Some random shots from interior, taken over the past few months. These are the people we serve.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Here's a few shots taken from our house over the past week or two. Below is one of the newer mosques in town. There are many mosques being built throughout Tarakan. Off in the distance, under the setting sun are the mountains of mainland Borneo.
We've been getting a lot of huge storms over the past few weeks. Sunday night we had a crazy lightning storm. On Monday we discovered that our hangar and offices had been hit, resulting in a bunch of fried equipment and hardware. As frustrating as this was/is, it's only one of many challenges that have been facing our program and staff lately. We really appreciate and need your prayers, now more than ever!
Another early-evening storm, as viewed from our front yard.
On mother's day we went to Warung Bambu for lunch. It's a quaint little place built over a pond, with separate eating huts, all made out of bamboo, where you sit on the floor at a low table.
The food is traditional Indonesian, which we all love. Here, nasi goreng (fried rice), with an egg on top, and sate (grilled chicken on a stick).
And here's the amazing, gorgeous mother of five!
And finally an airplane shot. Right now we have nine vision trip folks here from the U.S. and Canada. On Friday we took them interior to spend the night in a village. As I flew around from village to village all day, I always had one of these potential future missionary pilots riding along. Several of them got to see first-hand what we do out here. And waiting for rain is part of what we do. Just after landing in PaUpan the skies opened up and it began to pour. I waited about an hour before finally being able to take off again from a very wet and muddy strip.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Here's a few more random shots from our island weekend.
When we went to grab the bread to make some PB&J sandwiches...surprise!
And here's some sea turtle eggs that had hatched, the shells left empty like a pile of squashed ping pong balls.
We got to see some fresh hatchlings that just popped out that night. The turtles are endangered, so there's some people that watch over the eggs and turtles so they don't get eaten by people or animals. We got to help set this little guys free into the ocean. Less than five out of a hundred will make it to adulthood.
And finally, a few shots of the kids.
Never a dull moment with these two ham bones!
Britton is a great big brother and a good role model for his younger siblings.
Britton and Hudson.
Hannah was the only young girl in our MAF group that went to the island, but she found local friends to play with.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Derawan is a very small island not far off the coast of Borneo in the South Celebes Sea--home to an Indonesian fishing village of about 800, and numerous food stalls and penginapans (sleeping places) like the one pictured below. The population there means a little less peace and quiet (and a little more trash) than is found on several of the surrounding, uninhabited islands. However it also means cheap food and places to stay. To see other scenery pics from previous Derwan trips go here. To see some of the people on the island go here.
Because of the overcast skies I wasn't able to get any good underwater photos this time. But if you want to see what it normally looks like underwater, check out a some of the pictures I took on previous trips of a few of the critters here, and the corals here,
To get there we took a speed boat directly from Tarakan. There are other ways to do it, but if you put together a large enough group and split the costs, this is definitely the best way to go. Joy and several of the other wives were not at all looking forward to this part of the trip--something about small boat, large ocean, tidal waves, sharks, etc. etc. I talked it all up about how great it would be--no big deal, it's like a Sunday afternoon drive in the Appalachian mountains. But b/c of the ugly weather, I proved to be a fool. We got into some wild rain and wind and we all got soaked and...well, it just wasn't the best part of the trip. This shot was taken before we hit the weather.
Here's a view from the front porch of the place where we stayed. Normally, it's a beautiful scene out into the ocean. This picture pretty much captures the ambiance during most of our time there--overcast with anything from drizzle to pounding rain! Note to self: next time check if there's a typhoon in the area BEFORE planning island getaway.
Again, rather than beautiful blue skies and shimmering sees, this was the scene.
But a little rain in the tropics will never kill the fun for a bunch of energetic kids on an adventure. Our good friends and neighbors, the College's were along as well, and their kids and ours played for hours on the rain-soaked beach and in the water.
One of their favorite things was to wrangle large drift logs--trying to float on top of them and use them as boats and whatnot.
