The mountains are soft and green. Waterfalls long and wide visible from miles away cascade over dense jungle terrain. White clouds sag around mountain peaks. On the ground Indonesians and Papuans move along at a steady pace mostly on foot and by motorcycle. The air is hot but clean and the streets are dirty. Row after row of small shops crowd together forming a town center.
Sentani is at once richly beautiful and stereotypically impoverished. We are honoured to live here.
Our new home, just built, is nearly ready for move in. Along the bottom of a mountain and up a red dirt road, our home is a small apartment size row house. The row houses directly across the road from us are still being built. About two minute walk away is an Indonesian church that we plan to attend, perhaps alternating Sundays with an expat church. We hope to build solid relationships with our neighbors.
While work continues on our home we are staying at a guest house. The guest house is a stopping point for international workers coming in and out of the island’s interior. Men, women, whole families living and working among the isolated tribal groups sit at the breakfast table and share their lives and stories with us. In eight months or so once we have a firm grasp of the language these, or individuals like them, Ben will support through helicopter flights.
On Monday we begin language school with a Papuan teacher. Isaiah also has a Papuan teacher and will learn the language through play, song, and dance. Part of his schooling is to attend an hour long Indonesian children’s play group each morning. Our schooling is more formal with scheduled classes and mandatory afternoon practice out on our own in the community.
Already, life in Sentani is not without challenges. I am learning that everything takes a long time and even with plans agreed, the plans may change. I am learning the meaning of an Indonesian “blessed minute” and also “rubber time”. Allowing grace when things don’t go according to schedule.
Everything is new. I have so much to learn. I am eager to do it!