Thursday, August 29, 2013


We are heading out of Jakarta for the next 9 days so I did a little push to see what I could accomplish this evening on my project. Rob was on the squash court so it was head down and pedal down for me!

(Johnny, can you find the "smoky blacks" now?)

See you in a few days!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I am procrastinating on the retelling of the fishing village visit.

I am NOT procrastinating (anymore) on designing, planning, cutting and sewing the quilt that I am making for my brother-in-law, Frankie. Did I mention a Christmas deadline?

This bit of scrawl represents my design. Looks are deceiving, but if what's in my head can be translated into clever colour choices and good technique, then the result will please, but I realise my mud map may not suggest this!

I don't have a photo of the next step - planning the blocks and auditioning fabric. Suffice to say many bits of fabric were strewn about everywhere! My helper Lily must have exclaimed to herself some Indonesian equivalent of "what on earth has happened here?!" when she saw the mess I was making.

I am working with a limited 'stash' here in Jak and this means I have to be very flexible during the creative process - oh no, not enough of this print, or of this one, or that one...coming up with alternatives, tweaking and re-tweaking my design and dreaming up a plan B and then C.

The brief was "jewel tones". That's it. So I can interpret this anyway I fancy really. I am making my strip sets in shades of sapphire, emerald, ruby and garnet, amethyst, turquoise and topaz, and something unexpected, smoky blacks for onyx and mauvey-grays for opal. Lots of colours, lots of prints - just the way I like it!

Progress is well under way. I now have a nice group of strip sets in pretty colourways,

ready for slicing up into quarter square triangles, like so...

These pretty triangles must now be sewn back together. (Ahhh, the cut/sew, re-cut/re-sew aspect of patch-working -seemingly illogical but actually quite purposeful behaviour.) A work ethic like my mother's and my sisters' wouldn't go astray right about now if I am to have this ready for Christmas.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunda Kelapa

A month ago Liz, Lewis and I attempted a trip to the port of Sunda Kelapa. Traffic and heavy rain made the going too difficult and so we abandoned the idea. This time however, the large exodus of people from the city for the Idul Fitri holiday meant that it was clear sailing (ha!) and Wendy and I were there in no time.

The trip advisor reviews of this centuries old port swing either way, but my report to you is very favourable! It was a holiday, so there was not the typical hustle and bustle of pirate's work around the dock. I had seen the port in full swing years ago while on a school excursion with Anna's 4th grade class - workers deftly walking the long skinny gangplanks shouldering their cargo on and off these old 2 masted ships, the noisy engines and bilge pumps, the crowded, careful where you step and keep out of harms way atmosphere of a hectic working port.

But this time, there was only this deserted lineup, and of course the guide who sniffed us out immediately.

These schooners look as old as time itself. It seems a wonder they stay afloat. They are navigated by Sulawesi Bugesi sailors who use the stars as their only guide and the wind to power the canvas sails. They transport goods between Jakarta and the islands of the Republic, coming and going from this port for more than 900 years.

They are built from wood as hard as iron by master shipbuilders in southern Sulawesi. Apparently, there is not one nail used in the construction.

We walked a much shorter plank (with assistance, thank you - I had no interest in falling into the very dirty water) to board the vessel "Sentosa Java".

On board, up a ladder to meet the crew...

...They were in the middle of preparing lunch. Everyone was friendly. There was a lot of tittering about my Bahasa Indonesia - I guess we provided some entertainment on a quiet day!

We were invited to take photographs. These sailors enjoyed having their photo snapped.

((I didn't realise when I took this photo that we would actually be visiting this village in the distance via water taxi within the hour. Let's just say, that the dock, the vessels, the water taxi ride were the fun bits of our tour, and what awaited at the village is difficult to describe and reserved for another post.))

Anyway... We negotiated the gangplank, the ship's ladder both up and down, and the great drop down off the dock into the water taxi (picture a rocking canoe), all without incident but with great hilarity and discussion of potential incidents. It's good to have fun and even better, to not end up in the drink!

Out toward the Java Sea we paddled ("we" being the "Royal we"). We had fun on this ride.

it would appear that water traffic in Jakarta is no different from the street traffic!

As we head a bit further out, the ships moored are iron and carry huge cargo, the water becomes choppier and a couple of times laps up over the side of our little dinghy, so time to heave-ho back to port I say!

This was a great adventure. I'm sorry that Liz and Lew missed out on this one. Hopefully next time...
But for Wendy and I, we are only at the halfway mark of our Sunda Kelapa experience, with the visit to the fishing village still ahead of us. I do not know if I will do justice to the telling of Part Two, but I will try.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kin Folk

Yesterday we were treated to such a unique display of native Indonesian birds at Jakarta's (HUGE) Taman "Mini". Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, or, "Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park" is a sprawling, 250 acre culture-based recreational area in East Jakarta.

Wendy and I began perusing this park, starting with the replica homes unique to the 34 provinces of Indonesia. Interesting and beautiful architecture. But it was HOT wandering and we had decided to pull the plug on this particular adventure when we happened upon the two great domes of the Bird Park. How grateful we are that we did not miss out on this!

