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Hedda and Ernst


Notes page from The Ecology and Management of Non-Timber Forest Resources. Highlighted passage reads: "The basic text of this report was written over an eight-month period from 1991 to 1992 while the author was in residence in West Kalimantan, Indonesia conducting fieldwork". What isn't explained is that the text was written in the back bedroom of Hedda and Ernst Kuester's house in Pontianak.

Elysa and I had just come back to West Kalimantan after a brief trip to the U.S. so that our first son, Case (see Many Years Ago in Pontianak), could meet his grandparents. When we got back to our house on Jl. Jenderal Urip in Pontianak, we found out that there was no water. It had been a very dry summer and water from the South China Sea was slowly moving up into the Kapuas River, the source of water for the city. To avoid pumping salt water through the pipes - and ruining them- the city opted to turn off the water. Not a promising situation to be in with a nine-month old baby. 

Our German friends, Ernst and Hedda Kuester (shown below with Theo, their adopted Indonesian son), had just moved into a nice new house with a large water tank, air conditioning, two-car garage, and manicured front yard. Ernst was the director of a large GTZ project and his housing allowance was a bit more substantial than mine. Anyway, when they found out that we had no water, they immediately said "Why don't you just move in with us?" We did. And we lived with these dear, gracious people for over a year.  And I wrote my first book in their back bedroom.

[NOTES: Ernst passed away several years ago (sigh); Hedda and Theo are back in Hamburg. Truly an amazing, wonderful time sharing life in Western Borneo with this German couple. My non-timber forest resources book  is currently out of print, but I have posted a copy in the Bibliography section]. 

Reader Comments (4)

Dear Chuck, thanx for writing this down. I am very touched by reading this and reminds me of our good times we shared together there. I mostly loved our cross over x- mas celebrations. American and German culture mixed in this tropical house surrounding. One of my highlights was our puzzle which Elisa received as present from her father. We four adults were sitting for a couple of days around the square small table, eating lots of cookies and tried by finishing the puzzle to figure out the end of a crime story!! Love you guys, still, really do! Thank you!
I still keep one of the NAPAKUMA shirts!!!!!!

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHedda Kuester

Dear Mr Charles,
My name is dino and my father(Adi Sudarmanto) was Mr Ernst and Ms Hedda Best Friend in West Borneo many years ago. They work together in GTZ project.

I was desperately looking for them for many years. Do u mind if i have Ms Hedda Contact or adress in Germany?

That will be so greatfull for me. Thank you :)

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAldino F.P.Sudarmanto

Hello Mr. Charles, I know Hedda since the 80tieth where we met in Greece. Than I saw her
with her husband Ernst in Munich once - but unfortunately we lost each other within the last
10 years.
It would be great to hear of her and perhaps see her again.
Pls pass this and the following address to her knowledge
with my very best greetings and thanks

Renate Vorberg, Rablstrasse 41, 81669 Muenchen
Tel. 0049 89 44 40 94 51 mobile 0049 178 769 91 47

Have passed on your contact information to Hedda. Thanks for visiting "thus i have seen"

July 24, 2015 | Registered Commenter[chuck]

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