Tembagapura

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.

This is a great view of Tembagapura (which means "Copper Town" in Indonesian).  Tembagapura is comfortably nestled in  the Jayawijaya Mountains.  The town is about 6, 600 feet above sea level, and it gets 20 feet of rainfall/year.  Typically, the weather is sunny, warm, and beautiful in the morning (can get into the 80's), changing to cool (high 60's), cloudy, and rainy in the afternoons.

This is a picture of Tembagapura, which translates to “Copper Town.” It’s 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.

This is a picture of Chris's office building.  Even though it's located in town, his responsibilities take him from the rim of the open pit mine (14,500 feet above sea level) to the bowels of the underground mine (6-7 miles inside the mountain), and everywhere in-between.

This is a picture of Chris’s office building. Even though his office 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.

This is a picture of the girls' school, Mt. Zaagkam International School (MZIS).  It is completely owned, operated, and funded by Freeport McMoRan.  MZIS is touted as being the most isolated international school in the world.   There are around 65 students enrolled in the school.

This is a picture of the girls’ school, Mt. Zaagkam International School (MZIS). It’s 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 a picture of the busiest building in town.  It's referred to as "Family Shopping."  This building houses the Hero grocery store, a very small department store, and a craft store.  It, also, houses a post office, two banks, a coffee shop, a drug store, and a beauty salon.  Family shopping is flanked by the library and athletic center on one side, and a large community center/auditorium on the side.  This is also the bus station.  You can see one of the town busses parked under the hangover.  The building on the right is a barrack for single employees.

This is a picture of 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.

This is a picture of the Lupa Lelah Club.  There is a dining room on the main floor and a bar in the basement.  This is where we go for Sunday brunch.  A lifetime membership costs 1,000,000 Rp

This is a picture of the Lupa Lelah Club. There is 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.

This is a picture of

This is a picture of a smaller shopping center in Tembagapura. 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 other yellow building (on the left) is an engineering office.

This is a picture of my favorite restaurant, Kokarfi, also known as Kops.   run by     K

This is my favorite restaurant, Kokarfi, also known as Kops. It’s a popular restaurant in Tembagapura because it serves great Indonesian food, and, best of all, 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.

This is a picture of the Tembagapura Hospital (front view).  Its directly across the street from Kops.  When Kylee was in the hospital, her room was the third window from the left .

This is a picture of the Tembagapura Hospital (front view). It’s directly across the street from Kops. When Kylee was in the hospital, her room was the third window from the left.

This is a picture of  our neighborhood, Hidden Valley.   It's often lost in the clouds, hence, its name.

This is a picture of our neighborhood, Hidden Valley. These are apartments for employees who are living at jobsite with their spouse and/or children. The apartments are very spacious, bright, and have some pretty amazing views!

This is a picture of our house, HV1021-A.

This is a picture of our house, HV1021-A. Even without our shipments, it’s starting to feel like home.

This is a picture of our neighborhood, Hidden Valley.  The beautiful Mt. Zaagkam stands commandingly above this apartment lined street.  Company posters, which add a bit of  industrial whimsy to neighborhood, are common around all parts of town.  Loosely translated, the sign means, "Lets work safely and with spirit."

This is a picture of 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.”

This building is a 3-minute walk from our house.  It houses a little grocery store, a coffee shop, an exercise center, a post office, and a security office.  The girls enjoy meeting their friends at the coffee shop for a Coke and French fries after a long day of school.

This is a picture of the shopping center in Hidden Valley. It’s a 3-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.

This is the

This is the sports hall in Hidden Valley. It’s 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.

This is a picture of the swimming pool in Hidden Valley.

This is a picture of the swimming pool in Rainbow Ridge (located 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.

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11 Responses to Tembagapura

  1. Dad says:

    Hi Kriste and Family:

    What wonderful pictures you provided for us. Those pictures tell us why you love it where you are. Maybe Mom and I should go down and visit you there. Or maybe we should meet in Hawaii.

    Yesterday, Saturday, was very busy for Mom and I. We had three baptisms that we had to coordinate and the first was at 11:00 AM, the second at 1:00 PM and the last and third at 3:00 PM
    The first baptism takes the time, as we have to begin filling the font 1 1/2 hours before the baptism time. The second and third baptisms just take a little time, as the water is left in all day Saturday and we just add a little hot water for the 2nd and 3rd baptisms. The time is takeb up after we get home, that we must put the baptism clothing and towels through the washer and dryer. We have been doling this since we returned home from our Mission.

    Sunday was busy also. Mom was asked to talk in Sacrament Meeting, the talk to be some 15 minutes in duration. She worked on the talk for the better part of the week, preceeding Sunday.
    The talk was on he Plan of Salvation and how we exercised our agency in the Pre-existence. It was a delightful talk. She took about 5 minutes to talk about T.J. his time at age 6 coming down with Viral Encephalytis and how this V.E. stuck with him, until his passing. Mother intends on passing on to you, the actual speech. You will enjoy it.

    We love you and we miss you.

    Love, Mom and Dad.

  2. Jo says:

    Hi there,
    I have come across your blog whilst doing some research into tembagapura expat living. I have to say it’s been very informative!
    I see you have been here for a year and grocery shopping seems to be your biggest hurdle! It sounds like it would be mine too. I’d love to have a chat with you if you have the time?
    Can you see my email address?
    Thankyou so much,
    Jo 🙂

  3. Dianna Neal Middleton says:

    Thanks for the blog and photos. I lived in TPRA from 1981-1987 and attended school for 6th-8th grade. It was the time of our lives as kids. I have very fond memories and I’m sure your family is making memories that’ll last a lifetime. Thanks again!
    Dianna Neal

    • Kriste Rose says:

      I always enjoy hearing from people who have a history of living here! I have heard great stories about life in Tembagapura in the 80’s. It would have been nice to have more access to the rainforest, including leisurely drives to Timika with picnics along the way. It’s very different today, but still a memorable place to live. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! Kriste

      • Dianna Middleton says:

        Hi! Are you saying you cannot hike to the waterfalls? I know TPRA has changed a lot since I lived there. We really had to do the best we could to stay busy and out of trouble. I wouldn’t trade it for a “normal” childhood and definitely not for today’s media-centric, social media deluge. We had it good. How often do you get to go out to Australia? Thanks for replying!
        Dianna

      • Kriste Rose says:

        Yes, there are a couple of hiking trails (the waterfall trail and the tower trail) that people can hike. However, people can no longer drive their vehicles down to the lowlands (due to past security issues), so the days of seeing Tembagapura beyond the security gates are long gone. Kids still have to do their best and be creative to stay busy. They run into the jungle in groups, but never go far. Australia is still a quick, easy trip. We have been there about four times. Did you go to Australia often when you lived here?

      • Dianna Neal Middleton says:

        Hi Kriste! Could you send me a private email message?

  4. Sue Brock says:

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures. We lived in Tembagapura from 1973-1977, definitely the most memorable years of our lives.

  5. FajarNSyahr says:

    I lived there 1999 to 2006 and it’s nice that someone posts more recent pictures and…with some stories. I should thank you for that.

    I attended the school for native Indonesians and met several friends from MZIS as there were basketball and soccer competitions for both schools back then. I’m not sure there still are.

    • Kriste Rose says:

      Hi! Its always nice to hear from people who once loved here! Yes, there still are integrated sports between YPJ and MZS. In fact, they just finished playing soccer together. They played games every Saturday morning during the last quarter.

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