There are 2 huge aviaries, home to birdlife from West Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Bali and Kalimantan) in the first, and species from East Indonesia (Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua), in the second. Some birds are in cages but we were impressed with how many roamed free, swooping about overhead and wandering around our feet.

This park is a photographer's Mecca. We had great fun snapping pictures. The following is the result!

The Palm Cockatoo from Papua. He was such a beauty! His crested headdress was very impressive.

I caught this photo at the perfect time. This Pelican had just swooped underwater and came up with something in it's bill.

Possibly a Little Corella from Southern New Guinea? We enjoyed watching this baby darting his head in and out of his house. It took awhile to get this shot.

I do not know the name of my new friend. He was gorgeous and heavy.

What a beautiful pale lemon colour under this Sulfur Crested Cockatoo's wings. I was also able to hold this pretty birdy!

This cassowary looked as though it could kick some butt. Don't mess with this horny headed, 3 toed, great clawed creature. I wanted to capture the electric blue coloured dimpled skin on it's neck, and it's long red dangling necklace.

Look at him staring at me. There were some wide gaps in the bars to his pen and I knew I was taking a chance sticking myself into his personal space like this! We were definitely up close and personal.

His knowing eyes- one orange, the other yellow. The slashes and geometrics patterning his feathers look especially beautiful against the print in Wendy's top.

Can't you just tell that this pretty parrot and Wendy are in the midst of a conversation? She must be telling him that his colouring is outstanding.

Your crown is amazing. You look good as a blonde.

A real old granddad bird. Kind of grouchy too.

Pea Fowl looking the part of the proud peacock.

Such an extravagant display! Covered in beautiful iridescent 'eyes', this dandy's covert feathers were displayed in all their glory for at least 20 minutes! I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He quivered, turned around and around for us, bowed and just stood there allowing us to admire him.

Western Crowned Pigeon. Loved the lacy, fan shaped crown and the eyeliner. Very dramatic.

I hope you have enjoyed our trip to the huge "mini" bird enclosure. If any of these photos have particularly caught your eye they could be mine, but more than likely they are Wendy's. She has an amazing camera, a keen eye, and a real knack with the shutter and lens. Thank you for sharing your exceptional photographs with me Wendy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Off the Beaten Path

An expat in Jakarta can avoid all of the uncomfortable places. However, in reality, "On the Beaten Path" is a more fitting title to this blog post. Here, around each turn is poverty and lack. Recently, I accompanied two of my new Jakarta friends to an indigenous urban development in the port area of Tanjung Priok. This kampung in North Jakarta was one of the heaviest hit by the devastating floods in January and February of this year. On this particular sunny day, there was evidence of the community's recent tragedy, but it was also clear that residents have worked diligently to clean up and salvage and repair after being inundated with flood waters. Some people must persevere with such extreme hardship!

Our visit centred around a small school in the village. I had the privilege of meeting the 2 amazing Nationals who have invested their time, expertise and love into the people living in Sunter kampung . A few years back they began working with the women here, teaching them life skills, hygiene, clean cooking habits, English. They funded and established this small school, a sewing centre and a cooking/baking enterprise. Interested and receptive village women are employed according to fair trade standards, and have opportunity to be productive and industrious, earn much needed income. This practical, nurturing, Christ-centred ministry has impacted many women, their children and of course there is a natural spill over to their husbands.

My friend Jan has supported this ministry for years and and so when the time came for Jan to leave Jakarta, the logical recipients of her kitchen paraphernalia were these women. We had fun distributing Jan's kitchen items on this occasion. I found it interesting that we were asked to donate the items to the children rather than the moms. Apparently having the kids take home these new treasures ensured the women would not fight and argue over the gifts. We made up English games and questions that the children were eager to answer. Answer correctly?- win a glass or a bowl or a plate! They were delighted with such simple gifts! It was an incredible experience!

The teacher and school staff gave us a tour of their community. It was lunchtime and there was a great deal of cooking and fraternizing happening. The homes were extremely humble. The lanes and passages were relatively clear of litter. There were so many smiles and welcomes for us!

Everywhere were these rickety wooden bridges that we walked over to get from place to place. I was (quietly) very concerned about the possibility of falling through and I had to muster my courage- what lurks under and amongst those sea grasses is not pretty and the water is filthy!

It was very important that we pay our respects to the village Governor. His home was accessed via this long wooden platform. He met us with solemn but inviting handshakes. He is a pigeon fancier and proudly showed us his pigeon lofts. I could hardly enjoy it though for thinking about getting back over the boardwalk!

Head down and think hard about where I place my next step...

Phrasal Verb: Make Do With
Meaning: Accept something less satisfactory because their is no alternative.

I wondered if this particular building is their community centre as there is a pool table inside??

I was happy to meet these lovely people. It was confronting to see their difficult living situations but so many are now exposed to opportunities they did not have before. I wonder what will come of these dear children, precious in His sight? (Isaiah 43:4)