We had a bit of fun tonight. I was off at the beach celebrating a friend's birthday when I got a call from the bookkeeper saying that the house was on fire. I was 45 minutes away and by the time I got back the fire was out. Turns out the new internet that was installed today was the cause. The wire was not yet properly tacked to the wall (that was going to happen tomorrow) and was tucked behind the electric meter. Well, it shorted out the electricity and started the whole box burning. Luckily the NGO next door had a fire extinguisher.
I'm really sorry for not posting recently. I've had a bit of a lull in interesting things I can post at the moment. I could tell you that I just had another trip to Medan (which I did) and that I am still building houses (which I am) but not else is really happening besides that.
My parents went to see the movie End of the Spear yesterday. I really hope it comes to Medan and I can see it when I'm there. There aren't any movie theaters here in Aceh due to religious reasons. Anyways, my parents really enjoyed the movie and from what I've heard from other friends as well it is one of the best movies of the year.
Many of you have asked for more information about what I am doing up here. I would love to post tons about what I'm doing but Samaritan's Purse, like most organizations, is careful about what its employees say. I'm going to try and share as much as I think I can.
I just got back to Banda Aceh. My trip went really well. I had good meetings everywhere I went, even better than expected. I'm excited about some upcoming projects that I helped set up. There is a good chance that I will be off to East Timor in February. It will be cool to visit the worlds youngest country.
I also drove my new bike back from Medan. I almost tripled the total miles on the bike in that one trip. It runs beautifully though and looks great. I'm really excited about having it around.
I got to drive my new bike today since I just arrived in Medan. I've got to say that I absolutely LOVE my new bike. It has lots more power than the other bikes I've been driving, it corners really well, it has a wide comfortable seat for long distances and when I stop at lights everyone looks at it. I'll be riding it back to Banda Aceh on Wednesday.
This is too good to pass up. For a long time now it has been possible to inject dyes, including green, into eggs. This produces a colored yolk and colored chicks which are really cute when pink, orange, blue or green.
So the new news is that scientists in Taiwan have developed a green pig. Yup, you read that right. A green pig. Three actually. All internal organs are also green.
I'm heading out of Banda Aceh again this weekend for a whirlwind trip around northern Sumatra. I'm flying down to Meulaboh on Friday and will go straight to Panga by either helecopter or float plane. I have a meeting there about setting up the boat buidling project. Saturday I will then fly back to Meulaboh and meet with some people there and close up some final business. Then on Monday I fly to Medan since the flights were full on Tuesday and we have a managers meeting on tuesday. Wednesday I'll then drive my new motorcycle back from Medan to Banda Aceh.
Since I was in Indonesia this year for Christmas, I wasn't able to exchange gifts with my family. They put together some money to get me a present though. A friend is in Singapore picking up my present and should get it to me in a week. It is a Garmin extrex Vista C GPS receiver. Thats hint number three for my upcoming plans. I hope to send out a newsletter soon explaining my plans for the second half of this year. Stay tuned.
Here is a list of things that I do that Indonesians think are strange, dangerous or will make me sick.
1. I sleep with a fan blowing on me
2. I eat cold fruit in the morning
3. I drink cold water
4. I ride my motorcycle by myself long distances
5. I ride my motorcycle without a "wind vest"
6. I swim in the ocean
7. I like to run
8. I like to run in the afternoon
9. I don't scratch a coin down my back when I get a cold
10. I don't eat rice at every meal
This one goes out to all of you snowed in this winter from all of us who have spent so many years in the tropics at Christmas time.
The clouds are cov'ring, the snow is deep,
The pine and oak trees sway
I've never seen such a day,
But it's December the 24th
And I'm longing to be down south
I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
Just like the ones I used to have
Where the palm trees glisten,
and children listen
To hear waves crash in the sand
I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
With every swirling winter storm
I arrived back in Banda Aceh to a long list of things that needed to be done yesterday. As I work to try and dig my way out of the hole, I'll try and post some of the interesting stuff that I'm working on.
One of these will be the housing project. I've had some requests for pictures and more details of what we are doing. I have to be careful since I am under contract with SP and have restrictions on what I can say to the press (and posting online is probably the same thing). I'll share as much as I can though.
Happy new year to everyone! I've been having a very nice and relaxing time in Bandung and will leave early tomorrow morning. I went to a hotel party with some friends last night to celebrate this momentus occasion.
It has been great to have some time to hang out with old friends (the ones that are still in town) and not have to worry too much about what is happening in Banda Aceh. I'll soon be back though and ready to work. Sorry for not posting more but I was on a break.