FOLLOW OUR ADVENTURES IN DEMLAND

We live amongst a tribal group known as the Dem who are located in the mountains of Southeast Asia. We are here to learn their language, translate the Bible into their language, and teach them about God. If you would you like to receive our monthly newsletter, send us an email at: dylan_vanrensburg@ntm.org

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mount Andong

On Saturday morning Raquel went to one of our pembantu's house to play and Dylan and I joined some people from our school for a hike up a nearby mountain. It was a little more intense than I had expected (an hour and a half going straight up and 45 minutes down) and I'm still feeling it in my very out of shape legs and blistered feet:) but it was fun and the view was gorgeous.

On the way to the trail we were quite the attraction for the locals who kept asking us to take their 'portrait':)
getting higher...
almost there...
this 'house' was actually a burial site for an important religious leader
and we made it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What Raquel's been up to...

Chatting with Aunt Lydia on Skype

Fell asleep clutching her ping pong balls
Modeling the outfit that Grandma and Grandpa bought in India
pretty pretty princess

Friday, August 21, 2009

Well tonight we attended our last independence celebration. Last Sunday night we joined our neighborhood in a party that last all night for some (till 11 for Raquel and I and 12:30 for Dylan:) On Tuesday Raquel and I went to a party at her school, and yesterday we all went downtown for a parade/carnival. Tonight was a party held at our school with our teachers and fellow classmates. Of course, as with all these events, there were games. The first was krupuk (a kind of chip) eating contest. The chips were hung from strings and each contestant tried to finish their chip the fastest without using their hands. The men went first and then the women. I am a little embarassed to confess that I won the women's contest (I would win an eating contest). Below I am pictured in the championship round. The lady on the left, who was my runner up, beat us all, but the fun didn't stop there...


Raquel had fun running around with the other kids and got incredibly dirty.

This next game was hilarious on all sorts of levels. The men have a type of eggplant hanging from a string around their waists and the object of the game was to hit the ball in front of them with the vegetable to the other side of the court.
The women tried it after the men and, again, I wound up in the championship round. I guess I'm good at games that require absolutely no skill, but not that great - the girl behind me ended up winning - Way to go Heather!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dylan wears a dress and other fun things...

August 17th is Independence Day. The entire city is awash in colorful banners and red and white flags and there are dozens of activities going on. Almost the entire month is devoted to celebrating. A week and a half ago we joined our neighborhood on a Sunday morning walk. Everyone met at the school yard across from our house at 6:30am and joined in a half hour of calisthenics to warm them up for an hours walk through the streets around our neighborhood. We ended up back at the school where there was entertainment and a prize raffle. We only stayed until 9:30, but could hear them partying well into the afternoon:)

Today we got to join in on some more activities held in honor of Independence day. This afternoon we again met at the school yard with the neighbors and watched while the children participated in a poetry reading contest.

a Tug of war
...and an eel carrying contest. The kids were split into two teams and they all had to grab as many eels as they could from this bucket and carry them to their team bucket. The team with the most eels after a certain amount of time won.
Raquel wanted to try, and made me come with her. It took her quite a while to actually get an eel out of the bucket as they are slippery little buggers and very squirmy. Here she is almost to the other bucket when it squirmed out of her hand. She wanted me to help her pick it up, but I politely refused. The kind gentleman below came to her rescue and the eel was successfully placed in her team's bucket!
One of the funniest events was for the women. The balloons hanging on the rope have flour in them. The women were blind folded and given a stick with which to pop the balloon. Hilarity ensued. The lady in the red pants was the last one with an unpopped balloon. She was crazily beating the rope, but to no avail. She finally gave up and the balloon was saved:) Raquel was sad because they were popping the balloons and she wanted one.

After the women were slightly humiliated, it was the men's turn. They played a game of soccer... in SKIRTS:) This is a video of our pembantu's husband helping Dylan into his sarong.
video
They played mostly barefoot using a kickball and whenever music was played over the loudspeakers they had to stop playing and dance to the music.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rawa Pening

On Tuesday we finished our first units of language school and then got the rest of the week off. It's been a nice, relaxing few days. We got some stuff done that we needed to do and also went to the nearby swamp. We went with some friends of ours who have a little boy Raquel's age. I didn't know what to expect when visiting a swamp, but it was actually really beautiful. We got to take a half hour boat ride and saw the little bamboo huts that men paddle out to every day to fish. Very interesting... and, no, we didn't see Shrek.






After our boat ride, we went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. It was a really pretty place where we ate outside under bamboo awnings and sat on the floor at low tables. Throughout the eating area were fish ponds. There was only one women working there which was fine because we were the only guests:) She came to take our order and we all ordered ikan bakar (grilled fish)
A few minutes later she came back with this net.
She scooped up some fish out of the pond and beat them with a stick
Then she grilled them:) It was delicious!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Random Raquel

Filling up the bathtub - Raquel said the bubbles looked like bellies.


snuggled up watching a movie

Raquel has homework every week. Last week her assigment was to trace four dotted lines across a piece of paper.
Here's what it looked like. I thought she did a decent job, but the teacher stamped "try harder" ha ha So this week I told her to try harder:)
Almost every night she requests a private concert from her father:)