November 03, 2009

A Trip Interior

November 4, 2009

Our family spent this past weekend in the village of Long Taan in the Krayan region of East Kalimantan.  Trips interior are always a blast for our family, and this one was no exception.  We took our house helper Orpa with us.  She is from the island of Sulawesi, from a mountainous village, so it was interesting to hear her observations on how it was different or similar to her home.  We stayed with one of David's friends, Pak Ajang, who frequently flies on the MAF plane.

David, Zoe, and Luke with Pak Ajang

It rained a good bit of the time while we were there, and the river was too high to go swimming like we'd hoped.  We asked Pak Ajang what they do when it rains.  "We sleep."  Oh, that was music to our ears!  Of course the kids weren't too interested in sleeping in the middle of the day, but I snuggled down with my book (Frank Peretti's Monster, a very appropriate read for the jungle) for a few hours. 

The rain, plus being at a higher elevation, made it deliciously cold for us.  It was in the 60s - which felt really, really nice.  The last time we experienced autumn was in 2000, so it was wonderful to be somewhere in October and it felt like October should!

Pak Ajang took us on a hike to his sawah (rice field), which was about a 45-minute walk from the village.  It was a gorgeous hike, through jungle and along the river, everything green and glistening in the rain.  Zoe managed to find every puddle along the way and was quickly covered in muck.  We all were pretty mucky by the time we reached the sawah, except for Ajang and his wife - who amazingly looked barely wet at all. 


We hung out for a while in their pondok (small hut on stilts) and had a meal of noodles, eggs, some kind of fruit I forget the name of, and some durian.  Durian is that enigmatic fruit of southeast Asia that so many people love - and I have yet to figure out why.  It smells like something rotten, and tastes even worse - yet people here love it.  I politely slammed down a few bites - which is better than the last time I tried it (gagged and spit).  Despite the durian, we had a pleasant time in the pondok.

Carter went off with Pak Ajang and his son to explore, hoping to find a snake to replace the one that escaped a few weeks ago.  They didn't see any snakes but had fun looking. 

Any time I go interior and observe how the women live there, I come away feeling like a wimp, like Napoleon Dynamite saying "I don't have any skills."  These ladies are amazing - they carry their own firewood, cook over a wood fire, work in the rice fields, haul incredibly heavy loads, butcher animals, weave baskets and mats.  They rock!

Note in the picture above, the lady in the back with the jean jacket.  She is Pak Ajang's wife, and she carried in our food and water in a woven basket.  I carried an umbrella.  :-)

On Sunday Orpa and I led Sunday school for the village children, and David preached at the church service.  We were blessed by the different groups who sang, particularly the older people.  After church and another meal, we loaded up the plane and headed home.

Some village kids gather around for a look at Carter's Snakes of Borneo book.

Orpa cuddles a very tired Zoe on the way home.

Sampai Jumpa (until later),