Thursday, June 24, 2004

Bonaire Ministries on Dutch TV

Josie Olgers, a young Dutch video specialist, spent a few years on Bonaire filming windsurfers, divers, and the natural beauty that can be found here. While she was here, she learned about a number of ministries that are making a positive difference in people's lives here.

She decided that the people back home in the Netherlands should know about these positive aspects of the Bonaire scene, because as you may have noticed, the only stuff that typically makes it on the news is the bad news.

Josie went back to Holland and obtained the backing of the Dutch evangelical communications consortium, "EO". So last December, she and her husband-to-be (tho I don't think they knew it yet) Thom Verheul, came here with a crew and shot lots of video.

They returned home and produced a 50 minute show called Bidden voor Bonaire, which in English, means Praying for Bonaire. The program aired a number of times in Holland and more recently it was on the Dutch language satellite network, BVN, so we were able to see it here as well.

One of the featured ministries is the TWR Project Hanna outreach to women and its radio program Woman of Hope.

A group of women from a number of churches meet at TWR on the last Saturday of each month to pray for women's needs and ministries to women on Bonaire and around the world. Posted by Hello

Work is also underway to get the Woman of Hope radio program on the air in Papiamentu. The local women have been surprised to find out how much work and time it takes to do a radio program, even when they are just translating and adapting an existing series of programs.

The first program is "in the can" and parts of three more are completed. I think they are shooting for a August start up date. I'm sure the Bonaire Woman of Hope team would appreciate it if you would remember them in your prayers.
Maggie Fuller, who has been involved with Project Hanna since the very beginning is spearheading the effort here on Bonaire. Maggie was speaking English when she was filmed, so the program included Dutch subtitles. Posted by Hello
Ellen Herrera Cochrane was also featured in the show in connection with her Kunuku, which I recently wrote about in my blog, and also in connection with her visitation ministry to the elderly people in the Bonaire retirement home. I didn't pull any clips of Ellen from the show, but maybe I'll see if I can get one soon.

Vicky Oleana was featured for her work teaching and mentoring girls who have dropped out of school, usually because of their becoming pregnant. The ministry of APEM (Child Evangelism Fellowship) was also featured. I think Vicky's husband, Victor, is the chairman of the APEM board here on Bonaire. I know that Victor and Vicky are working hard out at the camp site, getting things ready for the camping ministry sessions in July.

Here we see Victor and Vicky being interviewed at the APEM(CEF)Camp. The camp is looking really good these days. Posted by Hello

I've sent copies of the show to Richard in New Jersey and to Sandra's parents in North Carolina, since they are family (the show is probably copyrighted etc.) If you are nearby and want to see the program, you might ask them if you can borrow it. You'll need a dvd player that can play VCD disk format. Most newer ones probably can.

Saturday, June 19, 2004


One of the things I've missed for the 28 or so years that I've been living here on Bonaire is pretzels. Oh, sometimes I could get the pasty Planters in a can pretzels, but they don't really count. Posted by Hello

Recently I've occasionally seen real pretzels in the store, but they have always been somewhat stale.

But now, ta da, there are the pretzel sticks pictured here. They are light and crunchy and amazingly fresh tasting. We just got a bunch of bags of them at the Warehouse for 50% less than Cultimara has been charging.

I'm in pretzel heaven. Yum!

Earth From Space

If you've ever seen the cool images of the earth from space, showing the whole western hemisphere, or the whole surface of the planet laid out flat, or the earth at night etc.
Here is where you can download them for yourself.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi - A Bonaire Treasure

Our church pastor's wife, Ellen Herrera Cochrane has devoted quite a number of years of her life to restoring the old family homestead, Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi.

It is still a work in progress, but at this point the old plantation can only be described as magnificent. Ellen gives walking tours by appointment, something that I would put in the "must do" category for visitors who want to learn about the pre-tourism Bonaire way of life.

Ellen is off island right now, but her daughter, Eline, graciously took the Tangemans and me out for a look see.
 Posted by Hello

The land house has been beautifully and tastefully restored. I could imagine living out there no problem!
Ellen has done a lot of work opening up access to an amazing number of scenic spots. There are breezy shady nooks everywhere. Posted by Hello

Don't forget that you can click on these pictures to see them bigger and clearer.
The topography of the kunuku and the resulting vistas are quite varied. For every private shady nook, there is a very different, but equally appealing panorama to enjoy. Posted by Hello

This kunuku is wildly photogenic. I could have spent a couple days just watching the light and shadows move among the different terrain features.

I have lots more pictures at my Club Photo site.

