Spending six days in Papua was a wonderful way to conclude our 2 ½ months in Indonesia. We were even able to stay in the same apartment where we had lived in 2005-06. It was so familiar. During our time we were able to meet many of our Papuan friends, visit familiar places, make new friends, and visit new places.

sunset over lake

sunset over lake

We spent our first afternoon taking a boat ride on Lake Sentani and then eating supper in our favorite fish restaurant on the edge of the lake. The weather was perfect with bright blue skies and a lovely sunset.

When we were in Papua in 2005-06, Sally Jo helped a local NGO create a small community library in a home. (This NGO was created by Albertino, a former MCC IVEPer who spent his year in Goshen.) She taught a group of volunteers how to create an inventory on the computer, how to classify books simply, and how to have a simple check-out system. This small library has grown and now has two branches in other neighborhoods. We visited one of the libraries. It is gratifying to hear of the excitement of children wanting to read. The volunteers are excited to have and run the library. They are open every Saturday afternoon from 2-5. One Saturday a month they do various activities with the children—reading to them, crafting, drawing, playing games, and just free time to read. They said they often need to tell the children they must leave at 5 before it gets dark.

While visiting the library we also met two Global Family children. The children receive MCC support to attend school.

We spent most of one day with an MCC SALTer (one-year exchange volunteer) at an organization that works with women. They teach women to read, to create crafts, to sew, etc. Another day we visited the work place of another MCC SALTer. He works with an organization that supports persons with HIV/AIDS. He spends most mornings at a hospital where people come for testing and medicines. Many AIDS patients also develop TB; thus, the nose and mouth mask. In the afternoon he works at the NGO’s office which we also visited. We saw the bag of food (provided with MCC money) given to needy patients once a month.



In 2005-06 we became friends with two young university women who were studying English. We have kept in contact and were able to meet with one of them (Diana). Since 2006 she has gained her Masters in Australia and returned to Papua to work. Currently, she is working with two others running programs in primary schools. One month they focused on books doing many activities. She said that at one point she was a bit frustrated with one boy who was having difficulty with reading. However, on the last day of the program, the boy’s father attended and she saw how the boy was teaching his father to read! Another month they focused on the environment, especially cleaning up beaches. The children, parents, and teachers are enthusiastic with their activities. It was so good to hear her philosophy. She said that so many people just complain about the government but don’t do anything. She said they want to focus on ways they can improve Papuans’ life—not complain.

We spent time with two MCC service workers who teach at a seminary. We attended an extra-curricular English conversation class which one of them holds. We sat and talked and ate with them.

On our final day the Papuan MCC team (4 persons) and we hired a taxi and then a boat and spent the day at a beach by the ocean. Fun was had by all!

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