January 24, 2015

My Honda CB - 3 Years of Learning

When our family was in language school, I thought it would be a good move to buy a second bike, something other than our little cute scooter. So, I bought this 1977 Honda CB125 for a few hundred dollars. My reasoning was that it had the classic cool factor, and I could tinker with it to keep myself sane as Amy and I went to school to learn a new language as new arrivals in Indonesia. (NOTE: bikes in Indonesia don't really get bigger than 250cc as the taxes and fees go up exponentially for larger engines. It seems the old Honda 90's, 100's and 125's were quite popular back in the day).
I know it doesn't look that bad in the picture above, but it was corroding, worn out, or just needing replacement in almost every location. It had been patched back together many times over the years, using whatever was available to do so. My fellow MAF friend Jon Chin had already started rebuilding a motorcycle, so from his bad influence one thing led to another and before I knew it my bike was in pieces.

Below is the frame getting ready for some paint. The fender is not normally welded to the frame, but at some point this one got "modified". I remember strapping the frame as pictured below to the back of my scooter and taking it to a Tukang Las / Tukang Cat (Painter / Welder) to do a little fixin' & painting.
Below is how it left Central Java. The engine was rebuilt with a bigger 200cc cylinder from a Honda Tiger, and that is where the forks and electric cables came from as well.
Maybe 1.5 yrs later, and I'm ready to continue on with the project! After-market parts for scooters & motorcycles are plentiful in Indonesia, and the price is usually right even if the quality is not quite there. So, I bought this aluminum swing arm and made it work (after a lot of grinding and fitting), as the swing arm I replaced was not original. I also removed the back fender and attached it with bolts, a little more like it originally was. As this bike is a mixture of original, Honda tiger, and after market parts, pretty well nothing fits together without modifying it!

Part of doing a project like this here is to see what you can do with what you have. If that means painting out in the open with flip flops on, or using a grinder when a machine shop would be more appropriate - so be it! It's Indonesia. The resourcefulness of the people here and their ability to make things work with what I would consider to be very little is admirable. This part of having a bike to tinker with is pretty neat, as in language school I was able to use a shared interest with local guys as an avenue to learn a little bit about them, and how they do things differently.
I must say, what we call "culture" and the differences between said "cultures" is amazing how it affects us so deeply. Amy and I have been here for over 3 years, and it still seems that we are infants in our understanding of how things are done here. In fact, I think we've learned the art form of just accepting things we don't get (maybe with a little humour instead of frustration), rather than asking "why". You could even say our strong desire to ask "why" to things we don't understand is cultural. Actually, I'm pretty sure it is to some degree!
Writing this about our journey learning culture, I'm reminded of the largest, most intense, and most foundational journey of learning I've been on since arriving here, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was only 4 years old when I first knew Jesus; when I grasped in my young little head who I was, who Jesus is, and that I needed Him. I knew it, I believed it to be true, and yet in ways here in Indonesia I feel more like a child now. As I pull back a layer - as one would peel an orange - I find another layer underneath, and I realize a little more how deep the love of Christ runs, how needy I am for His grace, and how the seemingly basic runs down into the depths, beyond what I can fathom. It exposes me, a little more, then a little more. I become more aware of my imperfection, my sin, neediness. It exposes God to me; His Justice, His holiness, His righteousness, and my lack thereof.
And underlying it all, it exposes a love and grace that permeates everything, that can fill up and sustain and satisfy like nothing else. It is like we were created to be recipients of this grace; an unwarranted love. Just to write this is convicting, yet it also gives me a joy and a peace, as I know where there is conviction there is also an ongoing grace that is new each morning. There is so much I don't know, but I do know Jesus Christ. And I know He will continue to show more of Himself to me. Unlike me not quite getting this old bike perfect, I know God is faithful to finish what He said he would, and that is to continue His good work in my life, until the day of completion.
So it only took 3 yrs to get this bike to this point. And even as I write, it is parked once again with an electrical issue that is going to take a bit of time to figure out and fix. Bah! One day I'll get the gumption to work on it some more, but for now fixing airplanes seems to be enough for one day!

January 17, 2015

Into a New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, and all of that!  Yes, it may be the middle of January, but better late than never. Our fall and "winter" here has been jam packed with exciting action, none of which I have shared on this blog. Sometimes action packed means no time for much else, but that's okay! I'm happy to witness that somehow the world managed to continue on regardless.

