the side as well. He didn’t come up to me at all but other students on their way to or from school came to me and asked me what happened so I told them that he had hit me. An expat had seen the aftermath and pulled over to make sure I was okay. Somehow the police were right there and some guy with a big video camera who tried to get my name. I didn’t say anything and the students said,”Maybe she doesn’t understand. What your name?” I told them in rather fluent Bahasa that I knew exactly what he was saying but that I had no interest in giving my name. We’ll see if I turn up on the local news… The police were actually quite nice but didn’t say much to me aside from telling me to be patient and then telling me that my daughter was really beautiful and was she my only child? No, I said, I have five and she’s the youngest. “Oh,” said the one police officer,”You don’t use family planning?” I replied,”Yes, we planned for five. If God gives us children, we are happy.” He agreed and said that we can’t refuse them and that he has four of his own. They loaded up the kid’s motorbike into their pickup and took him to the station. In the meantime I had called an MAF fellow for help and he and Hugo and two other National workers, one who takes care of car maintenance and one whose job it is to deal with police and immigration for us expats, hopped into a car to come to my rescue. The police took my license and when I asked for it back they didn’t want to give it. I guess they wanted to make sure that I would really go to the police station. I asked them to wait for my rescuers to come. They did and we all went to the police station. We were ushered into a little room with a large poster of traffic signs on the wall behind a large tv and enormous speaker on a stand. In front of that was a playstation on a desk… hmmm, guess what they do in their “down time”. They took down my info from my SIM (driver’s license) and confirmed that I was of the Protestant faith. Such important information for them… Turns out, the boy who hit me, who wasn’t really injured except for a sore shoulder, does not have a driver’s license. He also said that he was sixteen but I don’t think any one in that room believed him… The police let him call his dad. Now, this boy is a local boy and those folks can actually be the hardest to deal with. They often see accidents as ways to obtain lots of quick cash. So the MAF folks with us were a little nervous about this. They made sure that no police officers talked to the dad before he came into the room. Turns out the dad works at the airport and the MAF guys were super friendly with him and made him feel comfortable. The police officer dealing with our case was quite efficient and said that while I was turning where I wasn’t supposed to be, the boy was obviously going way too fast (the tire on his motorbike actually bent) and not being careful. So really, both parties were at fault in this case. I rather disagree actually because I was standing still when he hit me and since when are you allowed to drive without a drivers license? They actually made light of the whole lack of license thing. The boy left to “go to school” and they let him take his motorbike again! He has no license!!! Anyways, the dad agreed that his son was at fault and that each party should pay for the damages to his/her own vehicle. It’s really quite funny, because the dad knew that his son shouldn’t have been driving at all and then for sure wasn’t driving carefully. But the reality is that car/motorbike insurance is only for rich people. Even if it was determined that the boy was 100% at fault, they could never pay for the repairs on the MAF car. I actually wouldn’t want them to either if it came to that. The dad obviously has a low level job and doesn’t make much money and has three kids. He would be the one who would have to pay. I just wish the police were stricter about allowing only those who are actually of legal age, have a driver’s license, know who to properly operate a motorbike and obey the laws, be allowed to drive. But, this is Indonesia and that’s just a pipe dream…
I am extremely thankful to God that this accident was only minor and that everything was settled quite quickly and in as good a way as you can expect here. MAF has insurance, so I will just have to pay a deductible.
As we left the police station, I saw a number of officers playing billiards… Boy they have a tough job…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seatbelts.... optional...

Indonesians, like most of the rest of the world, are crazy about soccer. It so happens that a team from Jayapura, belonging to (maybe) the highest league in the country, also happens to be one of the best teams in the country. The people here are fiercly proud of their teams. Today a couple dump trucks and a bus showed up on our corner and picked up loads of people from our area so they could go to Jayapura to watch the game and cheer on their team. They were playing a team from Java. The drive to Jayapura is extremely winding as it follows the shore of Lake Sentani and then the coast of the ocean. The road is basically carved out of the hillside. There are only two lanes; well, in theory that is... It is not uncommon to see a dump truck passing a car going while going uphill.... I know that if given a free ride to a game in the back of a dump truck.... I WOULD NOT take it...
Then you have Marc, pretending to be driving a hotwheel car in our back yard...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bits and Bites...

