19.03.2012 - 20.03.2012
It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m sitting in my room just having returned from having lunch down on the waterfront with one of my Rotary colleagues. I mentioned Marie in a previous entry as she provided a presentation at my first rotary meeting on International Woman’s Day. Marie is very much into meditation so overall it was an interesting conversation talking about both our aspirations. I had a bit of a blonde day as I was actually sitting and waiting in the wrong restaurant but that is fine as the one where we were supposed to meet at was across the road. It was interesting about listening to her possible future plans of building a couple of small residences on their property near Tamborine Mountain. Having lived in Canungra for almost three years I could quite easily relate to the area.
So here I sit looking at my big red Disney bag that my clothes are taken and washed and returned for the day, listening to Elvis Presley in the background (wooden heart) thinking how fortunate I am to be meeting so many different people and enjoying the time away from Jamberoo.
The journey to-date has not gone as expected but there again I don’t think that is possible in a latin based country. Last week there were no English classes due to exams and elections but I was told classes started back yesterday. When I went to the college ready to teach again yesterday I was informed that exams and preparations were continuing again this week and from there the school holidays start.
..................................................... deep breath............................deep breath.
I felt a bit divided about things sf(x)=a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞▒(a_n cos〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin〖nπx/L〗 ) but it doesn’t take me long to still appreciate this opportunity to really experience life as it really is here.
It is obvious that individuals don’t realise the cost and implications of coming away for two months with a certain objective in mind. Anyway there is a group of girls that live in at the school ranging in age from 12 to 18 so I have three hours with them today and tomorrow to practice English. I phoned my rotary colleague here who I was going to start with the following week to see if I could start earlier with him, doing anything. I am quite happy to even help unload the containers coming in for rotary projects having my fork lift driver’s licence. I managed to convince my boss prior to discharging from the ARA that having a forklift driver’s licence would hold me in good stead at some stage in my future (you should have seen the look on his face but he signed the paperwork anyway). I also rang my other contact, who runs English courses, to see if I could help her given that I can also do powerpoint presentations or update any info that is required. I am waiting to hear.
On the bright side I can’t complain about the social side. Last night I was invited to drinks aboard one of the most beautiful vessels I have been in. John and Tracey are taking it back to the Gold Coast for the owners. They have been sailing the seas for about the last 30 years and were with another couple from Broome who have travelled with them previously. It was such a short few hours without getting into many of their adventures but what a life. Rob runs a number of businesses here in East Timor and he helped them out with a refuelling issue so it was great to join in on the invitation.
From there it was off to a Portuguese restaurant to meet Naimi (a UN volunteer from the UK) and Miguel (who is an Airforce Officer from Portugal). Naimi and I hit it off as if we had known each other for years. The company, food and wine were fantastic.
The teaching at the College tonight was great and yet with some sadness. I took along some party hats that we had used to celebrate our 107th birthday at rotary and used them as a tool in which to teach. Angela from the Club suggested that I take them over to Dili as no doubt they would be appreciated somewhere along the line (great idea Angela). The girls enjoyed the change of teaching tact but in the process I started talking about breakfast and having them repeat back when they ate breakfast. The teacher informed me that the girls don't get breakfast and they have to wait for lunch. I just felt so upset at looking at all their little faces to think they don't get breakfast and then only rice for lunch. Classes are long lasting two hours so we started at 6pm and finished at 8pm. Some of the girls there don't have parents while others are too far from their families to commute on a daily basis and only return home during school holidays.
From there it was onto join them for dinner. Dinner was again based around rice with a chicken curry and chips. Vegetables don't figure too much in their diet. I spoke to Crisna, the Director, as to why they don't eat breakfast. The girls are up at 4am, they get dressed and study for another hour and then they go to church and return in time for the 730am assembly before they commence classes between 8am and 830am. Naturally I couldn't relate to this attitude of kids not having breakfast and expecting them to put in such a morning. I think most people realise the repercussion that children have in terms of lack of concentration and brain development with such a lack of food. A family friend in New Zealand runs a program to ensure children are fed breakfast at school as part of Kiwanis program recognising it. There are no forks in the dining room with the girls only using spoons and some plates needing replacing. I think I know where that $100 donation from my friends will be going. Generally it's 9pm and lights out for the girls ready for their 4am wake up call.
It was such a delight to teach this class tonight and I am looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow night.