Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bits and Bites...

It's been another crazy week over here! Last Tuesday we (MAF) flew an expat woman from Wamena to Sentani. She'd been in a freak accident and her femur had been crushed. The accident had happened on Sunday and she didn't get to Jakarta until Wednesday (I think). She's been operated on and things seem to be going well.

On Thursday Brynne had her 5th birthday. She had a little party in the morning with her friends. She insisted that as it was her birthday, she should choose what we have for supper and her choice was to go to Papa Ron's pizza. This pizza place is in the mall here and wouldn't you know, as we were there, just outside the restaurant, they were having a bridal fashion show and then a rock band contest following... Yeah, it was a little loud... But Brynne enjoyed herself and received a free bowl of ice cream because it was her birthday.

On Saturday the second Kodiak aircraft arrived after a few days delay around Christmas island.
It's a long way from Nampa, Idaho to Sentani, Papua and we are thankful for God's protection of the pilot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bits and Bites...

Here's a photo of our new entrance sign above our newly renovated check-in area. The middle photo on the left and the first girl after the words going to the right are photos that I had taken and submitted for the new sign. Pretty cool eh?

Anyways, things seemed to have settle down a bit for us this week. V is at home with the baby and things are going great. She's super cute! Her parents are so proud and excited! They asked my neighbour and I to name their new daughter. Yikes, that's some pressure... So we came up with what we thought was a lovely name and told them this past Wednesday. The tradition is that they will cook some food and have their close relatives over, eat and pray together and then give the child his/her name. So I can't tell you yet what the name will be as the ceremony hasn't happened yet...
Y has begun working for us again. Last Tuesday, the brother-in-law who had been getting all the money while not working, came to the door in the afternoon as I was preparing dinner. I was a little nervous about why he might be at the door, wearing an old t-shirt of Hugo's that we'd given a long time ago... He talks very interior-like so he's not always the easiest to understand. He looks like a city person, but he doesn't talk like one. The basic jist of what I understood was that he wanted to say thank-you, they're not offended (really??) and they're thankful that we chose his brother-in-law to work for us and not someone from outside their family. That whole statement at the end there gave me the idea he still thinks he's going to get money... The next day I told Yokben about the visit. We've agreed to keep his money at our house and he can come and get it as he needs it. Although I did tell him that if he keeps living with his sister and her husband, he should give them some money but certainly not all of it. Y is very excited to be working again and we're glad he's back!
There have been a number of strange events occurring here that just leave one feeling rather unsettled. I can't go into great detail regarding all of them but one is that the wife of a missionary interior got run over by their vehicle in a freak accident involving brakes that stopped working and broke her femur. The son of one of our pilots broke his leg. The new plane we've been waiting for broke down on one of the Christmas islands and now someone has to hand carry a part over there via Australia. A fire in one of our planes, thankfully not during flight... And there are more... It is especially at times like these that we are reminded of who is in control but it is difficult for us to give things over and simply trust in God's ultimate plan. Please pray!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just a quick update. V and baby are home and doing great. It is astonishing how little information is given to new parents. Like... none... V's neighbour in the hospital thought I was a nurse because of all the things I was telling them; things that any nurse in Canada would tell you while you are in the hospital with a newborn. It's actually rather frightening...

