We arrived in Sukadana at Alam Sehat Lestari ‘s hospital about a week ago. We made the 2-2.5 hour drive from Ketapang along a two-lane road, driving on the opposite side of the street as we do in Canada. We saw lots of palm trees, quite well-kept houses. Corrugated metal roofs, tiled ones; tile and stucco fronts, an irrigation ditch running for a few blocks parallel to the road. Many fresh paint jobs, some bright: purple, or purple and green, turquoise.
We were passed on all sides by scooters…one, two, three, four and five people astride, some helmeted, some not, there were babes in slings, a passenger carrying a small mattress. All through Borneo colourful hijabs float out behind motorcycle riders, some from underneath helmets. There are shiny, wide banana leaves along the roadside. We passed kids playing in the front yard—one with an old bicycle, 4 boys kicking a green ball beside flowering bushes. Brief smoky smells signal the controlled burn of a front-yard garbage fire. Quite a few of the houses are on short stilts. Lots of chickens. Garden plots. A market.
We drove in warm late-afternoon light, and had our first glimpse of Sukadana’s lushly treed hills as silhouettes against a purple sky. It darkened rapidly just after, the sudden equatorial night surprising our long-arctic-sunset selves. Our kids amused themselves with shadow puppets on the wall of the house where Dr Kinary Webb and ASRI are hosting us for our stay.
Dinner was ready and waiting for us, but Vivi, who has been on about the same schedule as the sun since we arrived in Indonesia, didn’t quite make it through the meal before conking out and needing a cuddle-carry into her new bed.