Two weeks ago we heard rumors that there were going to be riots in downtown Tarakan. Apparently a Tidung (pronounced tee-dung) man and his son were killed by a Bugis (boo-geese) man and the Tidung people were calling for an ethnic war against the Bugis people. Fighting of this kind that pits tribe against tribe can unfortunately be common here in Indonesia where there are many thousands of tribes that make up the people of this unique island-filled country. The Bugis people used to be sea-faring pirates many years ago, and actually, the word "boogie man" comes from this tough people group. Most all of the Tidung and Bugis people are Muslim.
Well, on Tuesday night the police gave everyone a 5:00 curfew, and that night Dave and I could hear the rioters from up here on the hill. We, nor any of the other MAF families, felt in danger because we live far enough away and are not targeted, but it was still eerie to hear the chants of the angry Tidung people yelling. Then we heard gunshots. This went on for a while, the chanting, then gun shots from the police to try and break up the crowd. Then we could see an orange glow where the crowd had lit a building on fire! Although we didn't feel in danger, that was one night we were glad to be home. The boys slept through it all.
So the town was shut down for several days with many people leaving the island or fleeing from their homes. I had to borrow diapers and bread from a friend! But other than that we had plenty of food to get by. The worst part about it for me was being stuck at home! I like to get out at least once a day. But thankfully that didn't last too long. It was weird, though, driving around and seeing the soldiers that the government sent it, with their automatic weapons, around town. My friend Rebecca Hopkins took the picture in the beginning of the blog of some soldiers in front of our one fast food restaurant in town, KFC! (Indonesians LOVE fried chicken!) Ryan likes to look at the soldiers whenever we drive by them.
And, funny enough, it was Ryan who noticed the bullet holes in the second level of the mall. There are 13 (the boys and I counted) bullet holes in the glass. I never would have noticed them if not for my observant son.
All that to say that we could use your prayers here in Tarakan because there are rumors that after the soldiers pull out of town on Thursday, October 14, that the fighting may start again. Please pray for the peace of Tarakan. And for the salvation of the Tidung and Bugis people.
Love and miss you all! Linda