|Map of Pulau Sumba. Melolo in far east, Kambapari in center, Napu in north, Waitabula in NW.|
Our next destination took us into central Sumba to the village of Kambapari. This was a refreshing experience since the 600 meter climb in elevation provided a cool climate and the smallest dose of vital rain. Our prior meeting with the Camat of Kambapari was encouraging as he was amenable to our work and provided us with some suggestions of where we might install. When we arrived at the Camat office, we were able to sort out a location that was suitable. Fast forward to the end of the install; by now we are a well-oiled machine, no problem. We finished the install and then proceeded to pay out the local helpers and long-term site maintenance personnel in a hilariously awkward manner. Typically, we give the "smooth handshake" to people who help us dig, build fences, etc., dishing out 20-100k rupiah for their help at the site. Then we have a formal meeting and pay the land owner/caretaker in a ceremonial manner. This time, it was all mashed together in an awkward and disorganized clusterfest, where we dished out the small payments amongst the whole group of local leaders, staff members, and community members. Numerous redundant handshakes and chuckles from the onlookers cemented the fact that this was indeed a bumbling moment and we all laughed about it on the way back to Waingapu. I was pretty tired by the time we made it back, fell asleep at 8pm and woke up just in time to call my beloved wife Maggie, thereby delivering myself a most excellent birthday present by having a quick chat with her. I really miss you Maggie, don't worry the next time won't take us apart for so long...all the hard work is being done now!
|Sign in front of "Camat office" where we installed site KPAR...also the site of hilarious awkwardness.|
After prepping for install, we the Bupati in Waitabula and received informal permission to go ahead. Again, the well-oiled (and sweaty) machine handled business. Ohhhh yeah. We named the site BULE to provide ourselves with a trivial bit of comedic relief. Recall that bule is the Indonesian term for "white person" that does not hold negative connotation. Hence the following logic: Waitabula is close enough to Waitabule, Watiabule sounds a lot like "white boy," Cooper and I are definitely "white boys" and bules at the same time. You best believe that we stand out everywhere we go, probably because Cooper likes to wear his "suns out, guns out" cutoff shirt when we travel.
|Coop delivering the bule dance at station BULE. He is sending a wicked south-to-north pulse to the sensor to demonstrate what the equipment does. This is always a moment of intrigue for the locals to finally see how it works.|
|Flying back to Kupang over central Sumba. Station NAPU is down there close to the northern tip of the island, listening to the Earth's secrets...|