An interesting yet frustrating day yesterday. I left here at 8.30 to get to the markets where the buses departed to the Hali Laron Markets. I now know why no-one could provide me any information as to when the buses leave. It took about 40 minutes by car bumper de bumper and was dropped off at the markets. Taxis are cheap and it only cost me $2US. I asked the driver where the buses were and to cut a long story short everyone just stands on the road side and waits to see if a bus or micro or anything passes to see if it is going to the place they want to. There is no timetable and nothing on the buses to indicate where it is going and if in fact it will end up at the destination you want. Again it was people hanging out of doors etc and being a four hour trip to Maubisse I wasn't keen to seek that sort of exercise hanging on for so long. Having waited an hour I decided to head back and as I had all day I decided to walk.
I ended up locating a lady who is a friend of my Tetum teacher in Laverton. She and her family fled Timor Leste to Victoria as refugees and Sandi (my Tetum teacher)and Palmira grew up together. Palmira plays an important part in developing education here in East Timor including organising scholarships for students and also assisting orphanages (not really called orphanages now) and Palmira runs the East Timor Development Agency. I spoke with Palmira a while in regards to education with children and then she gave me her mother's address. Actually it turns out quite fortuitous that I didn't get to Maubisse as I was informed that it may have been an issue trying to get back as everyone is vying for transport back to Dili once the elections have finished.
It took me a while to get to Magna's due to miscommunication of direction but I finally found my way and was delighted to have the opportunity of talking with Magna for a while in regards to the assistance that she provides to the children. Sandi asssits in Melbourne by paying for containers of items that would be provde to be useful and Magna helps unload items from the pallets here in Dili with assistance via the Dili Rotary Contact - Daryl Mills.
Magna is a gem making school bags with any material, sewing school uniforms for the children as they can cost $60 a uniform, visits all the children in the different places and in general is a real saint. Unfortunately I didn't have my disc in the camera yesterday so no photos at this stage but no doubt there will be other opportunities. We were supposed to go for a visit today to one of the schools but this has been postponed to another time. I can't help but feel that another Gerringong Sunrise Rotary project providing financial assistance for a few children's education is a good way to go.
I didn't want to overdo my stay with Magna so made my way back to the Timor Plaza to buy a few more books and then back to the Lodge. Heaps of walking yesterday so a bit of study last night looking over my Tetum, sardines and biscuits for dinner (I had a main lunch at a Chinese restaurant for $4 so that was ample) and then an early night. Well apart from that cat mewing all night it would have been a good sleep. This cat has taken a liking to my room and I think it is lucky it hasn't ended up as cat stew.
Due to all the campaigning today the road in front of the lodge is basically on shut down so a chance of just pottering around (for a change) and updating info. Trying to get any info on travel is near impossible as I try and plan a week for the end of Apr. Eco Tours want $250US a day to travel to Maubisse and that is just the driver and car and apart from that three other travel agencies couldn't help either. I said to Mum worst comes to worst we will have to just sit under the tree at a lodge over on an island and make the most of it.
The school where I have been assisting have a complete week off this week with exams and everyone returning to their villages to vote so it is a quiet week. In addition I have found out that school holidays start here 1 Apr for the month so I have organised to assist our Dili Rotary contact here to see what I can do. Like other Latin American countries the trick is just to be flexible (patient).