Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lost in the cabbages and bitten by fire ants

Wednesday, June 24
We meet with a group who is working across Indonesia. A recent arrival, a woman from Hong Kong who assisted Indonesian domestic workers, has come to start language learning. We leave encouraged by positive advice and possibilities. "Take your time and put your roots into the relationships. Everything here happens through personal connections," they tell us.

Potential partners and friends: lunch 
The day starts at 6:30am with a 4" spider on the bathroom door ... just as W has left for his guys' group. I squirt a toxic toilet cleaner over it (and the door and the floor) and it runs away. I find it hanging on the sink drainpipe. At least it's off the door.

That means I can open the door to get a can of bug spray from the helper's kitchen. The spider sticks to the pipe by one leg - it succumbs to the spray and I pry it loose. It finally drops into the garbage pail. My heart is pounding. I pour another blue stream of toilet bowl cleaner on it to make sure it's dead. [We find the sister-spider in the hall Friday morning. One dart and it's across the hall. This time, W gets the bug spay and sweeps the dead spider out into the garden.)

It is my first outing with the ladies "walking" group. We meet after 8 at a neighbor's and drive north into the hills.

At the very beginning, one of the women warns me, "We get lost sometimes; we can't walk by ourselves to plan the route. And sometimes it gets later. Usually it's 2 hours of walking. But you never know."

A steep descent: note the blue cap ahead: we're going down fast
Five of us trek down a slope, walk through a valley and back up the other side, skirt the rim of the mountain to the ruins of an old Dutch army lookout, and then walk back down for a late lunch. It takes 3.5 hours to do 6 miles (9 km).

We miss the trail and get lost in a cabbage field as we climb our way out. We know the general direction so we make our own trail through tall grasses and shrubs on the jungle slope. I keep my eyes open for snakes. None in sight!

Sometimes we have to hoist upward on our knees where the slopes are too slippery or the pitch too high.

The pictures tell the story:
Secondary pine forest, planted by the Dutch.
While we're talking about which way to go, I feel stinging on my ankles and look down. I'm standing in a nest of fire ants and they're biting me. I flip them off as quickly as possible. One of the ladies offers me hand disinfectant and I rub that on the stings. They fade as the grass on the trails scratches them.

Seller of sticks waits beside the trail
One of the other women steps into a hidden hole and twists her ankle. She's limping badly by the time we're done.

Little farms spring up in the jungle. Someone will put a few trellises in, another terraces the hillside for vegetables, and another tells us he's come to cut tall grass for two calves he is raising.

Coffee plant along the trail
Catching birds with a pet owl: "If I don't
catch birds, I have no money to feed my family."
There are few birds in the jungle: most are trapped or shot for sport.

The old Dutch fort - an abandoned ruin at the top of a hill
Sap is drained from the pines for turpentine.
When you go down, you have to come back up - in this case,
through slippery leaves dropped by bamboo plants 
Welcome shade under a farmer's bamboo trellis
We have a pleasant lunch, meeting two women who no longer can hike the strenuous paths. These women have lived in Bandung for years.They advise me on helpers, language, and cultural taboos.

Cafe Oz with new friends
Just before I shower, I color my hair. It's been utterly limp; roughing it up will help.

W finishes the evening by meeting with a student over coffee at a local restaurant.

Read more:
*Return, O faithless children, says the Lord, for I am your master; I will take you, and I will bring you to Zion. Jeremiah 3:14 ESV

*The Lord waits to be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18 ESV

*He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth--the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13 NIV

*In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 3:1–2 ESV

*Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. Revelation 3:20 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Father, at times we think our way is better than yours, and we ignore you. Please be patient, forgive us for being foolish children, and help us to understand your instructions so that we may follow you to your kingdom.

Lord, you may be knocking, but at times we treat you like a stranger and keep the door closed. Help us to be more constant in prayer and in our faith so that we can hear your voice and let you into our hearts. You are our salvation. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment