All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Irau Binuang 2012 (Part 1)

Last week our family had the chance to spend three nights in Binuang, one of our favorite villages interior.

This time we brought our good friend, Joy's house helper, Abi, along, as she has never yet had a chance to see the interior of Kalimantan.  All eight of us piled into a 206 and flew the one hour to Binuang on Thursday morning.

It was a great time we had, joining good friends from Binuang and surrounding villages who had gathered to celebrate Irau--a cultural festival and coming-together to celebrate traditions, play games, and discuss the best way forward for the future of their next generation.

In addition to plenty of games and activities, there were all kinds of delicious foods.  We never, ever went hungry.  One evening the very-hard-working ladies put together a fantastic display of a wide variety of traditional food from the jungle--many from times past.  Our family got to try all of it, including some that I'll share in a later post.

But the staple foods for the four-day celebration included plenty of water buffalo and pigs.  All said, at least 15 pigs and 5 water buffalo were killed and eaten during the course of Irau 2012.  Below, after killing a water buffalo, the men are covering it in a fire to burn the hair off the hide.

There was also plenty of beautiful cultural dancing and music and dress.

The first day I dropped Joy and Abi and the kids off, and then I had to fly all day to help bring people in from other villages.  When I stopped back in the village for lunch I found Joy and Abi in the large communal kitchen, chatting it up with all the ladies and helping to cut up sayur for the evening meal.

Each time one of our planes would land, the drums would kick in and the newcomers would be welcomed by traditional music and a group of beautifully-dressed ladies from the local welcoming committee.

We always love being interior, and this time was no exception.  It was a grand time, and we have so many good memories and pictures to share.  Check back soon, as I'm sure I'll do several posts showing other fun things we did while in Binuang for Irau 2012.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This and That

My mom just left after spending 10 days with us here in Tarakan.  We had a great time and I'm sure I'll post some pictures of that in the not so distant future.  But I'm a little behind on pictures right now, and in a few minutes our family is heading out the door to spend three days and nights in Binuang, a village in the Krayan region.  So until we get back, here's some random shots from the past few weeks. 

Before a medevac flight from Lebuson, everyone gathered around the plane to pray for the TWO patients.

One was a woman having complications in childbirth.  The other was a young guy that had a serious motorcycle wreck with head injuries.

One hour later they were being wheeled to two waiting ambulances in Tarakan.

Long Padi. 


Binuang - where we'll be for the next three and a half days.

Last Monday, July 09, was our 13th wedding anniversary.  I'm such a blessed guy to be married to my best friend!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Back in the Cockpit Again

Recently I've really enjoyed getting back into the cockpit again after mostly flying a desk for the past six months.  Last week I got to help transport a bunch of folks in the ApoKayan to the Rakerda event for the GKII church in Data Dian.  It was a three plane operation.  I flew a 206, Tripp also flew a 206, and Paul flew the Kodiak.

It takes a lot of coordination between the pilots and airstrip agents to keep things flowing smoothly all day when we're moving that many people in that short of a time span.  We try our best to stagger our arrivals and departures, so as not to get into a bottle neck.  But sometime in the afternoon we wound up all being on the ground at the same time in Data Dian.  Can you see that thing at the end of the yellow arrow?  That's one of the famous ApoKayan bumble bees.  I didn't know it was in the picture until I saw it on the computer screen.  These things are prehistoric-huge!  Seriously, they look and sound like small hummingbirds as they dive-bomb all over.  It's pretty scary!

In order to maximize our weight-carrying capacity from the smaller strips, Tripp and I carried a lot of fuel in at the beginning of the day and then drained the tanks to the minimum amounts (plus reserve) to complete the individual runs to each village.  Then, after each run we'd have to add more gas as Tripp is doing below.  Check out his blog too, to see some more fun shots and stories from that day.

Here's one more shot as Tripp takes off from Data Dian, and Paul and I are waiting our turn for departure in another 206 and the Kodiak.  Tomorrow, Monday, I will be flying the Kodiak in an attempt to take everyone home to their respective villages after their church meetings.  The problem is, due to lack of other planes and pilots, I'll be on my own this time.  So I'll plan on flying the whole day until just before sunset, and then spending the night in one of the villages, and then come home the following day after completing the flights, along with a few others.  Should be fun!

In addition to the Rakerda flying, I also did a lot of flying in the Krayan.  On Wednesday, I got checked out at the last remaining strip that I had yet to go into, that we use here in East Kalimantan, Bungayan.  It's 353 meters short, very undulating, sloped both from end to end and side to side, and goes into rising terrain.  Isaac Rogers came along to watch and was able to grab some photos with my Canon G1X.  So the below photo credit goes to Isaac, with me at the flight controls landing.

Lots of flying has meant getting home late in the evening.  I've landed at about 6:00pm or shortly thereafter more often than not in the past week or so.  Here's a shot of our town as I turn from downwind to base leg to land on runway 24 in Tarakan.  I've pointed out a few of the things around town.