Two little pigs & a monkey

George Muller was really on to something……

Lobster-dinner-300x224As you may have read last week we were all surprised to receive an unexpected gift of meat for lunch after quoting George Muller “let`s see what God will provide for us today”. Since then we have had a huge beautiful lobster,fish of all kinds, including a Giant Trevally that fed all of us for 3 meals as well as giving some away and loads of ‘Cumi Cumi’(squid) which we all love!

One day this week we were drawn down to the beach after seeing & hearing more than the usual numbers of excited children… they seemed to have found something interesting…. What else would you find on a beach but a monkey of course!! It was obviously a new ‘pet’ (kind of felt sorry for it) but it gave the kids hours of fun and entertainment as you can imagine!

It also turns out that the lady we have been giving some English lessons to happens to be the local Sunday school teacher…

Sunday-school.-27th-of-May-300x224we didn’t even know there was Sunday school! So today was our first day in ‘kids church’…and what fun! Chi had mentioned that she would teach in Indonesian and that I could teach in English (wasn’t sure how that would work considering my Indonesian is still extremely limited!)…She also asked if I could sing!!! Fat chance!! Well, at least we knew it would be an interesting Sunday! And interesting it was!!! But even more than that, such a delight…

And, what was up for auction you may ask? Check out this photo of the proud new owner of two little pigs. Yes, they are alive & kicking. (literally)

2-little-pigs-224x300

We finally have a little peace today after at least a week of howling winds all through the day and night with no break. It seems like each morning we find more grass roofing on the ground than there is on the roof…Lord help us if it rains! The beautiful blue tarp we have wrapped around our verandah that IS our bedroom has been very unfriendly during this weather (just imagine getting whipped with a tarp whilst in bed every time there is a good gust of wind?)

My amazing handyman husband has now put an end to this and we actually have a wall of layered coconut stem on the windward side of the verandah… And, ahh yes, I have had my first decent nights sleep in well over a week! Now, what else can you do for fun in these conditions? Well, we just happen to have a huge stunt kite with us (yes, i know, we forgot to mention that when I made a list of everything we brought with us!) It has definitely been out, seen some air and attracted alot of attention!

We decided to take it up to visit the Mercy Home kids yesterday and have some fun with them but we had to turn ‘the bomb’ around after only making it a quarter of the way there with a leak in the hose that leads into the radiator… Well, at least we know now what the original problem was and it is easily solved without any damage to our new radiator. Hopefully we will make it up to see them in the next week or so… (also hoping it will not really be kite conditions anymore!)

Monkey-on-a-leash-300x224So, sampai jumpa lagi (see you later) from the windy (but always beautiful) island. Nat, Matt & Kids

Spring is in the air!

‘The Bomb’ is back!!  After arriving back in Rote,  ‘post’ our weeks stay in Kupang for visa renewal, it was a welcome sight to see our transport up and ready to run again… She’s a stayer!

It was so good to be back and the first job we started on was bunk beds for the kids.  We have one completed now, mostly constructed from drift wood we’ve found on the beach.  Not only does it look good but it is a ‘dream’ to finally get the kids off the floor! (We’re next!) We are still blown away by the community here and how friendly & welcoming they have been.  Every time we attempt to start work on a project there is NO SHORTAGE of willing hands that want to come help and just be part of anything we are doing.  Matt was so eager to have something finished himself that he had to hide the bunks inside as he worked! Seriously though, we really have been made to feel like part of the family here & it is a  pleasure to be part of a community with such a simple outlook on life. Plus the children are gorgeous!

We also said a sad goodbye to the McMahons as, after some long deliberation, we all decided that the best way forward for Mercy Huts was for them to head back to Oz to concentrate on raising funds.  There is an urgent need to come up with 34k within the next  5 months to settle the contract on the land and we have discovered that it is impossible to do that from this end with such a bad internet connection. So, farewell,  for now,  to a couple that have been like family for the past 2 months & ‘watch this space!’

There was another large low pressure system that passed over us this week that brought us loads of rain which was perfect timing for our newly planted tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and snow peas. It was so dark on Thursday morning that none of us woke up until 7:30am (really late for us!) We all crept out of bed full of anticipation at such a change from the usual ‘bright and sunny every day’! And, what a novelty!! We all ran around like kids in the rain & at one stage even got the soap out… After all, when do we ever have access to running water!!

Grace had her 7th Birthday on Friday. The kids all got the day off homeschool & we played all day instead. We had bought Gracie’s present in Kupang, a barbie doll she chose herself, and she was so excited to finally be able to open & play with it after looking at her in the box for the past 10 days! We treated her to ‘Italian night’ for dinner at Nemberala Beach Resort… We actually got to eat spagetti & meatballs … so it felt like it was everyones Birthday!

Well, I know that some of you are eagerly waiting to hear what was auctioned off in church this Sunday… The auction began with the usual pumpkins & papayas but by the time the guy tried to sell the bananas no one could hear what he was saying through the sound of the squealing pig that was up next! SOLD… for 120,000 rupiah which is around AUD$14! I think Noah is getting used to the idea of live animals in church as this week didn’t seem to bother him as much as the goat did!

