01.04.2012 - 05.04.2012
Well by George I think you can as I am gradually finding out. The weeks are rolling on now which I suppose is indicative of being busy given that I have a bit of a routine going with doing a report. Last Monday was a great success as I ran a workshop at the East Timor Development Agency for staff to project out in order to draw up a five year development plan. It was a most interesting exercise given that I could not understand that much Tetum. Palmira the Director interpreted for me and it was great to see the enthusiasm of the staff as they were broken up into groups to consider the challenges of the future. Yeah something worked.
Anyone who runs any workshops knows that the biggest challenge is converting ideas to actual plans. Nothing like a SMART goal – specific, measurable, articulated, reasonable with a time frame. Need help – contact Aspirations Life Coaching. I used to call my B&B Aspirations Accommodation but abbreviated it really didn’t sound too good. And so welcome to AA and enjoy your weekend. Mmmmmmm – don’t think so. Now it is Aspirations Studio Accommodation.
Gloria, Gloria where art though young Gloria? I made another trip up to the university to see if I could meet her. Usual trouble with taxi drivers wanting more money as it is too far even though the price has been agreed. Anyway the thing is just not to pay. So I arrived and this time at least they had heard of Gloria but she was away for a week. That night I also received a phone from a priest (who is from the same village as Gloria) making contact with me and telling me she had changed her phone number again. Father Antonio was travelling back to Zumalai for Easter but would be back in Dili next week and we could meet up then. Halieluah.
I can tell I am becoming more of a local when I tell the drivers what directions to go although some of them I am telling where to go. Another tip in Dili. Never sit in the front with a taxi driver even though the back seat may have people in it as they will get out and then you are stuck. I know where the male genitals reside and I don’t need my hand to be grabbed as proof that it exists. Just wait for a taxi with no-one else in the taxi so you can have the whole of the back seat to yourself.
That night I was sitting having a few drinks with my mates here (it is great as I feel like a little groupie hanging out with them) and we got talking about my passport and visa issues. After much discussion I decided to hightail it to the Australian Embassy the next morning to see what could be done to retrieve my passport. It is the first time in 29 years of overseas travel that my life support has been taken away.
I arrived unannounced the next morning and met the Australian Defence Attache who was also one of the students who studied under Sandi, my Tetum teacher at the Military School of Languages, in Victoria. It would appear that Mark and I joined the army in the same year. Mark and his offsider Marcus were very helpful and it was reassuring to know that I had done the right thing after all in giving over my passport although five days was the usual time to leave the passport but with Easter the Immigration Dept didn’t want to have to work too hard.
Coming to East Timor for a while- I would strongly recommend anyone coming over to East Timor to register at the Australian Embassy. They keep all NOK contact details and can notify you of any issues. What was even more amazing was that I ended up meeting the wife of the rotary contact here who signed my paper work for my rotary project . I didn’t realise she works at the Embassy. Hello, I felt like being Pauline Hanson and say “please explain” why this wasn’t mentioned to me on arrival...... ah yes, caring and sharing I think it is called. I think there is a name for people like that.
It was a very worthwhile visit. There are so many scenarios you hear about with people having problems with extension of visas . Some say just leave the country and come back in. Well after all it is only $300 return to Bali. Wrong. Depending on how long you have been out of the country you may still not be able to re-enter until the appropriate paperwork has passed through Immigration. Some say just pay the fine on departure from the airport. Wrong. It is not just a matter of paying a fine as again the appropriate paperwork has to be filled out so that could cause you to loose your flight as well. I believe the fine is about $150 a month + loss of airfare.
Last night was a great night out at my favourite Portuguese restaurant with some friends. Fresh fish, salsa, Portuguese rice which is like tomatoe cooked with the rice, chips, potatoes... nummy. Dining alfresco is my favourite way to dine and with not a skeric of wind it was fantastic. No mossies and no taxi drivers where even a bigger bonus.
I had a phone call last week from someone via rotary who needs to practice his English prior to doing some testing for a scholarship. Sunday afternoon he came around and I also had a couple of the girls from the College where I have been teaching at for extra practice. It all went well for two hours and then he was supposed to come back Monday at 5pm and never showed. So I had a phone call from someone ringing on his behalf on Tuesday and I said I would give him two hours from 5pm to 7pm Wednesday night. Once again no show. Natalino works at a clinic not far from here for Dr Dan Murphy.
I haven't had luck teaching this guy from Dr Dans. I ended up ringing his mobile the voice answering wasn't his and I asked to speak to Natalino as I was waiting to give him an English class. The person answering was Dr Dan himself and he said he didn't need any English classes as he could speak English. I said to Dr Dan I know he doesn't need English classes and he was very well known in Australia and my sister and mother went to the fund raising dinner for the clinic in Wollongong . He said he heard it went well but the phone I was ringing on was actually his phone. Long story short apparently a lot of people use the phone and it would appear that Natalino doesn't have his own. Dr Dan had never heard of him but would try and track him down. I felt like saying to Dr Dan that I love Dan Murphys but he might have taken it the wrong way. Sometimes foot in mouth comes easy to me. As my mother said his namesake should provide a bit of financial backing for his fundraising for the clinic.
Great day today doing lots of walking and it is a public holiday here so.... no work. Tonight a few of us are gathering to farewell someone from work and then at this stage I’m off up the mountains for the next three days with a group although the girl organising everything still hasn’t made contact so I won’t pack my bags just yet.
Do I get to go to the mountains or don’t I.... stay tuned for the next update.