We let things with the guard situation settle down a bit and this past Saturday Y started working for us again. He passed on the final pay to his sister (wife of the guy causing the problems) as it was their son who did guard for the past month. Y is happy as a clam to be back and we're very glad to have him back. Hopefully there are no more problems with the brother-in-law...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So the saga continues. Today I found out from Ice that the kid, N, who propositioned R, was "fined" by the tribe of a girl because he r*ped her 35 times (!). His family has to pay her family 64 million rupiah. Everyone in that area helped them pay and so no one is happy with them because all the pigs in the kampung (cluster of houses) are gone! (they pay fines in pigs as there's usually more pigs than money around. 1pig=10 million rupiah) The fine hasn't yet been paid in full so that would explain one of the reasons why B is reluctant to let go his "position" with us (in spite of the fact that the "position" is in his head only). They need the money. Well, I'm not interested in helping pay those kinds of fines... Y came and talked to me today and he said that when B got home last night he was saying the opposite of what he'd said to Hugo. He told Y that he could work for us and it was okay. That's weird. Ice informed me that when people talk one way and then a few minutes later talk another way, it means that there's a shrimp behind the rock (ulterior motive). I told Y to be patient and that we'd try to work things out slowly. But I told him that we may be forced to find someone else because I don't want to have trouble with B. Poor guy, he just wants to work!
Yesterday Ibu N came home from the hospital. Not because she is ready to come home, but because the doctors are sick of her not listening to them and the people with her not doing what they are supposed to do and Ibu N has been crying to go home. She's still very very ill and thin and has a hard time keeping her medicine or food down. Please pray that she will recover!
Today R's sister V was in full labour. I had told them to call me if they needed me to bring them to the birthing clinic by car. They called at one point but it was obvious that it was still too early. After I brought Brynne to school (she starts at 12:00) I stopped by to see how V was doing. She was in a lot of pain and the contractions were 2 minutes apart. So I whipped up the hill to our house on my motorbike and retrieved the car and drove down to get her and many of her extended family who all wanted to go along. The birthing clinic is a very spartan affair where only complication-free births may occur. This birth was not meant to happen there. The midwives were of the opinion that V was already 10 months pregnant and that the baby was about 4kg, enormous by local standards here. In addition, the baby's heartrate was 180, much too high and V had a low grade fever. The batteries on their fetal heart rate monitor died so they were forced to listen using a hollow wooden tube that they jammed onto V's tummy... They managed to procure an enormous oxygen bottle so that V could get some oxygen. That helped a bit but the decision was already made that she should go to the hospital. R stepped in and made the decision that they would go to the Catholic hospital 25 minutes away. (Our son Marc was born there 7 years ago) Then there was the matter of getting her there. They felt that an ambulance was necessary so V's husband was sent out to find someone with an ambulance who could drive them (for real! no 911 here!). He found Seth, a beetle-nut chewing roughish guy who asked 120,000 rupiahs for the transport. We got the cash together and he was happy to put on his siren. V had to climb into the back of the ambulance, no stretcher, and lay on the vinyl bed provided. A number of her husband's female family members decided to join them along with a student midwife (a full house...). R ended up going on her motorbike, and Rode came home with me. They decided to do a c-section at the hospital and everything is fine with mother and baby girl! I hope I can go tomorrow to see them! Thank the Lord that it all worked out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Never a dull moment...

I've written a little about our "guard" Y and his troubles...
Well, we'd recently come to realize that Y's brother-in-law (B), who was our guard first, still thought of himself as being in our employ and in charge of who was going to guard/work at our house... You can imagine how we felt about that!! B had gone off to Wamena about 1.5 years ago to try to become a government worker. He didn't tell us he was going, he just left. Apparently he didn't tell Y either but Y very aptly continued his good work for us as he had been doing most of the work already anyways. After a number of months B returned but didn't work for us anymore and we assumed that Y was receiving the money for his work as we were giving it to him. As it turns out, he felt he had to give it to B and B in turn gave him a very small portion of the money in spite of the fact that Y had done 80% of the work and B had done nothing, the sons/brothers having done the other 20%. You can imagine how we felt about that!! So we talked to the MAF guy who had found us B to begin with and he agreed that the situation was not good and that something had to be done. So tonight Hugo went down to talk with B and the MAF guy, P, about the whole situation. Compounding the whole problem is that since Y went to Wamena to deal with his wife's family, the son of B has been "guarding" here. He's a 16 year old guy, N, who also works as a motorcycle taxi during the mornings and goes to high school in the afternoon. I sort of trusted him but not anymore. As it turns out, a week and a half ago Hugo and I went to a friends house for the evening and asked R to babysit the kids. While she was babysitting, N asked her to come outside and she went thinking he wanted to show her something. He said, "Bapak and Ibu went out." He then proceeded to proposition her... YIKES!! R freaked out and went inside and locked all the doors. She didn't tell us when we got home because it was quite late. She should have told us earlier but she hadn't been to our house until today. Many of the men/guys here watch movies that they shouldn't. It's a serious problem here. So after R told us that story, we said to eachother that those guys need to be fired and we want Y to work for us. When Hugo went down to talk with the MAF guy and B about the whole situation, B really didn't get it. He basically said that he would work or no one. And Hugo informed him that he no longer had our trust and that we just want to feel safe. He didn't bring up the misdeeds of his son, although the MAF guy knows about it. R was there too and she said that B was being very hard-headed and seemed to not understand at all. He said to Hugo that he felt Hugo didn't like him... hmmm.... Sadly because of the crazy culture here we are left with two options. We can have B work for us with Y being his sub or have a completely new guy. This makes us very very sad because we really like Y and feel safe when he's working and we know we can trust him. As a Westerner we think, well, why can't he just work for us? Well, there would be constant problems with B, the brother-in-law. These are a very hard-headed people who are very slow to forget any perceived slight or misdeed done to them. We aren't sure yet what the fall-out from this will be but in the meantime, we have no guard or yard guy... (yards here take a ton of work to keep up as everything grows like crazy...) P's son, who guards across the road and our other neighbours guard are going to keep an eye on things in the meantime until we get things worked out. Please pray for things to reach a peaceful conclusion and that the safety of our family is not in jeapardy.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Today I went to visit Ibu N again with R. We cut her hair today. First her sister lopped off the longest stuff and then I finished it up and made it neat and tidy. I've never cut such tightly curled hair before and never in front of such an audience... People came out to see the white woman cutting the Papuan womans hair... We did it just outside of her hospital room in the area where people who are staying with sick folks can wash their dishes and such. She was also happy to see her little son again.
Tonight we had supper together with Jaap and Dineke Groen. They've just come out of the jungle after being there for a while. They had no contact with the outside world while they were staying in their old village. Can you imagine!? It was neat to hear their stories.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bits and Bites...