We have also been enjoying reading together about George Muller who was a missionary to Central and South America.  In particular, his belief that God would provide food and anything else that was needed to look after him and the hundreds of orphans in his care. One morning this week,  when asked what we would be having for lunch,  I responded in the words of George Muller  “let’s see what God will provide today”… To my astonishment, as I started to wash some vegies for lunch that we would cook up with the usual meal of noodles, a couple of children from the family across the road walked in bearing an unexpected gift. Wrapped up in a plastic bag was a lovely (by Rotinese standards) piece of ‘daging’… Yes, MEAT!!! It was the only time we have had any red meat since we have been here (other than the funeral when we had horse!) Seriously, it was amazing!!!Such a treat. Since then, we have a new daily saying by the words of George Muller!

As we build gates and repair fences to keep the goats and pigs out it seems like they are multiplying daily! Everywhere we look there are litters of pigs, kids (goats), chickens and even foals a bit wobbly on their feet as they learn to walk.  We have noticed lots of pregnant woman as well….seems like spring… there’s obviously not much else to do in the wet season!!!  Matt wants to arrive a couple months earlier next time!!!

Till next week….

Nat, Matt & Kids (not goats!)

‘The bomb’ eats egg!

Well,  it was exactly 1 week since we got the car back from the mechanic after running over a coconut… and it’s back to ‘car hospital’ again! After a 1 and a half hour trip in to Ba’a, the main town, to collect materials and drop Sal to the ferry, ‘the bomb’ ran like a dream.  Paul (a.k.a safety Steve) thought he should check under the bonnet to see how things were going… and to his horror, he noticed a small leak in the radiator. After much investigation,  and much input from just about everyone that was about, there seemd to be a common theme… crack an egg!! Apparently pepper was also suggested along with mustard seeds & the like… including rubbing soap all over the outside of the generator.   Hours later, from what I can gather, Paul & Eli (the builder) turned ‘the bomb’ back towards home with 1 egg & numerous peppercorns in the radiator & soap smeared all over the outside of it! After stopping every 2 mins or so to check how she was going they pulled up stumps about 10kms out of Ba’a, still an hour from home… The egg did not work!! Thank God for trusted friends that came to the rescue & brought Paul, Eli, the building materials & ‘the bomb’ back home to Nemberala! (to be continued)

So, since then, we find ourselves back in Kupang. Can you believe our first 60 days are up & it’s time to renew our visas?!! We packed a bag full of our home schooling books as we heard that the process takes hours & days of just waiting… Molly managed to keep herself entertained though!

Back in Kupang:

IMG20120430_001-300x225How ironic that last time we were here we were struggling to even find things to eat, among other things! We have now come to appreciate many things after being in Rote for the last 6 weeks:

  • a flushing toilet (even if it does leak)
  • a bed off the ground (even if it doesn’t have a top sheet)
  • food of any kind, especially chicken (even if it does come in brown paper and you have to eat it with your fingers)
  • running water (even if it is still cold)
  • internet access!
  • 24 hour electricity
  • putting your rubbish in a bin & someone else looks after it.
  • sleeping inside!
  • shops!!
  • antibiotics
  • and Angkots, a story in themselves! (see below)

Here’s hoping our visas get processed within the next day or so and we’ll chat again from (not Kupang)

Nat, Matt, Jayden, Molly, Grace & Noah.

the Kupang bemo system

Just about everyone in Kupang use these to get around the city and it’s surrounding towns. For 2,000 rupiah you can squeeze yourself into one of these crowded mini-vans that run in, out and around busy Kupang. The tiny buses shuddder and throb with every base thump that blairs out of their juiced up speaker sysstem.  I’m not sure if any of the passengers like bone rattling techno music, but that’s how they roll! So, pick your destination, find out the corresponding number and wait for one to stop and pick you up. You won’t be waiting long….

Most stop, you just need to know that you’re catching the right number! We used number 10 a lot, this  takes you along the Kupang foreshore, out to the west then up a hill inland toward Oeba-then back into the city circuit. Who knows how many times a day they do this 20 minute +/- loop? You’re insise a cramped bemo which might be comfortable for 5 people, you count all the bodies and realize there are 15-19 others doing the same run. Frequently stopping to let people on or off, there is an ongoing shifting around as everyone juggles their lack of personal space.

Looking around, everyone has a tightly rolled rupiah note in their hand, generally a dirty 1 0r 2 thousand note.  Seems there is an unwritten law, the dirtier the note, the further you travel!  We could get to and from immigration or the Kristal Hotel where we would sometimes have a swim for $1…That’s 6 of us 10km’s each way for a dollar. Cheap!

To get off at your stop you can either clap your hands loudly or or tap on the overhead rail with a coin.  Molly’s favourite thing was watching the young girls clap at their destination and then doing the same for our stop.  After a while you get to know he town and where to get on or off.

You get your bearings by stooping down to look out the the front windscreen because the side and rear window view is hindered by sticker overload! Once you work out which number bemo goes where, you can get around Kupang’s vast sprawl very easily and quickly for next to nothing.  Stand on the street and you will see six number 10’s go by in as many minutes. Well, might see you in a Bemo one day!