A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: wildwoods

Run Through the Jungle

Kalimantan – the burning weather island – did not disappoint

38 °C


As Creedence Clearwater Revival wrote, “you better run through the jungle….”. Kalimantan is one of the largest islands in the world and still has some places that are untouched by western civilization. There are still leper colonies, and jungle tribes. Also famous for vipers, wild boars and orangutans – literally, “people of the jungle”. Fortunately (or unfortunately), we did not come across any, but confronted the usual array of swarming mosquito, large hornets, and spiders the size of tennis balls (one was making himself comfortable on my pillow).

So, complete with mosquito nets and malaria pills, bug spray and sunscreen, our team embarked on our adventure at 3am from Malang. After a 3 hour journey to the airport, and a one hour flight, we began our 6 hour trek by vehicle. I thought driving in Java was an experience, but this was beyond anything I’d imagined. Jason Bourne’s driving scene in the Bourne Identity pales in comparison. His was brief, this went on for hours. The video games where you are the driver and the cars are coming at you is even tame compared to this….vehicles are passing constantly at great rates of speeds in very precarious situations on narrow roads…they miss each other by mere inches (“much room”) – parents with babies (no helmets) on motor bikes squeezing between huge mining trucks. But despite this madness, everyone gets to their destination.

We traveled miles and miles of bumpy “roads” and half washed-out bridges. The rivers reminded me of scenes out of Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter. We finally arrived at our destination and were served the unfamiliar dinner of fish heads and wild boar. I decided to stick with the rice and…water….and more rice. The next day we ran a very successful coaching clinic, and my coaching team then worked with 7 village schools in 38 degree heat. The “training” areas were a challenge to say the least. But again in Indonesia, these things just kinda work. The coaches and kids had a great time. The joy and gratitude of the players is something we in the west could really learn from. These kids have had no formal training and are grateful for just having a ball. We brought cones and pinnies as well, as they normally set up rickety bamboo goals and play shirts & skins.

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We concluded the 2 days with a tournament, which the kids loved, to say the least. At the end, each player was presented a certificate and t-shirt. The equipment was divided between the 7 village schools, and each coach received a coaching manual (complete with DVD), written by well-known Coach Timo Scheunemann. The coaches and players were overwhelmed by these gifts. Thanks to those back home in Canada who were so generous in donating equipment and funds.

In Indonesia, sporting goods and music stores are combined. In conjunction with the soccer training, a music clinic was put on by professional musicians. Most, if not all of the children had never, and will never, have any type of musical training.

At the end, we all felt like rock stars as we were all signing shirts and having our pictures taken constantly.

Our group was unanimous in feeling that though we were able to give to them, we received far more back. We left in wonder and awestruck with memories & lifelong friendships established. This is an experience I will not forget and my words do not do the experience justice.

And remember, when in Kalimantan, like Bubba and Lieutenant Dan being carried out of the Vietnam bush 00C55D82CD76FE50B21F8F58F4F5CA12.jpg….”you better Run through the Jungle”

~Forrest Gump

Posted by wildwoods 02:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

We're baaaack.....

Hello Friends! It’s been far too long…

I (Heidi) have been back in Indonesia for three months already! Time certainly moves at a different speed in Indonesia. In some ways, it feels like I was never away; friendships picked up where they left off and things that were quite foreign to us when we first arrived are more familiar. There have been so many adventures, it’s difficult to choose just a few to share, but I shall try.

We had the pleasure of hosting one of the MFC soccer players in our home in Canada for 2 months during the spring/early summer. I am sure it was quite a culture shock for him. I remember his first Sunday with us…as we set out for church in our sleepy little seaside city, we reminded him that we must always wear our seatbelts in Canada…on the 20 minute drive to Gordon Head, we encountered a number of traffic lights…red ones…and yes, that meant stopping even though there were no other cars to be seen on the road. We all actually had quite a chuckle about it.
Yanto trained with Victoria Highlanders soccer team and really enjoyed the training and high standard of play. He loved Canada because people are friendly and it is quiet compared to home, He did however miss Indonesian food.

The next leg of the adventure was poor Yanto travelling home to the other side of the world with 4 women – three of them teenagers! He took it all in stride, though, with a chuckle and good manners that his mom would be proud of.

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I had the wonderful good fortune (well, through my dear husband’s hard work) to bring my girls to Indonesia. Again, there were too many interesting experiences to recount here, but I am so grateful that they got to see where mom lives, and besides that, it was definitely a trip of a lifetime. They got to witness the horror of pie-plate-sized spiders (from the comfort and security of a vehicle, thankfully); they became adept at bargaining with hawkers on the boardwalk in Bali. They faced their fears and took a wee ferry from Bali on the busiest night of the year over shark-infested waters. And, most importantly, they got to see where mom is spending her time when not with them.

