Friday night at about 10:00 I received a phone call from I. She was asking if they could have a bundle of wood from our yard because they really needed some wood right now. We have a large cassowary tree in our back yard that died (most likely due to the drought we experienced last year and it was really old). Branches of that tree had started falling so it was time to cut it down. MAF made a deal with some tree cutters and when you make a deal, the wood is usually included in that deal. Many people up here still cook with wood fires so wood is precious, especially cassowary wood because it burns like coal. Because the wood is included in the agreement, I have no right to that wood and have made it clear to I and Y (guard) and R and her sister. Anyways, moving on with the story. Then I’s dad comes on the phone and I right away tell him the same thing I told “I”. He tried to convince me but I was firm. I don’t want trouble with the wood cutters. The next day “I” came and stored some pig meat in our freezer. Here’s the story:
“I” had just mopped the floors in the house. Her husband came to the door and was going to walk in but his feet were really dirty as he had been working with concrete and dirt. She asked him to go wash his feet first. As it turns out, he’d been paid for his work with alcoh*l and not money and had wasted no time in consuming it. He, in his inebriated state, misread what she was saying and thought she was kicking him out (maybe he’s feeling guilty?). He got angry and began to break things. “I’s” dad came in and got angry (as it turns out, they’d been drinking together…) and punches flew. “I’s” dad’s nose started to bleed and the husband took off. A little while later an uncle entered the house and saw the blood and said,”When an older person in the family is bleeding, according to our culture, we need to kill a pig and eat it.” So they took one of “I’s” dad’s pigs and killed it right then and cooked it in the ground with rocks. This is all happening fairly late at night… Quite hilarious and sad at the same time….
The next morning they had a meeting about it and the community leader fined the uncle 5 million rupiah for paying “I’s” husband with drink instead of money (causing the whole thing to happen) and then fined “I’s” husband 5 million rupiah for hitting his father-in-law. Apparently the husband also has to pay the husband some money for hitting him but how much is still unclear. The money is supposed to be paid around the 3rd or 4th of January…
When I hear stories like this I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to say to “I”. I keep telling her to pray and that I pray but… I never want to doubt the power of prayer but I can’t help but feel like we need to do more. I am also humbled. How did I deserve to be born in Canada to good Christian parents who loved me? How did I deserve to be married to the good man that I am married to? G*d’s goodness to me and my family is truly humbling.