Culture….

We love “R” and it’s really hard to see her in another unpleasant situation not of her making.  It seems the biological mother of the girl that “R” raised for 11 years until the biological mother “stole” her back, has purchased the land that the house that “R” lives in is on.  The house was built by “R’s” husbands parents a long time ago but they could never manage to purchase the land because the local tribe that owns it wasn’t interested in selling it.  “R’s” husbands family is from the beach.  But apparently now this woman, who’s husband works at Freeport Mine, was able to purchase the land for a reported 20 million rupiah.  They told “R” that they would be building a house on the land and taking down part of her home but they failed to mention when this would occur.  One day while student-teaching, “R” got a phone call that they were taking down her house.  Sure enough, they had taken all her stuff out of her bedroom and kitchen, moved it to the front rooms and torn down the back down.  So now she’s living in this little “house” made of plywood and zinc roofing and they are storing their cement in her living room/kitchen.  It’s so terrible!  She has an option to live somewhere else but there are of course complications.  The house helper in that home is her neighbour and will surely, and has already, gossiped about her.  But on the other hand, she has no idea how long they will let her live in her home…  Personally, I wouldn’t even want to live there!  She has to cook outside now under the little overhang of her house….

Friday was graduation day for all high school students.  The thing to do is spray paint and write all over your school uniform on that day.  There was a bit of a traffic jam in town during the spray painting fest.

That same day there was a roving band of inebriated fellows on our road.  First they took a dip in the pool, then smeared themselves with mud and tried to get back into the pool area to shower.  Then they went down the road and hassled people for money.  A group of us went up to the pool for a party and were all stopped.  I never ever give money because I don’t feel that is helpful.  A lot of Indonesians will though because they are afraid of what the guys will do if they don’t give anything.  They usually hit my car.  A couple weeks ago one guy slammed the side view mirror so hard that the mirror fell out.  Apparently it’s difficult to order a new one for the car we drive because it is an Izuzu and there’s no dealer here so they cut some bathroom mirror glass and glued it in…  I try not to look in the mirror too long or I’ll get dizzy…  Anyways, these guys then decided to head up to the pool and started to scratch cars with rocks.  A couple ladies called their husbands and they came up and talked to the guys.  I ended up going around home the opposite way as they were blocking my normal route home.  The next day I was on my motorcycle travelling up the road to attend the graduation ceremony of the Titip school (the two girls we hosted a couple months ago were graduating) and I saw a small group of men.  They looked a little dicey so I picked up some speed and sure enough as I went by one of them lunged out at me.  Thankfully I was still picking up speed so he wasn’t able to get me.  Not sure what he was planning to do if he did get me.  We were on a public road near homes inhabited by other Westerners.  Then as I was travelling on another road, a pickup truck coming from the opposite direction went to my side of the road and at the last moment swerved away from me and I could hear them all laughing.  I gotta tell you, we are so ready to go to Canada!

Have you heard of culture fatigue?  We have it.  Each and every day we need to make adjustments in how we do things because this place is so different from our home country.  It wears on a person after a while.  The level of tension on our hill has elevated over the last while and we feel it. Indonesians are reluctant to come up here now and it’s where we live!  It’s also hard to hear your kids talking about being scared of the drunk guys.  Brynne suggested that maybe the shops should stop selling anything that could make you drunk…  Good idea sweetie….

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About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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2 Responses to Culture….

  1. Kacie says:

    ah, so difficult, the group of drunk guys on Pos 7. One of those guys grabbed me when I was going down the hill on my motorbike as a senior in high school. I was a bit shaken up but not too much, and my parents and friends were furious, which lessened the feeling of being violated.

  2. Grace says:

    Hi Erika: I used to live in the “quonset” hut next to the pool. And reading your tale of the drunks in the pool and lunging at you on the road brought back events that happened to me too! It is hard to not get fatigued – I pray God replenish you all (I think you are back in N. America now?) with strength and energy.
    We watched one nude guy laying by the pool one Saturday morning, probably with a hangover. A family pulled up at the gate and was getting ready to come down the steps. The guy woke up and hid behind the bathrooms. I called up to the lady who waited by the steps and I opened my side gate to the pool and our gate out to the road. After going back in the house, we watched the guy dash out through our yard . . .
    A metal/corrugated roof makes for a terrifying sound when people throw rocks at our house, with now windows!
    Take care of yourselves this summer.
    Grace

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