If you visit Bonaire, phone Ellen at 717-8489 or 540-9800 and schedule a tour.

Office Wing Mods

When I came to Bonaire in the 70's, the studio and office buildings were separated by a driveway. They are connected now, and what we call the open office area was added in the office wing.

In our new lean mean configuration, we've moved everyone over to the studio side and only use the first two rooms on the office side. Posted by Hello

We've been hoping to rent out the office wing so it could generate some income to help underwrite our operations here. A couple local churches were possibilities, but plans are now underway for a new grammar school to settle in here this summer.

We've already got a locking door between the open office area and the rest of our facility. Now we are putting bathrooms in two of the old office rooms, so that wing can be totally self contained. I think a second door for safety will go in too.

Here are some pictures of the work in progress. Above, you can see the open office area looking down the hall towards the old directors office end of the building. The bathrooms are going in the first two offices on the right side of the hall, which were created when the open office addition was constructed.
Here is the framing going into Brian DeWalts old office. The plumbing has already been installed in the walls and floors. By the way, you can click on these pictures to see them bigger. Posted by Hello
Here is a shot of my old office, which before that was Ray Alary's old office with the partition walls partly installed. Posted by Hello
Here are Ivan and Benny (with the hat) working on the drain piping outside the building. They ran the pipes inside the planter and Udo replanted the bushes, so now the building looks as good as new. That's nice, since the pipes run right under the new 40th anniversary mural. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Brandaris Climb

Well it was another Saturday and there I was on another hike in Washington Park. This time it was intentional, unlike last week after my aborted bike ride. We checked the milage this week as we drove through, and I walked about 2.5 miles last week and Sandra picked me up about a mile from the park entrance. Posted by Hello

You can click on this picture (and any picture in my blog) to see a bigger version.
Saturday was fairly cloudy, very hazy, and very very windy. It was great Brandaris climbing weather, but we couldn't see much from the top once we got there. It was fun anyway. The scenery on Brandaris itself is varied and unusual.

Here is a shot of the transition from the lower part of the climb, which is a user friendly path, to the rock scramble up the edge of a ridge.

Based on my windsurfing experiences, I'd say the wind was 35 mph. at the top and maybe more. Jon Savage created a home made anemometer out of a 5 foot piece of three eighths inch rope with a rock tied on the end. The wind pretty much stretched this rope/rock combo straight out parallel to the ground. We were going to calibrate this precision instrument later by driving on a windless road and seeing how fast we had to go do make the rock stand out straight like it was doing up on Brandaris. But the rock got lost somewhere on the descent, so now we'll never know.

We took about a hour on the ascent and about 45 minutes to come back down. Ben and Cort Tangeman could have probable done the ascent in about half that time. Here they are enjoying the view while everyone catches up. The descent is easier on the heart and lungs than climbing, but the footing is quite loose in many places to one has to be really careful not to fall or twist an ankle.

I've posted a number of photos on our club photo site. Scroll down to the bottom of the page of thumbnails to see the pictures from this particular Brandaris climb.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Comets Spotted

The Bonaire weather is starting to get back to it's sunny self, and we could see the stars pretty well tonight. So we went out into the back yard with our trusty finder charts and binoculars and saw comets Neat and Linear again.

Between moon glare and cloudy weather, we hadn't seen them for quite a while. The comets have both gotten a lot fainter than they were a month ago. We could see them with the binoculars but not with the naked eye.

Here is a site that has good finder charts for the comets.

Washington Park Adventure

I went for another bike ride in Washington Park last Saturday. I was well on my way to a personal best for the route when I trashed my rear wheel and had to walk out. I called Sandra on my cell phone and she met me about a mile and a half from the park entrance.

The park guys fixed up all the roads for the big Park anniversary celebration on May 31. A few more of the nastier hills are now paved in cement to stop the erosion when it rains. They dumped fresh dirt in many places and rolled it flat. Then there was some rain and lots of cars drove on it on the 31st, so the surface is really packed hard. The bike rolls on it as if it were brown colored asphalt. It will get torn up soon enough, but right now one can actually do the park loop using a normal car. It is really fast on a bike, compared to a few weeks ago.

I was flying along in a section of very steep roller coaster type hills where you zoom downhill and try to use your momentum to help get up the next up hill. As I approached the hi-g trough at the bottom of one hill I shifted my chain right off the big cog in back into the spokes etc. The wheel locked up and I skidded through the whole bottom section and a little bit up the next side, but kept the shiny side up fortunately.

