Driving Violations

The International School is situated up on a high hill in the middle of Sentani.  Coming off the hill and down a long street is the main road that cuts through Sentani.  Pulling onto this main street can be very challenging at times.  Often one has to start edging in, in order to create a window of room to go.  Every now and then one can look right, left and across the street left (for oncoming traffic) and then go for it.  Thus was the case last week.   It was a “go for it” moment.  Surprised was I to hear a horn blaring as I approached the middle of the intersection.  Here I am face to face with a motor cycle and the rider, who had approached the intersection from the opposite side of the road (right)  driving into oncoming traffic.  Hmmmm…….didn’t know I was suppose to check that direction???!  The irony of the situation was the look that  came from this man’s eyes.  They haunt me to this day.  They were full of pure hatred.  His eyes locked mine and spoke words that needed no language.  I am ever so grateful that I didn’t crash into him, as I would have been at fault, even though he was the one driving incorrectly. 

Everyday is filled with motor cycles merging into traffic without looking.  Cars drifting into lanes like swans gliding around on a lake.  I still really enjoy driving here.  However, in the recent months I have started reacting by calling bad driving names.  Not that I am really proud of this.  They are not really bad names….nor are they names that boys are allowed to call their brothers in this house.  I didn’t know mission life would pull this out of me.  Yet everyday I am on the road for usually around 2 hours and really bad driving skills result in some pent up anxiety and frustrations.  I have found it better to just call the bad driving by it’s name and move on.

Several months ago Darron drove the motor bike to Jaya Pura (1 1/2 hours away).  As he was approaching an intersection and going very slow (maybe 5 miles per hour).  A car veered into him, deliberately cutting him off causing Darron to lay the bike down and hit the front of this vehicle.  No significant damage was done.  The man and his friend emerge, all angry and upset.  They tried to pour some liquid onto the road and declare that Darron had done more damage.  Fortunately, Darron saw them do this and was able to call them out on it.  Guess who handed over about $20.00 just to get out of the mess?  Yes, your right, Darron.  We call it the “lawless land”. 
I am anxious for Aubrey to be old enough to be able to drive, as this will help the shuttling about greatly.  However, we are prayerfully considering the type of transportation that will carry these boys to and from school.  Motor bikes are easy to get around on, but offer little protection.  We are praying about finding a cheap vehicle.  Every day we are so grateful that a hedge of protection surrounds us as we drive among many who are violating traffic rules.  Thanks for your prayers.  I am including pictures that I have been collecting of interesting driving scenes.  Note the lack of helmets on many of the children.  Also the amount of people that can ride on a bike.

How are your eggs transported to the store?  This is how in Papua. 
Who needs a car when you can fit all four children and your wife on the motor bike?
Expat Jana, teaching expat Jesse how to ride in Papua.


  1. Wowzers... that is a lot of humans on one motorcycle... takes me back to the Philippines! ;-)


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