* We've had a little rain lately, but not enough. There are many folks around us and down in town who have no water either into their houses or from the communal taps in their areas. So far our well seems to be holding up okay.
* The road work has ground to a halt again after just the big potholes were filled....
* Little Nelfika, the daughter of our guard is fully recovered from her badly infected ears.
* Yesterday we had a Canadian thanksgiving barbeque lunch with some of the other Canadian expats living here in Sentani. Tonight we had a really really yummy lasagna, so that was our thanksgiving meal. I even found canned spinach from France and put that in and man, it was tasty! We can buy food stuffs from the most interesting places out here. The other day I bought Canola oil from the United Arab Emirates! Who knew! I didn't even know they had enough land to grow canola! I also buy this lovely tea from Sri Lanka. The brand is Dilmah and it is very tasty! Earl grey even! There is also quite a bit that is imported from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore. Indonesia imports quite a bit from Italy, but mostly things like motorcycle helmets and appliances etc and then of course, pasta. I also like to buy canned peaches from South Africa every now and then.
* Yesterday Marc had a bad headache again and just wanted to sleep so I treated him for malaria. The woman who is the most accurate slide reader is only in weekday afternoons from 2-4. Seeing as this was Sunday afternoon and I didn't want to wait that long, I started him on Euchinin, the children's version of quinine. He has bounced back quite quickly and wasn't quite as active today, but didn't have a bad headache either.
* Just want to wish you all a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I’m racking my brain for news to write about…
Well, they’ve started repairing our road again. A number of months ago they were working hard and filling the potholes and making nice cement drainage ditches alongside the road when suddenly the work ceased. Ice tells me that the people in charge are given plenty of funds to complete the project but a chunk of those funds tends to mysteriously make its way into the pockets of those in charge. What’s new??? The other night I heard a funny sound like someone banging an empty water bottle. So I went outside and took a look. There were about four guys working on a pothole by the light of a single headlight from a car. One guy was holding a can of tar on a string and periodically hitting it so the tar would sprinkle out. Today there was a guy out driving a big roller doing something up the road from us. I don’t know what his big plan was but he was in the middle of the road when I went by and I barely had room to pass him on the “shoulder”. I guess we’ll see how far the work progresses this time.
Last Saturday I went alone to Bible study. It was held in the home of our pastor who lives down the road from us. They live in an older two storey wooden home owned by the ZGK (Dutch Mission). We sat in their “living room”. Actually, we sat on the wooden floor. Inside that room there isn’t a stitch of furniture or anything on the walls. There is a bare bulb on one side of the ceiling and on the other was a hanging lamp. Against the one wall is a large tv stand housing a 21 inch tv and various players and satellite receptors. Sitting in front of this set-up is a large VCD (video disc) player situated on top of a hunk of Styrofoam and the box that the satellite receiver came in. Beside the whole lot are two very large speakers. By the time the Bible study was finished, my neck and bottom were about as sore as they can get… By skin colour, I was the only white person there, but I didn’t feel like it. For that I am very thankful! We are, after one year of attendance, beginning to feel like a part of the church.
Last week one of the MAF pilots had to make a medivac flight for a little girl who was badly burned when her family’s honai (grass hut) caught fire. She was brought to Timika to one of the better hospitals on the island and received treatment. It was because of an “M” family living in their village that she was able to be medivaced and receive treatment.
And Ice has malaria again… So tonight I went to her house and watched her down 5 pills in one swallow. At least I hope she downed them all…

I've had these photos of our gudang (storage area) in my photos preshrunken for blog posting folder but hadn't posted them yet. This is some of the kind of stuff that we deliver to villages around the island. Some of the boxes contain The Book that has been translated into a native tongue.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The funniest things...

The other day at the lunch table Marc piped up and said,"At N's (name of friend) house they have two babies! One is human and one is Indonesian!"
We, of course, quickly explained to him that Indonesians are also humans and are just the same as us. Then he went on to inquire if they have the same body parts as us... lol

We recounted this little story to a friend who grew up here. He told us that his mother was the first white woman in one of the remote areas here in Papua and throughout the entire day that she spent in that village, she was constantly having her body checked out by the local women. They just wanted to make sure that she was just like them because of course her body was all covered up with clothes!