Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm pleased to report, that while our faces our still rather whitish, the boys and I are on the road to recovery. The medicine that we take for malaria does not have the nasty side effects of quinine but does lower ones blood sugar level to dizzy-spell inducing levels and leaves a rather unpleasant taste in ones mouth. We are all looking forward to feeling energetic again!

Funny story.
This morning, not having much energy, I spent the little energy that I had in reserve, visiting my two good friends who are horizonalized with dengue fever. Yes, for some strange reason all three of us became afflicted at around the same time, me being the first to fall. Well, not so strange as we all camped at the beach at the same time.... Visit number one occurred at my neighbours house. Before heading over I informed "I" that I would be going next door. I had my visit and went back home to discover my house locked up tight and me without a key in my pocket. Arrggg... I was on a tight timeline as I needed to visit friend number 2 yet and then pick up Brynne from school so I walked down to I's house to ask her to open the door. She was there and we walked back together. I thought nothing of it all. This evening "I" came back to pick up her washed blankets and told me that my "visit" had prompted much discussion amongst her father and neighbours. Upon her return home her father immediately told her to sit down at the table. She assumed he was angry about something. He asked her why I had come to their house, what had she done? She must have broken something because she's sick of working and wants to get fired. "I" explained that no, nothing had happened, just that all the doors had been locked. Then a neighbour came by and asked her why I had come. Then another, and another.... She was ruing the fact that I had come! I joked that I should come more often as it obviously gives some very bored people something to talk about.... "I" was horrified...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well, tropical diseases have hit our family hard this week. Christiaan has malaria tropika +2 and Aidan has malaria tropika+1. I have either malaria or dengue fever. I started feeling sick on Friday already but thought I'd just overdone it at basketball and then shopping in Abe. On Saturday I should have done a slide but didn't. Early Sunday morning I woke up shivering and sweating yet freezing cold. As it was Sunday I decided to just start taking malaria meds instead of waiting to have a slide read. But it appears that my symptoms may be more on the dengue fever end of things. Blah... So I have to drink like a fish and wait for the telltale rash that should appear on day 5 to confirm. I feel very weak, my knee joints hurt, my head is dizzy and I feel nauseous off and on.
I'm sick of being sick so lets move on from that...
Last Friday was the third anniversary of the death of R's husband. click here to read the story. She now believes that he died of a stroke or heart attack. She really loved him and he was her best friend but his family caused her nothing but suffering. Last Friday his entire family came to her house to have a big meal together. Everyone brought food but R feels that this party was unusually large and wonders what is behind it. Because R only has a daughter his family has been making comments about how she shouldn't be allowed to continue living in the house as it was her husbands parents house. Boy decendents are very important. R hopes to be able to hang on there until she is done school in about a year and a half.

Friday, January 21, 2011

During Hugo's week off he and I's husband built a swing set in the backyard. While on furlough we'd found some heavy duty swing seats with chains at Value Village for cheap and brought them back with us. Hugo made the set out of iron wood so it should last a while... This also gave I's husband some work which is always a good thing!

This is a little video I took on my phone of a group of people doing a traditional chant on New Years day. It's a bit far away but they made such a neat sound I had to try!

Monday, January 17, 2011

We'll start off with a couple pics just because they are so cute! It was R's birthday recently and I bought the girls matching Barbie t-shirts. I had also baked a chocolate cake on her birthday so she and her mom and aunt ate some with us. R just had dengue fever right after getting over the chicken pox! Poor girl!
R's mom with baby Joy who's just the cutest patootie ever!

Today the kids started school again. I think they were ready for routine again.
I've taken on kindergaten PE in addition to Grades 1-2. Should be a hoot. There's only 6 kids in K and 22 in the gr1-2.
We're so thankful for the teachers who've just arrived to fill the vacant spots!
Hugo's back at work and things in the hangar are busy as usual.
A couple weeks ago I's husband punched her again. This time he asked for money because he wanted to have his friends over for a meal on New Years. I told him that she had no money (mostly true because she'd had a motorcycle accident while borrowing someone's bike so she had to pay) and he got mad and punched her. When Hugo and I married, we joined our bank accounts and our possessions etc... That's the way it should be no? Well, here I have difficulty with that view. I works for me. Her hubby has no job. He doesn't seem to spend much time looking for work either and is easily bored. You'd think that he would feel guilty or something and at least take care of the housework and cooking, but no, he doesn't do that either. The older people in the community have told I that she should work for her husband, just like her mom worked for her dad back when they were still married. Nice. Way back when, I's mom's employer, a Canadian woman, helped her build a house. Apparently the only part paid for by I's dad was the zinc roofing. When they divorced, he got the house. Nice. I asked me if in a marriage the woman was supposed to work to support the husband or vice versa.... I gave her the Biblical answer. I have to admit, I do not envy her her life. I just pray that things will improve as they grow up and grow older. But I'm not going to hold my breath. Women are considered inferior to men and not really worthy for anything but birthing offspring and cooking.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Camping at the beach...

Hugo has this week off of work. It is the first week he's had off since we returned from furlough waaay back in July. It was, we decided, high time that we went camping at the beach. Now, camping here is not like camping in North America. There's no booking your site online 3 months in advance. No option for hook-ups or RV sites... Here, you make a plan and pack absolutely everything you'll need for the duration of your stay and you drive down to the dock and hope there's a boat willing to take you. There always is... You negotiate a price and load up the boats. In our case, we went with two other families (Canadian families!) and so we needed 2 boats. One for stuff, and one for people. We told them which beach we wanted to go to and that was where they dropped us off. It's not a super long stretch of beach, but there are a few choices of where you'd want to set up camp. We picked what we thought was the best place. News travels fast in these parts and the lady who owns that section of the beach showed up and we negotiated a price per night with her. A rather reasonable price I might add. The advantage of camping on that particular stretch of beach is that there is a bathroom around the mid-way point. However, that bathroom is owned by a different fellow than the part of the beach we stayed at. During our three day stay there, he came to work on his bathroom and is enlarging it. It's quite the bathroom (I forgot to take a photo...). The hinges of the door are made from old inner tube. Someone put up a World Vision poster around part of the outside wall cause it was a bit holey. It's a squat pot of course. Anyways, in the end we paid him some money because some of us did make use of this toilet during our stay. He was happy I think.
Tarps are crucial as it usually rains at night. It only rained a bit during our second night. Plus, with a tarp you don't need to put up your fly which only serves to make your tent more oven-like... Thankfully by the middle of the night it cooled off a bit.
It is wavy season here so boogie boarding is the thing to do!
There's Hugo catching a big wave around the corner from our beach, the only place to catch a wave big enough to surf on.
This is what a man is supposed to do on his holidays!
The government decided to "help" the people who own the various parts of this beach and give them pre-fab shelters to put up. So we decided to use one of said shelters as a "kitchen" and were pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to pay extra to use it! (See right hand-side of photo above) We had to bring all our own drinking water and we did dishes with water from a fresh-water pool located near our camp. We cooked on little stoves that use little cans of butane. Very handy!
It was a fun time at the beach and we definitely want to do it again!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Nona's Birthday...

Yesterday was Nona's 8th birthday. She really wanted to have a big birthday party. If you are a regular on this blog you may have seen some of the photos from Indonesians birthday parties. Lots and lots of people come and you receive lots of presents/money and you have a "program". Nona doesn't understand that this isn't possible for her mother to afford. Nona's father left Nona's mother long before she was even born. For a number of years Nona, her brother and her mom lived with her fathers parents on another island. As you can imagine, that wasn't the optimal situation. Ibu Y decided to come here to Papua (where she had lived while married and had friends) to start a new life for herself. She was forced to leave her children behind until she had established a life here. There were issues with the in-laws, they wanted money and then they didn't want to take care of the kids anymore etc... Last year while we were on furlough, Nona's father died and Ibu Y actually accompanied his body back to his home island. While there it was decided that she would take Nona back with her but the in-laws wanted to keep the boy (or so I understand). It's been hard for Ibu Y to suddenly be a parent again and it was hard for Nona as she'd been allowed to do whatever she wanted. So the two of them have been going through an adjustment period. They have rented a little house of their own to live in which is great. Ibu Y works very hard to provide for her and Nona. About a year and a half ago I was able to help her find a job as a house helper and she also helps out other people with ironing and such and she takes orders for specialty cakes and treats.
Anyways, Ibu Y thought it would be nice to have a party with the kids from church to celebrate. So after Sunday school (before the service) we decorated the room a little and then after the service all the kids went back there and we sang and prayed. Nona's mom also asked her to obey her better and not be naughty and try her best at school. Then Nona sang a song for us. At the end Nona gave everyone a plastic container with nasi goreng and a little bag of krupuk. We gave her a gift bag with lots of girly stuff in it. It was nice to do something special for this little girl.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Visit to Ifar Gunung (Mountain)...

