Sunday, September 26, 2010

Duri Trip

Friday was an early release day. This was due to the fact that the teaching staff at ISR had to catch a bus to our sister school in Duri. Duri is on another Chevron camp about 100 km (about 60 miles) away from us here in Rumbai. We take this trip once a year in order to have curriculum meetings with the teachers there. It is great to get to visit and collaborate with other teachers as both of our staffs are so small.

Sixty miles to most folks means about an hour long trip or so. Here in Sumatra the roads are not quite the same. The average time to get from Rumbai to Duri is 3 hours. That is how long it took us on the way down. The way back took us a tad bit 5 1/2 hours! We left Duri at 4 pm and made it to our house in Rumbai at 9:50 pm. The problem is that the one road there is about a lane and a half wide. The road is traveled by lots and lots of sawit fruit trucks that are palm tree fruit to be made into cooking oil. There are many accidents on that road and we happened to be behind one where that caused a traffic jam.

While we were stuck in traffic the local school along the road had just been released for the day. The students were walking home right beside the bus. The people that live along side this road are those living in pretty extreme poverty. They rarely see people of other ethnic backgrounds so we were even more of a novelty than we are when we head into Pekanbaru. It was like Kathi was Lindsey Lohan showing up at the court house.

They were all waving at us and blowing us kisses and posing for pictures. The funny thing was that the bus would move ahead 50 meters or so and the kids would follow along continuing to wave and smile. There was one group of kids that followed the bus for well over a mile (over an hour). They were so cute. It made the waiting for the bus to move somewhat entertaining. They are so adorable you just wish you could take them home with you.

Another thing we really like about the trip is seeing the many Christian churches along the route. Along this strip there are about 20 Christian churches. This area has many Batak Indonesians that are Christian. You don't see this in many other places we have been. You usually only see mosques. There are some beautiful old churches that look as if they have been around for 80 years or more and some that are just small wood buildings with crosses on them. The first picture shows a pretty neat one that was close to where the kids were following us.

Old church in the middle of a very poor area.

The school children all waiting to get their picture taken.

These kids hammed it up for the camera.

Finally the last group of kids made it to their home and waved goodbye.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Civet Cat

After being here for a year you start to get used to the really cool things you see everyday like monkeys and Hornbills. That's why it is always neat to see something you haven't seen before. Like the giant bats we saw when we first got here in August. They have moved on and we won't see them again but while Kathi and I were headed out to the gym the other night we saw something else that we had not seen before. We saw two Civet Cats. These funny looking things are like a cross between a weasel and a cat. They are nocturnal so you won't see them very often. Their claim to fame is that they eat coffee beans but their body doesn't digest them. Once they have gone through the body they are picked back up and roasted for coffee. These beans are some of the most expensive coffee beans in the world. People will buy the craziest things!