A Travellerspoint blog

LESSONS TO BE LEARNT

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Well another Friday night sitting alone yet again pondering life. Funny how one thinks things will be in the country of their desired destination for so long and particularly thinking of being here with Rotary how things would be different. I have always said don't expect anything and then everything else is a bonus.

Posted by prayer49 04:44 Archived in East Timor

THE ESSENCE OF DILI

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There is a gallery down the road from the lodge called the 'Moris Gallery". Moris means 'born' in Tetum. It was such a worthwhile visit with the gallery displaying a real ecclectic selection of arts. The paintings were a marvel both in subject terms and detail, the contemporary works out in the garden played witness to people's imaginations and the variety overall showed the breadth of artistic capability. The paintings are for sale which is quite tempting given some of the reasonable prices. Having pottered in the gallery the next objective was to do a walk through a particular street in Dili recommended from someone I had met. The walk proved to be interesting capturing a part of what I believe is the essence of Dili.

Family life is so important being basically Catholic. Largely there are no computers or gadgets to keep kids entertained and it is so wonderful to see them all hanging out together whether playing soccer, sitting around on chairs or just shooting the breeze everyone is out on the streets and enjoying playing with other children.

There are no people running around eating as they go or trying to get to the next appointment with a coffee in their hands. You hardly see anyone eating full stop and the fact that the dogs and cats are so skinny is testimony to the little food that is around. I did make it to an Indian restaurant for lunch that I have been wanting to go to since I have been here so it was an early lunch at 1100h with a vegetable curry and rice. I never made it down to the Jesus statue due to inclement weather but there is always another day.

Having returned to base I wanted to get back to secure a ticket on the ferry tomorrow to go over to Altauro Island tomorrow. One organisation said I had to be there either at 0800hr Friday or 0800hr Saturday prior to departure to purchase my ticket (that is Eco Tours). On further investigation no it was either 1400hr (2pm) today or 0800hr in the morning. When I went down to buy a ticket there was nothing open which I believe was due to the impending elections tomorrow. I was then advised that the tickets are for sale usually on a Friday but that I had to be there at 0500hr on the Saturday morning to get the ferry. Ho hum ho hum.... So no ticket and I'm not getting up at 0430 in the morning to get a ticket.

At least the afternoon ended on a good note in being driven out to have a look at the east coast of Dili. It was great seeing something different.

The photos of today I believe show the essence of what Dili is about. Wait out for more news on the ferry.

Posted by prayer49 01:14 Archived in East Timor

LESSONS LEARNT

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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).

Posted by prayer49 19:39 Archived in East Timor

BA HO MAROMAK

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I can understand why a lot of people here say "Go with God". I actually think it is to give you patience. My family will tell you I'm not the most patient person around when dealing with arrangements but I am certainly becoming one here. In general terms the East Timorese believe in manyana and manyana never comes. If arrangements are made there is no concept of actually ringing a person to let them know that arrangemens have changed so it is interesting playing the guessing game as to whether something will eventuate or not - most likely not. I suppose a cassic example was that I was asked to turn up at the College at 7.30 on Saturday morning to help wth lessons. When I turned up the teacher who asked me wasn't there and not only that there were not lessons on anyway. When I saw him today I asked him what had happened but he said he changed his mind and decided to go to university instead and even though he had my phone number couldn't ring.

Anyway that was the downside of the day, apart from cancelling plans to meet with a couple that I had met because I was suppose to be doing a long trip in the afternoon. I ended up ringing to find out what was happening and the trip was at that stage just postponed for today. The journey was four hours from here to do with drumming in relation to the elections so today I waited with anticipation to go - which of course never eventuated. However as I said the day did improve significantly with being invited out for sundwoners at the Kaz Bar which is a bar about 15 minutes drive from here overlooking the beach. It was truley a magnificant evening with such a glorious sunset I will always hold it in my memory.

Yesterday morning was also fantastic with a walk to the top of the hill called the Jesus walk. The walk passes several crosses and overlooks Dili proper to the north and south. I thought the walk up the back of Jamberoo was a good one but this was a real test for the knees with the amount of stairs. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I asked for directions to the local bus to go to Maubisse tomorrow and was told lit was around the corner from where I am stayng. Apparently around the corner is a half hour taxi drive on further investigation....mmmmm.

Posted by prayer49 01:31 Archived in East Timor

DILI ROTARY CLUB

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Thursday night was my first attendance at the Rotary Club in Dili. It meets at the Timor Hotel. It is only a relatively small club with 12 in attenance the other night and out of the 12 four of us were visitors. It was a fortuatous night to attend given that it was International Women's Day and the guest speaker, Marie Sardie, spoke of study opportunities for young women. This was particularly relative for me given my sponsorship of a young lady called Gloria who lives up in the hills of Zumalai. Marie was particularly interesting being the Human Resource Development Adviser for the Ministry of Health. I didn't get a great deal of time to discuss issues with the members after the meeting as I was offered a lift by one of the members back to my residence. Given that it is not advisable for a single female to be out by herself of a night I accepted the lift with much graciousness. There doesn't appear to be a lot of obvious unrest on the streets given the impending elections on 15 May 12 although there was a UN vehicle set on fire the other night as a protest against the UN. I also believe there has been a bit of violence in one of the outerlying suburbs. Anyway back to the task at hand. I couldn't help but think how lucky Gerringong Sunrise Rotary members are with the magnificent ambience we have overlooking Werri Beach. I also think it is a terrific idea that Gerringong Sunrise has someone at the door to welcome everyone in so congratulations to whoever thought of that. I hope to make my visits to Dili Rotary a regular Thursday night event.

Posted by prayer49 20:14 Archived in East Timor

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