Saturday, December 28, 2013

Week 70--December 16-22, 2013

We didn't have an appointment until noon so we spent some time Monday morning wandering on our own around the streets of Sibu close to our hotel. Later while Tom went with Elder Moulder to buy a printer for the center, Garnalee went shopping with Sister Moulder, Sister Marteeny, and Sister Beus. One of the stores we visited was a notions store.

 Button, button anyone need a button. Stored in boxes on a stand.
 all kinds of ribbon stacked on top of cabinets and displayed on metal rods.
This was  cal;led the Ghetto where many of the members in Sibu lived. If there was a heavy rain, the gutters would fill up and the streets would flood. Sometimes the water would get right up to the door of their home.
 After shopping we visited an Iban longhouse. The man that was the elder of the house was very gracious in allowing us to visit. This is the common room where the family members would gather. The size of the longhouse is determined by the number of "doors." This longhouse has 15 doors which means 15 related families live together. They help care for each other and accomplish the tasks that need to be done. When we visited it was laundry day and all the wash was hanging outside drying.
 The Iban were formerly head hunters. They have long since given up that practice, but you can still see evidence of those by-gone days. This chandelier made from the skulls hung in the common room.


 We could see into one of the living areas and it appears everyone has a flat screen TV. The little we could see it looked very nice but small as most of their time is spent in the common area. We visited with an older gentleman who had been a teacher. It is common to offer guests a drink. One of the women brought out a new bottle of rum that he opened and offered us a drink. Of course we thanked him profusely but we turned it down explaining that we don't drink alcohol.
The floorboards of the common room are separated to allow for the circulation of air to help cool the area.

A beautiful picture of the little girl with her Mom(?).

When we looked out the backdoor we saw many other longhouses. As the family grows the longhouse is added onto to accommodate the new family as long as there is room for the addition. There was a very nice rice field that was worked by the families of this longhouse. 

We had an early morning flight on Tuesday to Bintulu, Malaysia.
 This area is called Sunggai Plan where many of the members live. It was built to house the workers for Petronas Liquefied Natural Gas Plant. There are two rented buildings in Bintulu with four branches.
The members gather and enjoy dinner before the fireside we spoke at. There were more than 75 members in attendance who were encouraged to gather the stories of their family members and record them.
The branch president and youth consultants from the Sunggai Plan Branch. We meet with Sister Doria, the newly called Family History Center Director, for training. 

We left that evening for Miri. We met with Sister Alice and did some training. We weren't able to hold a fireside here.

 Garnalee and Tom standing on the beach with the South China Sea in the background.

This is the seahorse lighthouse at Miri.  

It appears that the symbol for Miri is the seahorse as we saw them everywhere. 

After breakfast, Tom said let's go see if we can find the South China Sea and the beach. We walked through a construction zone that appears to be new apartments or condominiums. We walked for about two miles before we arrived at the beach where we took our pictures and found the lighthouse. Of course we had to walk back the two miles. We were drenched by the time we got back to the hotel and had to shower again.  

We flew from Miri back to Kuching for Moulders to attend the Christmas Conference for their mission. We decided to go see the Sarawak Cultural Village. We learned about each of the tribes that make up the state of Sarawak in Malaysia and bought indigenous snacks at each of the tribal sites.  

 This Christmas tree was made from  wooden ornaments used by Dayaks on special occasions. The man on the right is making one of the ornaments. These were also used to start fires.
 Tom grinding grain.
 Tom in the wedding chamber which was contained in many of the houses of the tribal people.
 Tom is watching the Malay man demonstrate how to wind a top with a rope. Tom is ready to throw the top. The top needs to stay on the piece of wood to spin.

 Tom climbing the log ladder to the wedding chamber in a different house. It was fun to learn how to climb this ladder. We learned to put our toes on each step rather than the whole foot on the step. We had to climb these log ladders in several of the houses.

 :Loading the six foot long blow pipe with the dart. Anciently the dart would have had a poison tip.
Garnalee walking the monkey bridge made entirely of bamboo.

After visiting the houses of the each tribal houses we were entertained at a show demonstrating dances for each of the cultures.

 The horn bill is the national bird of Malaysia.
 Along the river cruise we passed the Parliament building.
 The boat we were in for the river cruise.

Along the river the houses are built on stilts. It was a fun day exploring Kuching.

After our day of exploring we attended the end of the Christmas Conference with the East Malaysia missionaries. We enjoyed watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional with them. We then went to dinner with the senior missionary couples. 

Saturday is travel day to Kota Kinabulu. At the airport we bought seven keks. They are called 1000 layer keks because they are made of multiple flavored layers. They are very moist and delicious. We shared the keks with the Hong Kong senior missionaries.

When we got to the airport, we discovered our plane was delayed and instead of leaving at 2 PM we were scheduled to depart at 6 PM. We were able to get two seats on a 3 PM flight in hopes of us making to Kota Kinabulu for the 7 PM fireside. 

We didn't make it but were able to give our fireside presentation during combined meetings at both the branches on Sunday. It worked out better that way. We also spoke in one of Sacrament meetings. 

After the meetings we went back to our hotel for a late lunch/early dinner. Then we worked on a review of our trip with the Moulders. 

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