Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Friend From Kenya!

Not only did the conclusion of my 1,000 Island field trip mean I was no longer responsible for 25 seniors, it meant that on my way home from the pier I would drive to the airport and pick up our good friend, Kibathi. Between business in Dubai and business in Singapore, he was able to squeeze in four days to see us in Indonesia. Reconnecting with Kenyan friends brings back Kenyan memories which was very good. Kenya was a great time in our lives. Thankfully we enjoyed every minute there so we didn't need to leave with any regrets...only good memories.

If in the future at some point we can leave Indonesia with the same kind of good memories and good feelings we had when we left Kenya or Florida or Bolivia or the Dominican Republic or Michigan...well, we will be very fortunate and very happy.

Thank you, Kibathi, for a great visit. I hope you are the first of many friends and family. Kayla wants to make sure everyone knows she took the picture of Rebecca, Kibathi, and me.

A Little Time Away From School...With 25 Seniors!

It was a chance to visit the exotic-sounding "Thousand Islands" of Indonesia. A 1.5 hour boat ride from Jakarta to a small island. Time for snorkling. Visit a sea turtle hatchery. Study a mangrove area. Do some "coral transplanting". Sounded great, so I said, "yes" I will be glad to chaperone.

And as a bonus, the other participants would include 25 seniors, most of whom had severe sleep disorders. Actually they were a pretty good group. The field trip was well planned so that they were quite busy on a variety of activities.

The highlight of the trip was certainly snorkling on the reefs. Love that warm water. The most discouraging part was certainly the boat ride out of Jakarta. The plastic junk in the water was so bad that three times we had to stop the boat and "untangle" the propellers. The water looked like a huge jet had crashed scattering debris everywhere. It was like driving through a junk yard or garbage dump. The further away from Jakarta we drove, the better, but even an hour away we were still awash in junk. I guess that's what a city of 15 million people can do to the coast.

I don't like to think that I contributed to the junk, but of course I did. I don't mean that I threw my plastic water bottle into the water...of course I'm more sophisticated than that. I put my garbage into nice, clean garbage bags and then take it to a nice, clean garbage can in front of my house. And then sometime early in the morning when I'm still asleep it "disappears". Well, maybe it doesn't exactly disappear. Maybe people throw it onto their big truck along with other people's garbage and then the truck people take all that garbage and dump it somewhere. Maybe even in the ocean. But at least I didn't throw my garbage there. Someone else threw it there for me. That's better, isn't it? I guess my other option would be to recycle as much as I can and waste as little as I can and clean up all that I can to at least minimize my negative impact since I can't eliminate my negative impact.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fun Days for Hannah and Kayla

Kayla and a few of her friends from K-2

This is where to find Kayla before her day begins

A jump that won her second place!

Hannah and her friends...1st, 2nd, and 3rd place

Kayla's social circle is ever-expanding. School means lots of new friends. This morning she received a call from one of her friend's mom inviting Kayla for a sleep-over tonight. Although it was 8:00 am and the sleep-over doesn't start until 4:30 Kayla quickly packed her bag and went outside to the chairs in front of the house to wait. It took a good deal of convincing that waiting there to go to Sherlynn's house was going to be way too long.

Hannah had a big day at the school's Athletic Day Activities yesterday. Sort of a giant intramural track and field day. I was surprised to see she had entered the high jump and long jump. Neither seems to be a natural fit. And who would have guessed that five hours later she had five ribbons...one each for each event she entered. Her high jump was really pretty impressive. I think she was clearing a height that was just about at her shoulders.

This coming week both Hannah and I are on trips. Hers is the 7th grade spiritual emphasis retreat and I am on a 12th grade environmental science field trip. Both our trips are 3-days long and hopefully I'll have some interesting news to post next week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Still Safe for a Visit!

The natural disaster news for this part of the world has been brutal lately and the suffering caused from earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis is very real. Some of our teachers have family in Samoa and the Philippines. The earthquake in Indonesia (off island of Sumatra)is producing a rising death toll. I think at the time of this writing the number is close to 1000 dead.

Here in the bubble (see earlier post) and on the island of Java, we have been spared any impact from the quakes and rains.

The lights were out last night from 6:00 - 10:00 but it had nothing to do, I think, with any of the weather problems. Lights out is no big deal...except that I had to wash the dishes in the dark. Seemed to go all right at the time but this morning when I woke up and took a look at the dishes...well, let's just say I didn't get all the food off as well as Rebecca would have liked.

But I digress. Back to the reason for writing tonight: For all of you considering a visit to Indonesia, please don't let earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis stop you. We'd love to have visitors. In fact, visitor number 1 should be arriving in two weeks. Our dear friend Kibathi Mbugua from Nairobi will be here for 3 days as part of a China-Singapore business trip.

Good golf outing this afternoon. Shot a 43, which is pretty good for me, especially since I didn't cheat very much.