Life Back in Papua…

We have been back from furlough for over a week already. We arrived early Friday morning, like 7:05 am early. To our benefit it was a lovely overcast day. It’s quite cold on the plane so we always wear pants, sweaters, socks and shoes. Then on arrival we step out of the plane into the heat and humidity of Sentani. We then walk down the portable stairway and make our way over to the arrivals hall of the airport. One of my wishes for this return was not to have the local drunk, sometime porter, bother us at the luggage carousel. Well, my wish wasn’t granted. But that’s ok because we had some MAF coworkers there to help us with our luggage. The porters control the trolleys so we schlepped our totes outside by hand. On our domestic flight we are only allowed 23kgs per person so in Jakarta we handed over half our totes to a guy named Yogi. He brings them to a cargo place, located in the nether regions of the airport, where they are then shipped over here. In the past you could expect to wait a day or two to receive your excess baggage but these days it comes on the same day. So on arrival at our, thankfully clean home, we started the fun of unpacking all 14 of our totes. It was a bit like a birthday or Sinterklaas all rolled in one. At noon I brought three eager beaver kids to school. Marc and Christiaan wanted to wait until Monday.

We hit the ground here running. Hugo had Monday and Tuesday off yet so we drove to Abe to do some grocery shopping. There are parts of the road that have four lanes and other parts where it suddenly, and with very little warning, narrows into two. They have been working on widening the entire road but there are parts that have yet to be completed. This has been a massive undertaking involving moving entire graveyards, blowing up enormous rocks, and cutting down many trees. Our road in Sentani, however, has not been worked on at all, in fact the potholes are even larger than before. Just as we left for Canada some guys were going up and down the road spray painting numbers and symbols and we all got hopeful, but we’ve yet to see any action. Although the other day I saw some guys again spray painting numbers and symbols on someone’s concrete gate posts. Not going to break out the fireworks just yet…

Sentani hasn’t changed much. The red light on the main street lights is still not functioning, so no lights mean stop. The drunks still come out and bother people.  The plastic palm trees still live.  However, when we had a problem with our car the other day, a group of local guys helped us out tremendously without us needing to ask at all! We gave the main guy who helped us some cash and we bought a case of cokes for the rest of the group.

It was very hard to leave the family and comforts of Canada. It seems as though each time we leave, it becomes more difficult to say good-bye. However, our work here is very rewarding and we feel that this is where we should be right now. Hugo is excited to continue his training program while keeping all the MAF planes in top condition to serve the people of Papua. The warm welcome we received from our friends here didn’t hurt either…


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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One Response to Life Back in Papua…

  1. jbredenhof says:

    Fantastic to hear that on ALL your travels (to Holland, to the FAR SIDE of Canada, ACROSS Canada, BACK to Papua) God kept you safe! To Him be the thanks and glory! May He continue to bless your time and your work there. It was great to see you and hear your talk in Aldergrove. Even if the red light in town still isn’t working, you gave yourself the green light for letting us all know that you made it safely home! Thanks for that!

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