Medivacs, Breaktime, to Daily life.

Greetings Dear Friends & Family,

Looking at the date of our last post I realize we are a bit behind keeping you all informed in the life and times of our family so bear with me as I try and do my best to catch you up to date.  I’m going to work backwards from newest to oldest.

This past Saturday MAF Papua celebrated 60 years of service here in Papua combined with a celebration of Christmas.  It had a large turn out which was great along with some great food, my favorite being the fresh catch of the day (best fish I’ve had since arriving in Indonesia).  Also earlier in the day I had the privilege of being included on the flight schedule.  Why would this be different well it happened to be the 5th day in a row to fly, normally on a full week of flying is 3-4 days depending on the situation.  The reason for the extra day was, I was nearing the 40hr mark of flying here in Papua and it’s good to have a second set of eyes take a sample of how the training is progressing and it just so happened our Chief Pilot was flying Saturday so I hopped on board to get the seconded opinion.  The reason I even want to mention this particular day of flying from the rest is what we were privileged to do on the way home from our first outbound of the day.  On the way to our first location we received a request for a medivac from Soya which was about 40 miles from our destination.  Soya in the past has a reputation for making up medivac emergencies which make things difficult to know if the situation is real or just a ruse to get the plane to their village for business purposes.  The decision thankfully rested in the hands of Tim who I was flying with.  After some quick calculations and processing info he had about this possible situation earlier in the week he decided to go over to Soya after we dropped our load in Angguruk.  And it turned out to be a good choice to go as the emergency was indeed real.  The girl we picked up was about 6 years old and reasonably tall for her age but only 12-15Kg (26-33Lbs).  She was very ill but not sure with what.  Upon arriving into Sentani it was difficult to tell if she had even survived the flight (and not due to my flying for those that might have thought that 😐 ).  It was a great relief to hear her cry shortly after her father had carried her off the plane.  I still haven’t heard how she is doing hopefully I can get some more info in the next day or two.  Please pray with us that this girl will be able to return to her family and village shortly.  The other flights from earlier during the week were routine cargo and passengers in and out of different villages interior.

The previous week we enjoyed the week off as a family.  We didn’t venture to far from home, one day we took a short ride around part of the nearby Lake Sentani.  Which of course we forgot our cameras but we did remember to take them on our family shopping trip to Abepura which you can see from the pictures my wife is doing remarkably well handling her scooter fully load in Papuan traffic.


During our shopping adventure we saw a few things that seemed unusual to us, which is common to happen for us foreigners.  First was a very colorful Christmas tree ( which Jaclynn loved)  for sale and it was only 4.25 Juta which is about $400.00ish.  The part that is even crazier to me is the locals buy new every year, they don’t store their Christmas stuff like we do.  Christmas just got a lot more expensive.  I think we’ll keep storing and reusing our stuff.

The other odd thing that stuck out to me and made me think of my dad, was what seemed to me to be very large cans of sardines.  If you are a sardine fan and can’t find a big enough supply, come for a visit and I can hook you up. I’m not a connoisseur of sardines so maybe these are normal size cans, they just seem really big from what I could remember from back home.

You can take this farm boy away from the farm
but you can’t take away the farmer tan.

Day one of our break I started to do some overdue repair work to the motorcycle we bought to fill in the gap while we waited on paperwork for our bikes we brought from Salatiga.  My darling wife let me turn our front porch into a bengkal aka repair shop. It’s still sitting in pieces 2 weeks later, it did get new tires but that is as far as I’ve gotten  maybe the week over Christmas break I’ll make some more headway.

While I was busy tearing my bike apart Jaclynn and Julie had a great time decorating the house for Christmas.  Still getting used to the idea of Christmas while it is +30 (86) degrees, this is by no means a complaint just something that I’m not used to yet :-).
The boys were off playing with computer or PS2 etc.

Franklin figuring out his new I touch device.

We also enjoyed some family chilling time watching Dukes of Hazards and Gilligan’s Island during the break as well. If you look close my eyes are open I’m not sleeping.

Isaac got his share of PS2 time as well.
I pay extra for a good looking Ojek driver (scooter taxi driver)

Prettiest looking gal in Papua taking care of her family

This picture is of a surprise we had one evening in our bathroom.  Those are ants in case you were wondering.  Julie as she is so good at going Chuck Norris on them with the raid can and the aftermath had about 3/4″deep x 3/4″ wide x the length of a typical broom of dead ants.

Overall we had a great week off as a family just hanging out around the house doing a little bit of sight seeing and swimming.  I heard about a beautiful river to swim in about 1 1/2 drive which I hope to take our family to during the Christmas break.  We’ll be sure to remember our cameras for that trip.

The last few pictures are from a couple different runways I’ve been at recently.  The first one I won’t be landing at solo for a while it has a slope of 14% in the touch down leveling off to gentle 8% then rising again to 24% up to the parking area.  The pictures taken outside the airplane are from the parking area which is 200 feet above the touch down area of the runway.  I’m approx 150+ feet above the group you can see around the mid point.

The same runway coming into land.  The runway is the small light brown line just above the nose of the aircraft.  This runway is also up at almost 6000′ ASL. The family we were dropping off here were retired CMA couple returning to their house after being away for 1 1/2 years.  They came back as volunteers this time to help finish the Bible translation they helped start many years ago.  You are never to old to serve as a missionary.
Runway behind me.
Turned around looking back at the runway.
These next couple pictures are of Pagai which is a lowland strip that is next to a river.  I will say I felt much more comfortable with this runway then the Bugalaga which is the one above.  It is flat and long enough for me to feel relatively comfortable operating a C208B here.  However the river which is just off the south end of the runway is not a river one would want to slide off the runway into.  A friend of mine who is also currently being trained to fly a Kodiak here in Papua recently flew a load of crocodile skins out of this village.  I let you figure out where they came from and why ending up in the river might not be a pleasant experience.  Please feel free to continue to pray for my friend (Luke) and I as we both continue to gain experience and skills required to operate here safely.
We again want to thank each one of you for walking with us through this journey of service with MAF.  We count it a great privilege and honor to serve the people of Papua, and we know that we couldn’t do this without you.  We want to wish you all countless blessings as you prepare to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings
the dole clan.

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