27 February 2005 - Eric

Majuki stopped by the office today and told me the great news that wood had arrived
at the jobsite. I was very pleased and told him I’d be out to Krueng Raya in the
morning to deliver tools which were delivered here today as well. Looks like we’re
building some boats.

The moments to sit and relish are getting more common in such a strange place
so far from home. The street is noisy. From my apartment/office I hear a hundred
beeping motorcycles, always a siren, people talking and a man’s voice broadcast
from a mosque three blocks away. I think it is the same man I heard at five this

The view from the deck looking west is something quite indescribable. Stars
through a slight haze backlight silhouettes of endless palms and bananas. There
is a black horizon created by the not too distant mountains. Several unrecognizable
tsunami-wrecked cars sit belly up in the gravelly yard out front. Their remnants have
finally quit smoldering. Some man on the street is cooking up in a pot and selling
whatever his family couldn’t eat. Within 100 feet of him are two dozen carts and
cafés selling fried rice. Fifteen, make that thirty motorcycles are parked out front as
only Indonesians could, haphazardly but efficiently. Several chairs with folks sitting
on them have gathered around a guitar on the store patio next door. Some huge
insect just flew threw the open door and disappeared behind the bookshelf before I
could get a fix on him.

People are walking up and down silty Lueng Bata buying smokes, fruit, coffee and
dinner. They crisscross the dimly lit median dodging cycles and cars going both
directions on both sides of the street. It is amazing how many people move through
the place without incident. Drivers, many with their lights off, save lives with every
tap of the horn while hauling ass to shave a few seconds off their trip. They are very
trusting and very attentive. Going sixty, they'll pass within inches a mom and two
kids on a Honda 90 then pull into traffic knowing that if another driver fails to slow
down they’re toast. And whose checking those brakes?

They ‘re a friendly sort. Sometimes they pull up beside my motorcycle and start
talking while we’re cruising along. A few dudes have stopped by to chat tonight.
Rizal, who takes care of the place, is a good kid from Sabang on the little island to
the north. He is always well dressed and now off to fetch his lady. I’m here talking to
Yoss, a volunteer from Java. I’m asking him what that guy is saying over the loud
speaker at the mosque. Yoss is saying something like, how should I know I’m
catholic. He must be the only one in Aceh.

Below and right is a rusty tin roof over a greasy mechanic’s pit I cross every
morning to get coffee. Using coffee grown down the road a ways, they take two
pans and pour boiling water over the grounds through a cloth strainer several times
quickly. It is the perfect Sumatran copi pet; thick, black and smooth.

Across the street past a dozen Turkish flags is a building currently occupied by the
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Of many agencies trying to help here, theirs
seems sensible and direct. They hand out fifteen thousand loaves of bread per day
and provide lots of on-site housing. They loan vehicles, track hoes, tools and
machinery of all sorts. They hire locals to bake bread and man their street sweeper
and garbage truck. The Mayor of Istanbul resides in the building and runs the
operation and I’ll bet his city is something to see. He might be waving at me right
now. Well he might be.

There are many things familiar about learning a language in a new place and
feeling that vulnerability of not really knowing entirely what the hell is going on.
Here, I am just now being able to get around, count change and speak enough to
realize if I stick with it the rest will come. The guitar crowd has dissipated. It is a bit
hot and muggy. I think I’ll take a nice luke mandi.
Journal Entries - Click to

16 April 2006 - Eddie

22 January 2006 - Eric

27 September 2005 - Eric

6 September 2005 - Eddie

1 August 2005 - Eddie

28 July 2005 - Eddie

4 July 2005 - Aaron

16 June 2005 - Aaron

19 May 2005 – Eric

18 May 2005 - Aaron

24 April 2005 – Aaron

14 April 2005 – Eric

29 March 2005 – Eric

28 March 2005 - IM-Aaron/Eric

26 March 2005 – Eric

25 March 2005 – Eric

15 March 2005 – Aaron

16 March 2005 – Eric

11 March 2005 – Eric

3 March 2005 – Eric

27 February 2005 – Eric

23 February 2005 – Aaron

23 February 2005 – Eric

20-22 February 2005 – Eric

18 February 2005 – Eddie

18 February 2005 – Eric

16 February 2005 – Eddie

10-12 February 2005 – Eric

12 February 2005 – Eddie

11 February 2005 – Aaron

10 February 2005 – Eddie

9 February 2005 – Eddie

7 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Part 2 –

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
Journal Entries
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