The kids are still enjoying their holidays and we still have another week left! On Friday afternoon the kids and I went to Mount Ifar with our friends the J's. To visit Mount Ifar you need to enter a military complex and report at the entrance and leave a piece of official ID. You are required to remove your sunglasses and drive with your windows down at all times. First we drove up to a spot from which we could hike down to the river. The hike is about 15 minutes or so through the jungle for a bit. There are cocoa trees, although none had any fruit. Then we played in the river for a bit before driving up to the McArthur monument from where you have a fabulous view of Sentani. There we had a picnic supper. Fun times!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I love my Blackberry and I love that I can take photos without it being super obvious that that's what I'm doing... Especially while shopping... Following is a small sample of what's for sale here... And while I'm on the road, this is who's sitting beside me:

One evening, being too pooped to cook, I bought chicken and rice from this little place for the kids... Hugo, Mikah and I love Nasi Kuning (yellow) and the flavourful chicken that comes with it but the younger kids palate has yet to be able to accept such full flavour... This is a pretty classy joint eh?

This is my favourite brand of baby gear...

Fireworks anyone?

Haven't tried these yet...

This is just YUCK!!

Looking for a "Little House on the Prairie" look?

Happy New Year!

I can finally post properly again! Thanks to my bestest friend P for posting my last post for me. Our internet guardian is really rather fickle...
Where do I begin!! New Years Eve of course...
We celebrated with our Canadian friends and let off fireworks at around 8:00 in the evening, before the kiddies went to bed. We've combined our funds to enable us to purchase some larger more impressive fire works. And they didn't disappoint. It's so much fun here! No pesky laws regarding the purchase of fire works... :-) At least an hour before midnight the celebrations began in earnest. All of Sentani was letting off large fireworks. It was non-stop for that hour! Unbelievable! Unfortunately, due to our location and the surrounding trees, we didn't have the best view. The power wasn't so continuous. It went on and off a number of times and eventually stayed off until 11:00 the next morning. It was oliebollen for breakfast!

On Sunday we were forced to meet as a church in the bottom (spreading to outside) of our pastors house. The lock on the door of the building we meet in was broken and refused to open. At the bottom of our pastors house (an old ZGK home) are double doors opening to a small room. Outside and above that room is a deck so the people outside were shaded from the sun. That's where all the early-comers sat of course, more airflow out there. We ended up inside... As our pastor was recovering from malaria we had asked a guest to preach. He had a nice sermon on grace. On the wall behind him there were two anti-HIV posters. Keep Papua free of HIV they proclaimed... As our collection bags were in the "locked" church, we used one of those little store bags made from recycled goods. This one was from some salon. Afterwards we had a nice time talking with the church members. One of them had just come back from a trip to Israel. He is a videographer and was asked to go with a group of 150 people. Groups like these receive government grants and use them to go to Israel and Palestine to see the places Jesus lived and worked. The majority of the people on this trip were Papuans, many from the interior. The only non-Papuans along were those with jobs like, nurses, a doctor and our videographer friend. They stayed in 4 star hotels the entire time. It was rather comedic at times because many of the Papuans from interior had no idea how to run a bath or flush a toilet as such luxuries are not usually found in the interior. I have mixed feelings about these trips. Straight-hairds from other islands also get government grants and come here and start businesses and make a living. I wish Papuans would do this too! There are precious few Papuans who actually have businesses here.
We as a family have had a very blessed year this past year. We had the opportunity to go to Canada and see many family, friends and supporters. Our children could experience their homeland and get reacquainted with it again (or for the first time!). We were able to spend time in Holland with family and friends also. Hugo was able to complete his studies for his mechanics license and also pass all his government exams. He also began a new challenge as the Maintenance Operations Manager for MAF here in Sentani. We as a family were blessed with good health for the most part. Never something to be taken for granted! We were also able to grow in our knowledge and love for the Lord. We wish you all the Lord's blessings in the New year!