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I am very busy – in a good way! I feel like I never left. I feel “home” here. It doesn’t hurt that we have stable housing this time around. It makes a big difference, although, I look back with a chuckle, and am grateful for the nomad experience last time. The house comes with a resident Rottweiler, rats, ants, and just a few cockroaches plus the usual tokays and cicaks, but we all get along like one happy family. At the moment, we've been without running water for nearly a month as our well ran dry...but I'm sure any day now it will get fixed....haha...

I have quite a number of music projects going on, and more to come, hopefully! I am also mentoring/teaching English to the 4 girls who came from Papua in January, as well as mentoring a Korean girl from the local International school.

I’m also becoming a little more involved with King’s Kids - a local children’s home ran by a lady from Greenock, Scotland and her husband. The orphanage is so full of many heart-rending AND encouraging stories. The most recent little child they welcomed into their home is a little 7-year-old girl from Papua. She had to walk 3 hours to the nearest road, and then travel by motorcycle for 7 hours to the nearest (small) airport. She had several more flights, and another few hours in a car, but despite all that, she is adjusting remarkably well. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the house parents, and am delighted to become more and more involved with this great organization. We recently organized a fundraiser for the home which raised more than we were anticipating.

Frank joined me on August 21, and soccer is ramping up for him. He is coaching his boys in a couple of large tournaments in the next month. He is also mentoring the Malang FC boys. He has been able to give some new soccer boots to local impoverished boys who had none that were generously donated by Soccerworld in Victoria.

We have an amazing opportunity to go to the jungles of Kalimantan for a soccer camp at the beginning of November, where Frank will be coaching teachers and kids from 13 village schools. Equipment will also be given out there where there is none. Stay tuned!

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Posted by wildwoods 04:43 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Terima Kasih Indonesia

overcast 29 °C

Hello friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this blog. This will be our last post in Indonesia until next July. I know some of you will read this with surprise, but we are coming back to Canada for some very positive reasons. We leave behind precious new friends, yet look ahead with excitement at the thought of seeing friends and family that we have missed. We will greatly miss the humid warmth of our mountain home in Malang, but we’ve heard there may be snow when we arrive back in Canada, which is just perfect for Christmas! I will miss the Indonesian food, the friendly faces, and the challenge of learning a new language. I can’t wait to grab my first Tim Horton’s coffee when I get off the plane!

When the opportunity came up for us to come to Indonesia, Frank’s role was pretty defined. We were introduced to a small soccer dorm that had a lot of potential, but hadn’t had the manpower to really develop into what it could be. High school aged boys were accepted into the dorm based on their need, soccer skill, and willingness to embrace the program. Some of these boys have graduated and have gone on to play soccer professionally, but the program could be oh-so much more. The husband and wife couple who started it (Timo and Devi Scheunemann) have put their lives into it, sacrificing a lot personally. The dorm is partially funded by Mustard Seed International, and Hilfe Fur Bruder, a German organization. But it is clear, that to give these young men a great future, they need champions to walk beside them, both financially and personally.

We spent the first month or so getting our bearings, observing what was going on around us, and trying to wrap our heads around language, food and cultural differences. I made friends with a lovely lady with a lovely name (Heidi), large_IMG_8141.jpg
who had lived in Papua for 17 years with her husband and children. She was planning to go back to Papua for three weeks to speak at a conference, and to re-connect with the many girls she had coached and mentored over the years. Out of the blue one day, she said I should come with her. After some inner debate and friendly cajoling from her teen aged boys, I decided to go. The results of that trip were many, but the most important for me was the birth of an idea. The thought that kept swirling through my mind was, “ok, we have the boys dorm, why don’t we create something for girls?”. I was disheartened about some of the stories I’d heard in general about the future for Papuan girls; saddened while visiting some of Heidi’s former players in villages along lake Sentani – girls who’d almost had a fighting chance; a brief vision of freedom, then sunk back into poverty and horrific situations. I figured we could start small and even if we helped change the future – or at least offered an opportunity – for a few girls, it was worth the effort.

Fast forward two months – only two months – and we have our dorm project for both girls and boys off the ground! Charis National Academy has graciously offered full scholarships to our first four girls who will arrive on January 2. Mustard Seed International has been kind enough to help with the upfront costs of the initial dorm set up and flights (quite costly, as you can imagine), and the Scheunemann family are opening up their home to mentor, train, encourage, challenge, love, and most of all, give HOPE to these precious girls. We are so excited! We cannot believe how it has come together so quickly. It is definitely meant to be.

Which brings us back to Canada. We understand that we in the west are inundated with pleas for help and cries for assistance. We are coming home to share our story, and the stories of these girls. We will be making presentations in the New Year. If you or your family, church or organization would like to take part in this opportunity to drastically change the lives of these teenagers, we would be more than happy to let you know how to do that.

We have really enjoyed our time here, and have learned an enormous amount. We are planning to arrive back in Indonesia in mid-July, 2014. Until then, we will make periodic updates to let you know how the dorm program is developing and who knows, maybe more travel announcements to other interesting places...

