July 27, 2013

Buduk Kubul Part 3

Here are a bunch more pic's of our time in Buduk Kubul...
Group photo!
Above Simon tries out the gongs. About 30 seconds later some guys decided it was time to take them down...go figure.
Simon starring down a water buffalo. Notice the wires going from one house to another, this village uses a communal generator in the evenings for power.

Below Luke plays some soccer with some local kids. After just 24 hrs, Luke new the names of 6 different kids, and was really sad to leave on the plane. It was so cool to see him jump right in and just soak up where he was, and make friends so quickly!
Croc's aren't exactly the best for soccer :)
Charlotte given' er!
You don't have to walk far out of town to start getting into the rice fields. Above is a water buffalo soaking up a little mud, and maybe hoping his immediate future does not involve providing delicious meat for the festival.
Above, is the pastor of the local church, and also MAF's rep in Buduk Kubul. He helps get passengers & bags weighed and checked, and also gives daily runway & weather reports to the pilots over the HF radio.

Helena & her new basket walking with Momma.
 Above, some young guys from the village helped carry our bags from the village to the airstrip.
Another nice view of the valley. I was really struck by the lack of garbage here. Often, garbage is an ever-present & unpleasant reality in developing countries. But out here, garbage has a long way to travel to get here. When we left, we were careful to take out whatever we brought in (just like good tree lovin' West Coast Canadians ought to...).
 Here comes our ride home!
 We flew in on a Cessna 206, and it was neat to be able to compare flying out in a Kodiak. Everyone had their own seat, and all our baggage and gifts fit on no problem! On the way in, it was more like sardines in a can and the pilot told everyone to lean forward to get off the ground (just joking). This is the kind of situation you really see the benefits of the Kodiak - being able to land in a spot like Buduk Kubul, yet do a lot more work in one trip!
 Charlotte running to Mom, and Helena is making sure her new basket makes it on the plane.
This is Charlotte's favourite way to fly, and we don't mind a bit!

July 17, 2013

Buduk Kubul Part 2

This post is a continuation from our last post: Our families experience staying overnight in the small interior village of Buduk Kubul! But I must mention first, this post is a week late as a result of the internet not co-operating with me, and I lost my entire first version of this post into the never never land of internet 1's and 0's. So, without further delay, here is edition 2...

As soon as we arrived to the home we were staying in, these guys below showed up with a still alive Porky Pig strapped to the back of their bike. Food for the feast!

Not more than an hour later, we went over to the village meeting house where Porky Pig was already being prepped for eating. Poor Luke, as soon as he saw the pig, he thought about a nice delicious side of ham, and kept saying, "YUM! It's been so long since I've had ham, I love ham!!"

No, "ham" is not pictured below, but rather 2 plus inches of delicious fat, which just happens to be the prize part of a pig in these parts. Although not my personal favourite (as I used to drive my Mom crazy by pulling every little piece of fat off of any meat I was served), it was so neat to be invited into their homes and places of meeting, and share in the festivities. We met nothing but kind people during our short time here.
Below is one of many "pre-meal" spreads we were fed. It is important in a situation like this to not stuff your face the first opportunity you get, because the next meal 20min.'s later will come and you'll be in hurtin'. We were treated like honoured guests, and it is humbling to have people who don't have that much give so generously.

Below, Luke is peering out the window at a pretty heavy afternoon down pour. It is neat to think of all these items that have been brought in by air to this location over the years...maybe even this window!
Below, cooking over an open fire...how cozy and quaint! Actually, it is the way they role here. Most cooking in Indonesia is done via liquid propane gas, "LPG" (that's what we use in Tarakan, you pay to get bottles filled which are kind of like big BBQ propane bottles). Unless of course you are too poor to afford LPG, or just can't get your hands on it. We knew families in Central Java in language school (which is a much more central location in Indonesia with roads and large populations) who cooked over a open fire on a dirt floor. Here in the interior of Borneo, even if they could afford it , they can't get it. So, this is how they do all their cooking!
Amy and the kids hanging out with the women as they prep some more of Porky Pig's insides :) I must add, a lot of the food served to us was quite tasty.

Above is some of the rice paddies in the valley surrounding the village. Below, Wilburt and Mersi chit chat in the meeting house.
Below, Amy and the girls chatting with some women in their traditional attire. Because we landed late and missed some of the earlier festivities, these ladies got dressed up later in the evening and redid their full presentation for us. Unfortunately, I personally missed it as it was in the wee hours of the morning and I had taken Helena to bed.
More to come!

July 2, 2013

A Family Visit to Buduk Kubul

One very cool aspect of the MAF program here is the opportunity every once in a while for MAF family to visit the interior. By "interior" I mean the vast, sparsely populated inland areas of East and North Borneo - the areas our MAF program serves.

As a mechanic, I spend my days in Tarakan. It is the people at the hangar, the grocery store, the bengkel (auto/scooter repair shop), & around the neighbourhood that I interact with. My experience does not often bring me into first person contact with the people & communities who rely on MAF. So last week Amy and I jumped at the chance to take our family for a night in the village of Buduk Kubul, something we feel both us and the kids could really benefit from!
Ready to go! Hard to believe you can fit a family of 6, two other adults, & a pilot in a Cessna 206 (that's 9 souls, and yes, we were safely within the load limits). Needles to say, we didn't bring too much along. I actually had one small suitcase flown in the day before.
 Luke & Si ready to roll! 

Below, Charlotte quickly settled into a nice knap once up in the air. Helena sat on my lap just in front of Amy and peeked out the window the whole way there.
 Buduk Kabul is located in the Krayan region, which is nestled in the North Central area of Kalimantan and borders Malaysia. It is cut off from the coast by what is pictured below - dense jungle and some fairly decent sized mountains.

Once landed, we were greeted by some excited kids, who smartly used the wing to stay out of the sun. We quickly copied them, acting like we would have done the same right away anyways:)

Below, Steve is taking the plane up to the end of the runway to turn around and take off. It is hard to tell in this picture, but this is one of those "one way only" runways, where you can only land and takeoff in one direction. The reason for this is obviously the wall of jungle at one end of the 400 something meters of runway. When wet, landing in places like here can be like a car in fresh snow with bald all-season tires!

We were actually ready to go 7am in the morning, but waited till after lunch before leaving, as it was imperative to ensure the runway had dried out from the morning rain. Just a couple months ago, the only other company that flies into some of these areas had a plane run off the end of the runway in place not too far from here, the main cause being a slippery runway. Thank God no one was hurt, but the plane still sitting, waiting for repairs.

This trip was monumental for Amy, as it is not only our family's first trip interior, but Amy's first flight in an MAF plane! For 11 years she has made decisions big and small in her life knowing & trusting that God may have plans to use her overseas, to serve Him in one aspect or another. 11 years, preparing and working behind the scenes so-to-speak. Without wives pouring themselves into to their families and spouses, operations like MAF would come to grinding halt. Her call to serve is just as important and certainly just as needed as those who fix or fly the aircraft. And here she is, riding in a plane and seeing the interior of Kalimantan for the first time!

More on our visit to Buduk Kubul...coming soon!