Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Night Away

How our friends Larry and Aarlie Hull came to own a coffee plantation is a fascinating, but long story.  For now, all you need to know is that we have American friends who have a moderate-sized coffee plantation about a half-hour's drive from Kudjip.  They travel back and forth from their home in Centralia, Washington to Madan Estate several times a year.  We have visited them there several times, but never over night.  But last night we changed that.  We drove out right after my work at the hospital was done for the day.  We had supper on their verandah, visited into the evening, then slept in their upstairs master suite.

The Hulls don't use the suite themselves.  I'm sure that this goes back to the days when they were partners in the plantation with another couple, who lived at Madan full-time, and slept in the crow's nest.  Larry and Aarlie still sleep in the same downstairs bedroom that they started using in those days.  The suite has a bedroom with a big round bed, a separate room that was probably originally intended to be a study and a bathroom.  The bedroom has windows on three sides.  You have to understand that it's built on top of a big house that's in turn built on a big hill.  Sorry that we don't have a photo taken from the suite.  You'll have to use your imagination based on the photo taken of the house from across the coffee fields.  By the way, Judy is pretending to be a security guard there at the gate!

Saturday morning we got up and had freshly-roast peaberry coffee (if you don't know what peaberry is, you won't be impressed anyway) on the verandah, along with fruit, toast and cereal.  Then we were off for a stroll around the plantation, along with some of the Hull's delightful employees.  I'll just caption the photos.

The Hulls have built a health clinic on the plantation, and are in the process of finishing a birthing center, which you see in the left background.  In the picture of us with Larry, are the nurse and 2 aides that they have hired to staff these facilities.  Above the birthing center are small apartments for the aides.  The new literacy center and library will be built near-by.  They have already had literacy classes, but the new building will allow them to expand this ministry.

One of the security men told us about some small caves on the hill where the house is.  The local people revere these caves, apparently as being home to "dwarfs" leprechaun-like legendary creatures.  The man who originally built the plantation promised the local people that except for the house (a pretty big exception, I think) nothing on the hill would be disturbed.  When the owner before the Hulls started clearing some forest and leveling some land for staff housing, the locals became upset, but the owner said that as a Christian he didn't care about the stories of the dwarfs.  One night, the security man told us, the dwarfs came and climbed up on the roof of the house, and stomped around loudly, frightening the owner and his wife, who called for help from the security staff (I don't know what they did to help) and then stopped the construction project.  I wanted to see the caves.

In the picture we are in front of the rock structure where the caves are located.

The first cave I saw was very small, just a bit of a cleft, with a lower area extending back a few feet, but the second one extended further.  By crawling in a little way, I could see into a chamber that would have been big enough for me to sit up in, but not stand.  

 Here's the crawling part.  I could see an extension, but couldn't tell how far it went, and I didn't want to go through the small passage I would have had to crawl through to get in and see more.

You can see how muddy my legs and arms got.

We went back to the house to wash up and have some lunch (along with some more of the great Madan coffee) before heading home.

All photos by Aarlie Hull.

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