One recent highlight was when our Pastor / friend visited from BC, Canada our home and native land! All be it only for a few days, it was so good to see Brian again, catch up on news from back home ,and be able to show Brian a little of our lives here on this island. He even got to go ride along as one of our MAF planes flew it's schedule, as any view of what MAF does here would be incomplete without seeing the area and people we serve.

Below, Charlotte is showing Brian the way to Luke & Simon's school.
Simon shows everyone his desk...
And Luke showing of his desk!
Simon sometimes enlists the help of his always-game little sister to carry his pack...and even lends his umbrella hat for a little extra shade.
 In our travels to "see all there is to see" of lovely Tarakan, we visited the monkey park located not too far from the city centre. It is about one square mile of mangrove forest that is home to a number of proboscis monkeys, a few macaque (common) monkeys, mud skippers, and you can even see a the odd snake slithering around in the muddy tidal waters.
Another favourite spot is the old Dutch guns that over look the southern tip of the island, a little WW2 history. I'm sure I've posted pictures of this area before. Below, Charlotte and Helena check out an old bunker.
Another waving monkey...

 Thanks Brian for coming! I wish I had more pictures, but alas, I do not. I'm sure you have quite a few yourself. We miss you all at CFBC and in Prince George, and look forward to visiting later this year!

September 26, 2014

Visiting Binuang - Part II

Shaking hands before our game. I played for the village of Runang, and Paul played for one of the Binuang teams. It was good fun, and boy am I glad we played at like 9am, because it was already plenty hot!
One definite highlight of the weekend was the low water level in the Krayan river, making it swimmable for kids. It reminded me of summer swimming visits to the "water wheel" along the Shuswap river just outside of Enderby, BC. No, there are no crocodiles this far inland to worry about, and sightings of swimming king cobras and/or gigantic reticulating pythons are pretty rare :)  (That comment was for the Grandma's).

The dugout canoes along the shore were a main attraction as the kids enjoyed pushing them out a little ways and tipping them.
Below, Simon taking a moment to pose introspectively for the camera.
What more could a sweet five year old girl want than to find a water buffalo skull to play with!
Our kids and the local kids had loads of fun playing together. These particular girls below had a blast giggling away at everything the boys did.
Ah yes, more water buffalo bones! Treasures of immeasurable value.
Some guy must have wondered later on why a whole bunch of old bones were neatly lined up in his canoe.
Tipping over the canoe, dumping the girls!
A couple more puppy pic's...
Blake & Luke...
Here's a cool little bird that wasn't doing too well. The boys tried to give it a little TLC.

Blake, Charlotte, & bird...
I just thought I'd throw this pic in of Helena because I like it.
And of course, our kiddos ended up with a 24hr stomach flu when they got home, Luke actually got it while still there. I guess this isn't unlike a lot of holiday type experiences back in Canada! Thank goodness for plastic puke buckets and TV :)

September 10, 2014

Visiting Binuang - Part I

In August our family had the opportunity to spend the weekend with a couple other MAF families in the village of Binuang, a location MAF flies to on a weekly basis. In August, Binuang hosted the Hari Merdekaan (Indonesian independence day) celebrations for the entire Krayan region. Among other things, this meant a soccer tournament! Myself and Paul College were invited to play, Paul for one of the Binuang teams (he has played for them in the past) and I played for the visiting village of Runang.

Both of our boys were given a chance to sit up front in the Kodiak as we travelled there and back, and Pilot Paul allowed them to even "fly" the plane a bit! (I think the most nervous person on the aircraft was their mother, as she realized her sons had their hands on the controls). They both did a great job, and I might need to do some convincing that fixing is as much fun as flying.
Simon checks out the jungles of Borneo.
Visiting an interior village often means an amazing experience that leaves you a bit worn out when you get home. It is a definite part from the "norm". It combines the feeling of camping with the experience of being a guest in a home that is also a world away - culturally speaking. That said, this trip had a relaxed feel to it that we almost didn't expect. Along with the four College boys and a number of local kids, our kids played hard 12+ hours a day, running about causing havoc in a way only kids can do. Generally speaking us adults were able to just hang out; visit with folks when we wanted to, and take a break when we needed to. 

