On Friday I rode along with Tripp Flythe for the day so that I could give him airstrip checkouts in Long Alango and Long Pujungan. Below, Pendeta (Pastor) Yahya walks down the Long Alango Airstrip in the direction of the village, carrying woven roofing thatch for his rice field pondok (hut).
The Long Alango airstrip from above. 385 flat, slippery meters long (actually short). This photo was taken on a different day.
Two pondoks surrounded by fields of beautiful, green rice growing next to the airstrip.
Long Pujungan airstrip, with the village just visible to the right.
An old photo that I took when Paul College and I got checked out at Long Pujungan a few years ago. It's a very narrow, dog-legged strip that has a challenging hooking approach and an exciting departure!
A few shots from the Kodiak last week.
Lunch in Mahak Baru. Fried rice with eggs, cucumbers, and hot Chile peppers. And hot, sweet tea. They're always so kind and generous there in Mahak, making sure the MAF pilots absolutely do not go hungry or thirsty!
It's so great to have Joy back from America! While she was gone, the kids and I did a lot of fun stuff around Tarakan and at home. One of the things that the boys and I worked on for a few days was a building project. The boys have been looking forward to working with dad on this for quite a few months, but I wanted a good chunk of time (a few days off work) to "hammer it out" without interruption. So we hit it hard while Joy was gone. It was a lot of fun!
What is it? Well, nothing fancy, that's for sure. But we closed in the area under the wooden stairs that climbs up the vertical stone wall behind our house to our two neighbors' houses. This is the new home for one of our many pets. He had outgrown his previous home, so he needed a bigger place to sleep and "hang out". This area gives him plenty of room to swing and climb, even though he spends much of his time free, out and about in our yard.
For those of you that do building or construction in the U.S, you may wonder why it would take a few days to throw something like this up? Good question. First of all, there never seems to be a time when there aren't interruptions here--whether it's water pipes breaking, LPG running out, or someone calling from the MAF hanger needing something. But the main thing is the wood. You can either buy soft wood that's easy to work with and will be eaten up by termites within a few months, or you can buy the really hard wood that will last for years but literally can't be nailed without pre-drilling. Oh, and it's all rough-cut.
You can't just go buy dimensional lumber or boards here like you can in the U.S. Every piece is just a little different diameter or thickness than the previous one, and often one piece varies in width or thickness from end to end. It comes to you right off the saw from the saw mill, and I often think the saw must be pretty wobbly. If you try to pound a nail through this stuff (even a descent size nail like a 16 penny), it will absolutely not go in. I can drive hundreds of nails in a row without problems in the U.S., but I can't drive a single nail through this stuff without pre-drilling a pilot hole. It's humiliating to my manhood! How about decking screws you ask? Well, first of all you can't buy them here, but I do have some from the States. In this case the wood will either break the screw in half, or the bit will shred the head of the screw, or you'll split the wood if you do not pre-drill a hole. So yeah, it takes a lot of time--always way longer than I estimate, b/c I'm still used to doing things the easy way in the U.S. Oh, and all I have to work with are hand tools--no table saws or anything like that. But who's in a hurry when you're having fun with your boys? Oh, and by the way, Hannah was happily reading a book nearby (her favorite pastime) and she's the one that took the picture of me and the four boys.