If a picture is worth a thousand words, it would take more than a million words to describe Tembagapura; and one could easily drown in those words. These pictures don’t even begin to capture the essence and totality of this extraordinary environment, but it opens a small window into what life is like here. I’m continuously and repeatedly fascinated by it.
Tembagapura, which translates to “Copper Town” is tightly and comfortably nestled in the thick rainforest of the Jayawijaya Mountain Range. The town is 6,600 feet above sea level. Typically, the weather is sunny and warm in the morning, then it changes to cool, cloudy, and rainy weather in the afternoon. Tembagapura receives, approximately, 20 feet of rainfall per year. The town is completely accessible by foot; however, a free bus system is available for employees and their families to use.
Even though Chris’s office (inside the main office building) is located in town, his responsibilities take him from the rim of the open pit mine (14,500 feet above sea level), into the bowels of the underground mine (6-7 miles inside the mountain), down to the port site, and everywhere in-between.
The girls’ school, Mt. Zaagkam International School (MZIS), is completely owned, operated, and funded by the company for its expatriate employees. There are roughly 70 students (kindergarden through grade 8) enrolled in the school. Kylee is in the 3rd grade classroom with 9 other students. Ally is in a combined classroom, which includes all middle school students (grades 6-8). There are 16 students in her class. Their school shares a campus with YPJ, a school for Indonesian students. YPJ is, also, owned, operated, and funded by the company. MZIS is touted as being “the world’s most remote international school.”
This is the busiest building in town, “Family Shopping.” The central part of the building houses a grocery store, a very small department store, a craft store, a post office, two banks, a restaurant/coffee shop, a drug store, and a beauty salon. That part of the building is flanked by a library and an athletic center on one side, and a large community center/auditorium on the other side. The building on the right is living quarters for single-status employees.
The Lupa Lelah Club has a very large dining room on the main floor of the building and a bar in the basement. This is where we go for Sunday brunch, date nights, parties, and special events. A lifetime membership at the Lupa Lelah Club costs 1,000,000Rp.
A smaller shopping center in Tembagapura called Singlemans. The short, yellow building (seen behind the large tree) offers people a place to bank, have a cup of coffee, pick up their mail, buy a few groceries, and/or obtain cell phone services. This is also where Papuans go to buy betel nut (an Asian tree nut that is used like chewing tobacco). Papuan women set up make-shift markets along the sidewalk to sell their products. The tall building in the background (with the iconic TEMBAGAPURA sign) is living residence for single-status employees. The lighter yellow building (on the left) is an engineering office.
My favorite restaurant, Kokarfi, also known as Kops. It’s a popular restaurant in Tembagapura because it only serves Indonesian food, and it has a stage for karaoke. The Indonesians love karaoke! The yellow building on the left is the smaller shopping center that I described above. The building on the right is living residence for single-status employees.
Tembagapura Hospital sits directly across the street from Kops. When Kylee was in the hospital, her room was the third window from the left.
One of many views of our neighborhood, Hidden Valley. The apartments are for employees who are living at jobsite with their spouses and/or children. The apartments are very spacious and bright, and have some pretty amazing views!
Our house, HV1021-A. Even without our shipments, it’s starting to feel like home.
The beautiful Mt. Zaagkam, which stands commandingly above an apartment lined street in Hidden Valley. Company posters are a common sight. I appreciate the touch of industrial whimsy that they add to the neighborhoods. The message on the banner loosely translates to, “Lets work safely and with spirit.”
The shopping center in Hidden Valley is a 2-minute walk from our house. The building houses a little grocery store, a restaurant/coffee shop, an exercise center, a post office, and a security office. The girls enjoy meeting their friends at the coffee shop for an ice cream or a plate of French fries after a long day of school. The covered area on the left is a large park with swings, slides, tunnels, and monkey bars.
The sports hall in Hidden Valley is right across the street from the building described above. It has a full-size basketball court, volleyball court, and tennis court inside. Ally spends a lot of time at the sports hall playing basketball and volleyball with her friends.
The community swimming pool is located in Rainbow Ridge (directly above Hidden Valley). Kylee is on the school’s swim team, so she visits the pool twice a week to train. She’s currently in the silver team, but she’s working hard to move up to the gold team.