I can't understate the importance for our families to have an opportunity like this. As a mechanic, both myself and my family spend 99.5% of our lives in Tarakan. We don't often rub shoulders with the people MAF is intentionally here to serve. To be able to just hang out with these people is awesome, as it connects us better with the people, culture, and faces that get on and off our aircraft regularly. 

If I never had the opportunity to actually meet the people that we fly for, or visit a village like this, I don't think it would change how I did my job in the hangar. I would still know what we're here for is important, and that it is very much a need specific to this area. That said, I find it hard to describe what it is like to all of a sudden be around a people who both know intimately the need for aircraft here, and appreciate it deeply. In Tarakan, most people I might meet on the street know very little about MAF; I could be a tourist, or maybe a pilot temporarily stationed here from another commercial company. Often we're just a caucasian family looking a bit out of place. In the interior locations we fly, there is a good chance the first person you talk to may have a family member who at some point in the past had their life saved by a medivac flight. I visited with one guy who showed me his scars and told me his own personal story of survival, of how he got flown out when he thought he was going to die, and got all stitched back up at a hospital.

We felt like we were treated more as family than as guests. To be on the receiving end instead of the giving end was great. To "give give give" is not a healthy relationship. Despite what I would consider harsh living conditions, God gives back to our family through these awesome people in a way only they can.

Below, Reg and Paul help tighten up Pak Kalvin's (Kalvin is in the back ground) front brakes. We all stayed in Kalvin's home. Paul & Beth College have become especially close with Kalvin's family over the years.
Along with dirt bikes, there was actually the odd 4x4 vehicle in Binuang. This is because there is a road to Long Bawan (a larger village west in direction from Binuang), but it is only passable in the dry season. From Long Bawan, supplies are brought in off-road style from Malaysia. Thus, in dry season, it is actually possible to bring goods & services from Malaysia to here via road.

But as Kalvin's brother explained to me, this can quickly come to a halt. Sometimes blockades a put up on the road to Malaysia. And, as soon as the rain starts...forget about using roads! When this happens, the villages in this area become as isolated as they've always been.

To delight of the kids, there were three puppies nearby. They got treated a wee bit rough but received a whole lotta love from a lotta little hands!
Charlotte & puppy.
Tripp Flythe landed in a 206, an was greeted by Charlotte & puppy.
Helena waiting her turn with this particular puppy. Don't worry, it's not dead, and Helena got plenty of turns.
"Ooohhh, you are sooo cute! Goo goo baby puppy! He wants to have a little sleep, awwww, he likes meeee.........NOOO! MY PUPPY!! It's my turn you had him already!!....Don't do that he doesn't like it!!!  MOM!!  DAD!! She's poking the puppy and I just got the puppy!! Tell her to stop!!! " (something like that)
More pic's to come!

August 31, 2014

Around the Home

Meet Guster, he's a pug, he comes from Surabaya on the Island of Java, and his favourite colour is unknown. The types of dogs you can procure locally don't always work out well as pets (as we found out first hand)...hence we are happy have Gus!
Gus meet the Eadies, Eadies meet Gus.
Simon and Gus, love at first sight! All of our kids are really good with Gus, and he adds a little extra barking security to our yard (which is one of the main reasons we got another dog, as having even a little one in the yard means folks will think twice before jumping the fence uninvited).
Charlotte's 3rd birthday happened in May, what a big girl! It is weird to remember how she was about 6 months old when we moved to Indonesia. Below, she is sporting a princess dress she got for her birthday.

An all girl party and pink princess cake rounded out her day...
For Luke's birthday in June, one of the events was they had to build a specific type of lego contraption (that I thought up, but I now cannot remember what it is I requested) in a short amount of time. Here are the two teams with their creations...
Notice Luke sporting his new Canucks hat and T-shirt. Oh the faith of little children, my heart is still recovering from the final game 7 in 2011.

Here the kids are standing right outside the front gate of our home.  I cannot remember who they were waiting for at the time, probably the ice cream man...So they can scream and jump in an uncontrollable ice cream frenzy and then turn to me and plead for me to buck up and pay. Yes, we actually have an ice cream man here, who'd of thunk! He uses a scooter with an insulated icebox contraption on the back and plays a catchy electronic ice-cream tune. He certainly markets himself well to those of us that originate from ice cream eating cultures who are lured ever closer by the comparatively low prices and hot Borneo heat.