Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What does the area I fly in look like?

If you are curious what the area's that we fly in look like, here is a video that a fellow pilot put together.  He is flying the Kodiak and has the equipment and skills to put video's together.  So here is a visual aid of what goes on around Borneo.  He has lots more video's so please check them out.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Weekend Emergancy Flight

On a Saturday afternoon I received a call asking for an emergency patient transfer from Malinau to Tarakan.  It is only a 35 minute flight but can be up to 3 hours on a fast speed boat.  The patient couldn't handle that kind of travel and needed to get to the better equipped hospital in Tarakan.  Since it was the weekend and the airplane would mostly be empty I had the opportunity to take Caleb with me.

 This would be his first flight with me out into the "wilds" of Indonesia.  He enjoyed riding along and seeing the sights and sounds from the airplane.

 Since we had gotten the call already late in the afternoon, by the time we were up and flying the sun was already sinking low in the sky as we flew towards Malinau

 It was a boy that we picked up with his concerned mother and also a nurse (in the back seat)

 Here he is on the floor

 Landed in Tarakan as the sun was setting

 Caleb had a good time flying and I am really glad he gets to experience a little bit of why we are here in Indonesia

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Flying and living here in Indonesia has been full of new experiences.  I have lots of photos but have not shared them yet due to the fact that living life here takes 100% of my energy and being at the "ripe" old age of 34, I go to bed around 9 (sometimes earlier) 😏.

My typical day is arriving early to the hangar and preflighting the aircraft. To "preflight" means that I check over the entire aircraft looking for cracks in certain areas, leaks, worn out tires or other potential problems that I don't want to happen while I am out flying.  This process takes me about 20-30 min to complete, at the same time as cargo and luggage is being loaded and tied down by our local staff.

Then I gather information about where I need to go for the day and what the weather is like out in the area of jungle I will be flying into:

Sometimes it I look down on the clouds like this...

...and other times it is looks down on me.

Usually I have a schedule for the day to go to certain villages bringing passengers and cargo.

    This is the village of Long Bawan and is a regular stop for us since it is not connect to any other cities by road or river.  It is serviced by either air or walking path.

Sometimes during my day I get a call for a medical evacuation (or medivac) to go get a sick person from a remote village and bring them to hospital.

Having already gotten the call, I arrived in Long Layu for an "orang sakit"
(in Indonesian it means: sick person or patient)

Lots of people gather around to say farewell to the accompanying family member
and sick person

Loading them up is done the traditional way, by hand carrying the person

A little tricky when you start running out of room

As comfortable as possible.

A boy observing the proceedings

Almost all done and about ready to get this person flow to the nearest hospital which is about 60 miles away, or a 35 min flight.

Meals are not scheduled so we catch them when we can. Even on the back elevator of the aircraft while doing paperwork.

When I arrived in Malinau and dropped off the first patient, I had another patient waiting for me to be taken to Tarakan because the hospital here couldn't care for this critically ill lady.

It was already fairly late but the airport stayed opened (closes usually at 5pm) so I could takeoff and get the orang sakit to Tarakan.

After the usual farewells from family, we were able to get her laying down in the aircraft and blasted off for Tarakan.

We arrived back in Tarakan just as the sun was setting.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Long Bawan Family Trip

Arriving in Long Bawan

A couple of weeks ago our family was able to take advantage of an opportunity that MAF provides for our families to be able to have one trip interior (to stay in one of the villages we serve) each year.  Although Tyler gets to fly to all these villages several times a week, and Caleb, Aaron, and myself have flown in with him on a daily flight, we don’t really know what it’s like to truly live in or experience life in these villages.  Last year, Tyler ended up staying overnight interior.  Because of weather build-up, he was not able to fly home that evening.

The whole family packed into a Cessna 206

The couple he stayed with is one of the men MAF hires to help take care of our MAF planes and details in that village.  He and his wife were thrilled to host Tyler for a night and have repeatedly asked when our family would be able to come visit.  So, finally, we made it happen, and Tyler flew the 6 of us into their village on a Friday afternoon.  With us we brought a large “care package” of food valuables that we know are either expensive or harder for them to get there (oil, sugar, eggs, carrots, onions, coffee, among other things).  

Katelyn taking a short nap.  Doesn't that hurt?!?

My little ladies after their first flight

Pak Jonas (right) and his wife Ibu Hella (far left)

Our trip to Long Bawan with Pak Jonas and his wife was very lovely.  They were generous hosts, and not only fed us meals and snacks, but had really prepared for us by having mattresses available for us to sleep on, and planning outings so we could see the area they live in.  Being at a higher elevation nestled in the valley of some mountains gave a much appreciated relief from the heat.  While still warm, we enjoyed cooler, fresh air and cool evenings and mornings.  Our hosts home was right in a small neighborhood, next to a big soccer field (with cows hanging around).  Our kids enjoyed the freedom to explore outside, play with the kids there and going on a really beautiful hike.

Hiking up a road

Walking above the rice paddies

The kids and the pig Pak Jonas has

The house we stayed at

Soccer field just by the house

Caleb and Aaron joined in on a game of soccer

Jocelyn and Aaron sharing a sibling moment

One of the kids posing for us

Katelyn loving being chased

Playing on the rocks next to the house

Kids offered Katelyn some candy but Katelyn wasn't so sure about it

Tyler visiting with the men after supper

Pak Jonas, though also working for MAF, owns his own “garden” land where he grows pineapple, jeruk (like oranges), and other fruit.  He also owns a rice patty, and a pig.  We all enjoyed hiking to his fruit garden and watching him cut off the pineapples to bring back to the house in his wheelbarrow.  

Pak Jonas picking some ripe pineapple from his garden

The view was spectacular

Rice paddies

Some folks working in their paddies

Worn road we used as a path to get to the garden

Garden is on the hill to the left

"Is this eatable?"

Jocelyn found the leftovers of a pineapple

These pineapples here are extremely sweet and super delicious

I didn't know tangerines could grow in the country, but they could.  Not as sweet as the pineapple though

Another beautiful view

Visiting with the neighbors

Village houses

Main road being worked on

Saturday morning Pak Jonas took us in his pick-up to visit the neighboring villages, one of which was his birth village.  He certainly knows everyone there!  Just past his birth village, before hitting the Malaysian border, we were able to visit a salt mine.  We were able to see the well that they pull the water out of, then see inside where they have 3 troughs full of the boiling salt water.  It usually takes a full day for all the water to evaporate, leaving the piles of salt for them to prepare for selling.  We learned that how the salt mine works is that these families from the villages around there have one week every year (one turn) to work at the salt mine in order to earn some money.  Two families can come at a time and live in the salt mines for a week before someone else comes to do the same thing the next week.  We are assuming that the people must find this a valuable way to earn income for their families and that they would want to take advantage of this opportunity.

"Salt House" Where they make salt

Salt well where water seeps into from the river

Place where families stay for a week to boil and process the salt

High tech salt vats

Working the trade

Not much to this

Just a 50 gal drum cut in half with clay sidings and a wood fire

Finished product

Before leaving Long Bawan, Pak Jonas blessed us with a huge bag of rice from their fields, 4 pineapple, and some duck eggs.  Even though these people have little, they are so generous to our families!

Fueling up the aircraft getting ready to go home

Despite some of the challenges of staying interior overnight (using a squatty potty, trying to figure out how to “shower” the Indonesian way (buckets and dippers), just to name a few things…) our kids loved our time there and look forward to going back one day.  We’re so thankful to see the places we serve and meet the people who depend on MAF.  Not only do we serve these families, but they surely bless us as well!