Selasa – Suh-lah-saah – Tuesday – actually it is hari Selasa but if you just say selasa most people will understand
24 April 2007 – Tuesday
Up at 4:30 so we could leave for Bogor at 5:45. The daily adventure had a rocky start when Sam decided to stop on the on ramp to the toll booth until the folks from the mission home came along. Unfortunately a police officer got tired of looking at us sitting there and came out to investigate. It cost me 70,000 R to get us out of the problem….the normal cost is 20,000 but since we were white the price went up.
Once we were on the way the trip to Bogor went quickly. We were able to see the tall mountains from far away. It is easy to see that the main mountain was the remains of a volcano that blew its top off. It is now inactive but I would guess it could become active again. Since Bogor is a city of 4 to 5 million people it would cause quite a mess if it decided to do that.
We gathered at the Kane’s home. It is a three bedroom beauty with a front and a small back yard. As usual we were jealous of what the missionaries outside of Jakarta get for about ½ of what we pay. Although Bogor is a large town it has a small town feeling.
What the day was about was a trip up into the mountains to be part of a ceremony that officially turns over a water project. Late last year there was landslide that buried two homes in a village of about 150 families. The other homes did not suffer much damage but on the hillside above them a fissure opened up and someday the whole mountain was likely to come down on them. So the village elders decided to move somewhere else.
So they found a nice little place about 2 kilometers away and started clearing away the ground to build their village. The problem was that it was government land and they were squatters. For once things worked out for them. The government gave them the land but would not help them move.
When LDS Charities was asked for help there were only a couple of homes and a few tents. The water source was a single 2 inch pipe that we donated to them from leftovers from another project. We agreed to create a new water source, run water to each home, and build four combination toilets, showers, and wash areas – all with running clean mountain water.
The drive there took over 2 hours on continually deteriorating roads until we got to a point where our city cars could go no further and we switched over to old four wheel drive vehicles for the last 20 minutes of driving. It is a good thing they had compound low because the road was very steep and very rough.
What a surprise to come around the final corner and find two crude but recognizable stores operating. The Kanes were much surprised at how much had been done in the two or three weeks since they were last up there. I took a lot of pictures because descriptions just will not do it. Basically they have cleared some hillsides and hilltops, cut out level building pads and moved some of the buildings from the old location. More people will move when they have enough money to pay for the transportation. Once the pieces are there, the whole village pitches in and in one or two days the house is ready to move into – with running, clean water.
The ceremony was basically all the honchos on both sides saying how grateful they were for the others help and a hope for the future. After that the village leaders asked for a number of other things they needed and our side telling them that they could not guarantee anything because there were so many villages that needed what help we have to give. Mainly they were asking for a school building – the children must walk about a mile down the mountain to the closest school – , some school books – Elder Kane is going to ask a NGO he knows to see if they could help – and some small trees to replant a hillside to provide a windblock.
After the ceremony we walked around the village and looked at the wash buildings. It was truly amazing to see what the villagers had done. There are some in the village that have more money than others, so some houses are nicer than others. However all the houses are better than most in poor sections of Jakarta and they have space around them. The rice fields and fish ponds are owned by one or two families but other members of the village can work in them and get a share of the harvest. Elder Kane said that this was one of the nicest villages he has seen. Of course it helps that it is new and not at all crowded. I forgot to mention that the scenery is breathtaking. If this was moved to the US people would be paying $1,000,000 for a lot.
This is a good place to put in a comment on Mary’s brave effort today. She was definitely not feeling well but never complained. When we had to change vehicles, the other cars were parked about 200 yards or more up a slippery, steep road. She started to walk up without complaint but I convinced her to get in a car so she did not wear herself out.
The village is built on the sides of a number of hills with lots of ups and downs. She plugged away and saw it all. She did have to stop at times and clear her lungs, but she was a real trooper about it. I am very proud of how she did all of this while not feeling well at all.
Just as we were finishing our tour it started to rain – something it does in the mountains almost every afternoon. The heavens opened and poured out water in abundance. It was raining so hard that the driver could hardly see out the window. Which was not so good since we were basically traveling on a narrow, mountain track with a steep fall on one side.
It continued to pour all the way back to Bogor. I thought I was getting pretty use to the way they drive here in Indonesia but I must say that the drive in pouring rain, at high speeds – at least for the conditions they were high – and passing on the wrong side of the street with traffic coming the other way – was a little dicey for even my seasoned soul. To relieve the strain, I tried to go to sleep but I had no success.
As we got into town, we took a short side trip to the petrified wood store. They have tons and tons – truly – of petrified wood. There is one log that must be 25 feet long. Unfortunately almost all of it has been bought by someone in the US and they are packing it up to be shipped there. Mary did buy 4 heart shaped stones – but none of them were from the wood.
We stopped in Bogor for a late lunch at a really nice restaurant. It is built in an old Dutch home with a couple of water gardens in the middle. The food was excellent and very cheap. Mary had red snapper with lemon sauce and it cost only $3. They serve the food as it is ready and so some were finished eating before other got their food. It seems that the waitress did not write down my order – Nasi Goring – and so everyone was done before I even got my food. The Nasi Goring was done differently than usual. Instead of having the egg chopped up in the rice, they make a thin omelet and wrap it around the fried rice. It was served with two excellent beef sates and everything was delicious. After lunch we bid everyone goodbye and headed off for home. The trip through the rain – it rained for four hours straight – went well and we were home by 4.
We were both tired – especially Mary because she was ill – and so we took short naps. At least Mary did – I could not sleep. The rest of the day was spent reading from Kitab Mormon, writing in my journal, watching a little TV, eating, and such.
I guess I am becoming successful in getting the word out that I want to help people find jobs. Although no one comes into the office, I am getting calls and resumes from everywhere. Even Sterling Jensen – who only met me on Saturday night – has someone who wants me to help them find a job when she graduates from the university. The Bogor missionaries gave me a resume from an investigator and the Kanes gave me two resumes. Now I need to get busy and help them find a job. Which means we need to concentrate on resources for getting our people interviews.
I almost forgot to mention that I had a missionary experience. When we stopped to look at the petrified wood, I struck up a conversation with the fellow who seemed to be running the store. He had pretty good English and as usual I was able to get him to tell me lots of things. I found that much of it comes from Sumatra and is shipped and trucked up to Bogor. It would seem to me much cheaper to have the shop in Sumatra but what do I know. He even took me in a back room to show me a petrified palm tree top – that is there were even the base of small fonds which were now rock. He said it was the only one that they had ever seen. After that I told him that we were here as missionaries for our church and gave him a pass along card. I then got the missionaries to come back and see if he was interested in knowing more. He was not but at least the elders had a chance to talk to someone. Maybe some day he will remember our visit – I want to go back some time and see get a larger piece to bring home.