David N. Sanders
Set in the early 1970s, The Valley of Hope follows a group of expatriates, predominately Americans and Australians, who are engaged at the forefront of Indonesia's ambitious quest for petroleum riches. They work for the Indonesian company NUKI-Nusa Udara Kisaran Indonesia (Island Helicopters Indonesia)-the largest helicopter operator in Indonesia. It operates a fleet of venerable Huey helicopters of Vietnam War fame-the same helicopter that is being featured daily, along with body-counts from the war, on prime-time TV. For the multitude of oil field workers and support personnel manning the rigs in the interior of Borneo, the Huey is their only link to civilization and perhaps their only chance for survival if they became injured or afflicted with illness. The Huey is both life and death. Due to the rigorous demands on both the flight crews and the aircraft, accidents are a frequent occurrence. Most NUKI employees approach life with a lighthearted attitude and strive do everything possible to make their existence in Indonesia more enjoyable. Even so, some of them are in the process of coming to terms with the traumas of their wartime experiences, while others are dealing with relationship problems. The Valley of Hope provides glimpses of Indonesian customs and culture that help to explain how decades of endemic corruption have resulted in the turmoil and political instability that is shattering Indonesia today.