The chain ended up wedged between the hub flange and the cog carrier of the gear cassette and wouldn't come out for anything. I worked on it for about an hour before I admitted defeat and started walking out. When I got to the top of the next hill, I called Sandra on my cell phone and got the rescue going.

Now my cycling shoes are not made for walking, so I started out in my bare feet 'cause I didn't want to get holes in my socks. Then I got worried about sunburn on the tops of my feet and put the socks back on. Fortunately my feet are semi tough and although I did get some blisters they weren't too bad and didn't pop or anything.

The only lingering damage (except for a trashed derailler, and freehub and spokes) is a sore thumb from when I hit it a couple times with the big rock I was using as a hammer while trying to spin off the cassette lock ring using an Pedro's allen wrench set as a sort of punch tool. But it didn't budge. Later at home, I found that because the chain was jammed so firmly between the hub and the cassette I even had some difficulty removing the lock ring with the correct tool.

So these days I'm riding the bike to and from work with my wife's wheel and derailler on it and won't do any more real off road rides until I either get a new hub and spokes and rebuilt the wheel, or get a complete replacement wheel on eBay. It will probably be mid to late July before I get the stuff down here etc.

Good thing I also have a road bike. :-)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Venus and the Sun

The small black spot is Venus. The sun was totally obscured by haze for the first ten minutes but I got a few good pictures as it was starting to break out. Then I had to put the solar filter on the telescope. Posted by Hello

I'll post more pictures later, but I'll need to process them to see if I can improve the contrast. The solar filter made them look very flat and washed out.
There were lots of clouds and a good bit of haze this morning, but we were still able to see Venus passing in front of the Sun. Posted by Hello

So we were able to watch the show off and on from about 06:20 until about 07:20, when clouds completely closed in again. Venus had just about left the sun's disk by then.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Friday Night Fun

We have some late night radio programs targeted for young people on our FM station. We were originally hoping to reach Bonairian youth with these programs, but it turns out that we may be better able to connect with the North American students attending the not one, but two, Medical Schools that have been established here on Bonaire. Posted by Hello
Our church has organized a once a month fun night / outreach for these kids called Friday Night Live. About 50 of the students and a number of the teachers came this past week for a meal where they could "doctor" up a baked potato; and then hang out and play games inside, or head outside for some volleyball. Posted by Hello
I guess its too soon for the schools to have established much of a track record, but I can tell you that the students here are nothing like the characters in that not-so-funny 1985 Comedy, Bad MedicinePosted by Hello

These young people are personable, polite, sharp as a tack, and highly motivated, and I can envision many of them turning out to be very good doctors.

Lowells and Tangemans Invade Bonaire

Patty and Terri and kids are having a great time rediscovering their old stomping grounds on Bonaire. Posted by Hello

Cara Lowell was baptized after the morning church service. A great time was had by all. Action photos can be found at our Club Photo site.
All photos can be clicked on to see bigger versions.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

TWR Streaming Audio for Youth

Here is part three of my ongoing series on TWR's five core ministry focus areas(parts one and two were about Leadership Training and Women's Ministries.)

Evangeliums-Rundfunk, which we often refer to as "TWR Germany" has begun a 24-hour Internet radio service for youth (ages 14 to 20) called CrossChannel. Audio is available at three different bitrates in each of the RealAudio, Windows Media, WinAmp, and iTunes formats. That should cover just about everbody I would think!

There is a colorful web site too at Listeners and visitors to the site will be able to "chat" with the moderator and guests during some of the programs.

Some of the CrossChannel programming will also be carried in Europe on the ASTRA satellite and on 1539 kHz medium wave.

Dick Saunders Retires

Anyone who has listened to the English service of TWR at any time during the last 40 years will recognize the voice of Dick Saunders, but probably not too many outside of Great Britain have seen him. So I thought I'd post this picture.

Dick Saunders is retiring from his radio ministry but will continue his pastoral ministry in Halesham.

The 15 minute programs; Rendezvous and Way to Life are now off the air, but TWR will continue airing the five minute version of Way to Life through 2004.  Posted by Hello

Radio Tower Falls

Ok.... now that I've got your attention!

Benny Saragosa and Rich West went to Curacao on Monday to take down an old tower for Radio Hoyer. The tower was in bad shape and broke up as it came down, but it ended up being laid out on the ground even nicer than the guys had hoped for.

Before the trip, Rich had been talking about nothing except MacDonalds and Burger King. I think he is suffering from withdrawal here on Bonaire. Well, they ate out alright, but at some steak place, to Rich's dismay. There's no accounting for taste, I guess.