The second day was a sinister--stormy looking day, and several of our team opted to stay in the comforts of the cottages. But the rest of us ventured a trip to nearby Kakaban. It's one of only two places in the world that has a captive, lake-type environment with an ecosystem like this. Kakaban is a purely volcanic island that rises straight up out of the inky, dark, blue-black depths. Surrounding the island is a very narrow band of some of the most amazing coral reef you'll see anywhere in the world, and hundreds of different species of fish and marine life. These are some of the most diverse marine waters in the world. But what truly makes Kakaban unique is the lake. Inside the volcanic crater is a lake that is neither fully fresh, nor fully salty. It's a mixture of both. And inside this lake are millions of jellyfish--of which there are four species. Outside, in the ocean, these same jellyfish would provide a painful sting, or even death. But inside the lake they have lost their ability and/or need to sting. The result is an other-worldly experience as you swim among myriad jellyfish--translucent and pulsating hypnotically in every direction. Anywhere you turn they are there, and you can touch them and hold them and it's very bizarre. The kids absolutely love it! This is the little jetty at Kakaban lake, from which you can peer or jump into the water to enjoy the jellyfish.
A view of the very narrow beach on Kakaban. Indeed, large sections of the island have no beach at all, but simply jagged, slippery lumps of lava rock, as sharp as shards of broken glass, that fall away straight into the ocean and plunge out of sight into the depths. It can actually be a bit freaky to swim out along the edge of the reef and see how the island's edge drops straight down into oblivion.
The kids had a blast playing here as well. There are crabs and snails and shells all over, and for a brief bit of time the clouds thinned out and the sun almost poked through and the waters took on the aqua-clear color that they usually are.
On our way back to Derawan we swung by Sangalaki, another nearby island that offers gorgeous, Robinson Crusoe type feelings. But as you can see, the weather was not cooperating! What you see on the horizon was quickly barreling our way and soon bore down on us in full force. We returned to Derawan soaked wet from both sea and rain, but it was still a fun day.
Check back soon for the third and final installment in the Island Weekend series.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
A few months ago our family joined several other MAF families on a weekend get-a-way to a beautiful tropical island--not the one we live on!
Comparing the island we live on, Tarakan, to a tropical paradise would be like comparing New Jersey to Hawaii. If you live in or love New Jersey don't be offended, I'm just saying... There's beauty here in Tarakan but you have to choose to look for and see it. Tarakan is basically a flat, sandy/muddy island surrounded by brackish muddy water where a large river dumps into the ocean at the edge of Borneo. There's lots of people here, shrimp farms, coal, oil, gas, trash, gardens, but no white sandy beaches with clear water.
However if you hop on a speed boat (the boat in the above picture is NOT a speedboat) and go about three or four hours south of here, you come to a little cluster of islands that feels like a whole different world!
Britton and I have been there several times over the past six years, but this was the first time the whole family came along. Joy isn't fond of sharks--which she's convinced are found in abundance everywhere in the ocean and which are all totally focused on eating her the moment she gets within reach. And up untill recently our other kids weren't really old enough or good enough swimmers to enjoy snorkeling and whatnot. But this time we finally pulled it off as a family!
Unfortunately, this time we had by far the worst weather I've seen at the islands. It rained and stormed much of the time we were there, but more on that later. The important thing is that we still had fun.
Here's a few random shots of some of the beauty we enjoyed.
This was a very unique spot--it's a narrow strip of sand that becomes exposed in the middle of the ocean at low tide. I've seen it off in the distance several other times that I've been to Derawan, but I never really quite new what it was. This time we hired a guy with a tiny boat to take us over there to see what it was. It was very surreal to be surrounded by nothing but ocean, while walking on a narrow band of white sand that was only inches above the lapping water.
And this was the only morning that we did NOT wake up to rain and overcast. In fact, all of the pictures in this post that show non-overcast skies were taken within one and a half hours of each other on the same morning, before it clouded over again and began to rain.
Stop back soon for the second post in this "Island Weekend" set of 3, where I'll show you some more specific shots of what the kids did and saw.