Posted by wildwoods 06:34 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Match Day in Malang Part 2

rain 27 °C

..I was informed at last Monday's training that the U21 team (Porlis/Prolis) had a game the next day...that is the way it is here..you get a phone call from League Officials and told when you play with little notice....the game was scheduled for 1 pm despite all the players are in school til 2:30!.......as per normal I was to be picked up at noon despite the field being 30-40 minutes away...so predicatably at 12:15 we headed out..not long into our trek suddenly one of players scooters pulled over into a parking area and we followed...the driver of the scooter I was on asked me if I wanted to put on his nylon rain cover...being that it was as usual 30 degrees or hotter and only a bit cloudy out I declined..all the other players put on raincoats or hats if they did not have a m/c helmet on...I thought that was a bit odd..about 3 minutes later it was torrential rainfall..something I have never witnessed...roads were quickly literally turned into rivers..i was beyond drenched..due to heavy traffic you CANNOT pull over ..if you slow down you get honked at loudly and often and risk being rearended...cars going the opposite direction just continually sprayed us all over..my driver(fellow coach) was quite skilled but even he seemed abit worried..we went thru a drop in the road that had partially been washed away!!..we did not fall over but managed to hang on...I could see nothing as my m/c helmet had rain streaming down it and was fogged up in the inside...it was really chaotic...there was one m/c down that was struck by a vehicle..the ricefields we passed were now lakes..going down hills was a real test of my driver's skill..you really have to be aware here as a friend of ours was recently hit while on her m/c and suffered burns to her legs which were beyond belief...and there are no stop signs at intersections!.anyways we made it to the "pitch" or should I say "pool"..yes the same one that has the ditch and is surrounded on 2 sides by jungle..as you can see in the photos the field was completely under water and non-playable....or was it?..the ref said "we do not cancel games in Indonesia"..I thought there is no chance of this game being played..the field would be closed for 2 weeks in Canada like this and goalposts locked together if they were portable..the field had cigarette packages and butts floating on it..the referee and assistants were using 2x4's trying to push water into the ditch..however it was still raining so I thought was is the point?..another guy was throwing lime onto the water soaked field trying to mark out 6 and 18 yard lines..cones were put down for sidelines...normal 3' corner flags were erected..actually now they are down to 2' ones..I think the bottom wears away everytime they hammer them into the ground..unlike home when it rains, the water obviously dissipates faster due to the temperature...so FIFA handshakes and on with the match...what a game..we played or should say battled superbly..adapted to the conditions well..beat 4th place team 5 nil to remain in first place..they have really figured out my system of play now (ha!)..Michael Jackson his normal 2 quality goals..the ball constantly stopped in puddles but somehow the quality of the game was high despite the conditions...no post game meal this time or green bananas..however of course the parking police were out in full force...and the bule(white guy) paid more than double yet again....ride back home was much less treacherous due to rain having finally stopped..went to A&W for floats and fried chicken..disappointed the menu did not include teen burgers or whistle dogs!...I won't tell you the price here other than it was a "tad" less than home...all good fun..players are so appreciative and great to be around....

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on another not, our captain Yanto was just selected to play for a select team that will play in the Vatican cup in Rome, Italy in December against 4 Seria A pro teams youth squads and 4 other countries select teams.what an experience...he will captain this side where the bulk of the players are from the Produta pro team's u18 squad...Produta play in the Indonesian Super league here and I had the priviledge of running a training session for them plus doing team assessments...Yanto is hoping to come to Victoria in the spring to play for Vic Highlanders..he just left for Jakarta for 3 weeks of preparation before Italy..right in the middle of the school year!..not so sure that would happen back home...

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Posted by wildwoods 03:10 Archived in Indonesia Comments (5)

Updates...

sunny 31 °C

This week - visited an orphanage run by King's Kids/Sheryl Black (from Greenock, Scotland!). This is a photo of Ruthie, who was given up as an infant.

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teaching English...

"dorm boys" and my assistant, Nathanial

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TransformNation Students

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After-English-Class social, with the dorm boys (Left to Right - Jaya, Yanto, Pieter, Pieter's friend from Bali, The Mister, and Michael Jackson) at our fave local resto, LegoHouse.


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out for morning coffee/adventures with the mister....

And Fundraising event to raise money to bring one of the dorm boys (Yanto) to Canada for 6 weeks of soccer adventure in the summer of 2014 (more details to follow).

AND, the biggest news this week is - we got confirmation that scholarships at Charis National Academy

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will be provided for four of the female soccer players that I met while I was in Papua a few weeks ago! We are so excited about this and it exceeds my (Heidi) expectations! More info to follow in a later blog.

We feel like we are finally settling into life here, and enjoying ourselves, even amidst the difficult adjustments.

Posted by wildwoods 07:47 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

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