This past Saturday Hugo and his right-hand man, national mechanic extraordinaire Evrin, hosted a bike repair clinic for the kids from the Papua Harapan School. There are 14 kids in the dormitory of the school and they come from a couple villages interior. They're a great group of kids who were very interested to learn how to maintain their bikes. It's a great skill to have!
Today our long anticipated crate arrived. It's just a small one (but still weighed 400 kg), but contained a few precious items. Hugo is, as I'm writing this, setting up our new barbeque. We sure missed having a bbq our first term and it will be so nice not to have to heat up my kitchen as often! As you can see by the photos, they have quite a professional team of crate delivery guys here who all where protective footwear... The neatly dressed guy is one of our great MAF guys.
The power has been a bit sporatic as of late. We are sure thankful to have a decent generator.
The kids are all enjoying school. Except Marc who still hasn't started. His teacher has arrived and he will start on Monday, which means I will begin teaching PE on Monday... Mikah is on the Junior High Volleyball team and is enjoying that a lot.
We've had some intestinal ailments over here along with some weird skin issues... Pretty much the norm for tropical living... This morning Brynne woke up with swollen hands and a scratched open bite on her arm had become infected. Today we tried soaking the arm in warm salty water. If that doesn't help, we'll have to go the antibiotic route...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Wow, tonight we had quite a talk with our guard Y. He'd gone to Wamena with his wife M and returned divorced from her... I had heard some of the story from Ice as M had been living with her for the prior couple months. So Y came back on Friday, bearing some fresh veggies for us. While he was gone, his brother in law had come up to me at the mall and expressed that Y had done some terrible things and that he had told Y that maybe he wouldn't be working for Pak Hugo and Ibu Erica anymore. That got my goat. Um, since when did he become the boss??? Originally, he had been working for us but then he decided to try to become a government worker and took off to Wamena and Y, without being asked, filled in rather permanently. What we didn't realize was that Y has been giving his entire paycheque to the brother in law and would recive only $10 for the entire month that he had worked!! Their pay is just over $1oo. So the brother-in-law has been controlling that money! Well... We wanted to talk with Y about what happened with his wife and about the brother-in-law etc...
The story went something like this:
So I married my wife and I had to pay 13 pigs for her. We had a good life and then we had a baby boy. When he was three months old he got sick and died. A couple months later I moved to Sentani. A few months later my wife joined me. After a few months she wasn't pregnant so I asked her if she had done something so that she wouldn't get pregnant again. Like use black magic or take pills or something. She wouldn't answer me. I tried to talk with her about it but she wouldn't listen to me so I stabbed her in the thigh. She moved in with Ice's dad and then I talked with her family and I paid her 500,000 rupiah which she shared with her uncles and she moved back in with me. We lived good again. Then she went to Jayapura without asking me and wouldn't tell me where she went. So I got mad and I hit her again. She moved back in with Ice's dad. After a while she moved back in with me again and things were fine. Then another time she went to Jayapura and met her brother-in-law and he offered to marry her. I don't know if they did anything but I was mad so I went to our house and I didn't hit her but I broke 2 plates and a bowl. Then we were sitting and talking and Ice's husband and dad came and punched me. They took her to live with them again. After that she wanted a divorce. So we went to Wamena and I talked with her family and we divorced. She said that she's sick of having to carry a knife around me.
I informed Y that Biblically, stabbing your wife in the thigh was really unacceptable. I told him, that as a woman, if my husband stabbed me in the thigh, I would be very afraid of him! Maybe always afraid. I feel very sad that this couple didn't really have the chance to repair their marriage. He told us that he is going to church again and that he is working on his relationship with the Lord. We have told him that we want him to be our guard/yard guy and that we will talk with the brother-in-law and let him know who's boss. A fun thing to look forward to doing...

On Saturday the Dutch couple working here with the CVO and R the nurse went to Ibu N's home village and were able to bring back two girls to stay with her at the hospital. They went to the hospital together with Ibu N's sister, her daughter and Ibu N's 8 month old child. The reunion was an emotional one and R feels that the sister has had a change of heart and maybe will visit more often and take more care. N was mentally much more allert and was doing a lot better. An answer to prayer!