Be warned: a very long post ahead…just a daily record of what I have jotted down during my trip to East Timor
Only 3 hours of sleep due to last minute packing! Sleepy yet psyched up for the trip! Reached the airport. Went to Burger King where Mich supposedly was but couldn’t find anyone I could recognize. Turns out that I was at the wrong terminal!!!
Sigh…this was just the start of me being clown of the day…let me tell you why….
- Grace (one of my team members) laughed her head off when I put ‘Pasport Malaysia’ as my passport name when it should be Aurelia Ong…
- I sat next to Pastor Benny Ho and didn’t recognize him at first. Instead I asked, ‘Are you from COOS (my church)?’. Feel so embarrased just thinking about it and he being one of my fave speakers doesn’t help either.
-And yet another nickname (Samson) due to my ‘incredible strength’. Broke one side of the cupboard *oops* and fixed the tv by banging at the side of it :P
Enuff about me…
East Timor is absolutely gorgeous. On the plane before we landed in Dili, we could see green lush mountains and blue seas! (But this pic is actually from the plane back to Sg :P)
And even more green mountains and blue seas after we have landed!
Day 2 was the tour day around Dili (the capital of ET). We first went on an arduous climb up to the Jesus statue (well, not so difficult for me since I get my training from climbing up to dear King Edward 7 Hall!!). Our next destination was Tasi Tolu (a lake which beauty masks its scars and wounds), then Arte Morris (a non-profitable art school cum gallery). We also visited an orphanage and later in the evening a village named Alecrin.
From the walk up (over 700 steps) to the Jesus statue…
Beside the steps leading to the statue, there were engravings on something which looks like copper which tell of our Saviour’s road to Calvary…
and a few more…until His resurrection!
The hills are alive…with the sound of music…
One of our modes of transportation- the ‘Angguna’ (not your typical SBS or Trans island buses)
From the pamphlet that we were given:
“Tasi Tolu would be the setting of ET’s ghost stories, if there was such a publication. It’s believed that this is where mass graves are located. Till today, few Timorese dare to venture into the area, because they believe it’s haunted. This may be just a body of water according to your physical eyes, but this place has been associated with violence and death….Interestingly, ET’s independence ceremony was held in Tasi Tolu. Dignitaries who attended the ceremony included UN Chief Kofi Annan, former President of the US, Bill Clinton, and more significantlym former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. (For those who don’t know about ET’s struggle for independence from Indonesia…click here) ….”
Beauty for Ugliness,
Love for Hatred,
the Sweet for the Bitter,
Courage for Fear,
Strength for Weakness,
Pride for Disgrace,
and Hope! For not all have been Lost.
Many paintings were of pain and confusion. Like this one-
Sometimes, I wonder how it feels like…not having parents.
Don’t take your parents for granted. Love them, obey them, make them proud! These kids don’t even have parents or are separated from them due to financial circumstances.
Look into their eyes and they will tell you- love me, hold me, care about me…
One of the first few thoughts running through my mind after a local asked me in Bahasa “Why are you all here?”
-Are we treating these people like a poster painting or specimen? To observe them from afar without really getting to know them, without giving any real help?
After chatting with this local, I got to know that her husband was working abroad and they have not seen each other for 3 or more years! Then I thought about the question she asked…It is as if she was saying “even if you all are here to give us food, you cannot help bring my husband and the father of my children back.”
Song and dance by the Timorese gals-
Day 3 a day travelling from Dili the capital to Maliana (one of the villages in Bobonaro-the district)
Not only the lives of the East Timorese were taken away from them but foreigners as well…
And again..while talking to another local, he mentioned with tears in his eyes about how his father was not around when he grew up.
Children we played with
If only there were pictures to show you the toilets and water we had to use while we were at Maliana.
There was no flush system and no running tap water! There wasn’t even electricity after about 11pm as electricity was run on a generator and in the night, the streets are pitch dark with no street lights or even lights from the houses.
Anyway…we went to a school called ‘Beremano Memo’ i think which was very near the border between West Timor and East Timor. And there were only 9 teachers for over 400 students! Teachers or teachers to be! There would be a mission trip to East Timor middle of this year..what are yall waiting for?
The journey to suco memo
The name of the school
Getting curious stares and smiles from the children
Saying our goodbyes…till we meet again?
Off we headed to the ‘Youth Centre’ which was not operating anymore for our lunch. Delicious food again! These ppl can really cook! After our lunch, we played with the children who were living nearby. And oh boy, did I feel like a kid again :P Hmm..no pic but some of these children created their own version of a chapteh (a small weight with some feathers on top which you try to bounce by kicking it with your legs) by taking some weeds and tying them with a rubberband!
Visited the market in the morning. It was a Saturday and markets were only on Saturdays and Tuesdays i think…
One of the shops owned by a Chinese! They are everywhere i tell you- these chinese :P
Meeting with the ‘chefe’ eldear’ aka Village Chief!
We met one of Maliana’s village chiefs and turns out that he was actually from Kalimantan, Indonesia! hmm…
He brought us to his village on foot! But it was one of my best walks ever! If there was such a thing :P
This village was very near a water irrigation system and here is the translation (erm, not sure whether its correct) of the plaque below- “With the blessing of the Most High God, this water irrigation system has been made official by the Young Minister of National Development, Head representative of Bappenas.”
The village chief is in black furthest left
And we walked
And we climbed
And finally we have arrived at the top to look at this
Today is Sunday which means Church! Erm..actually since I go for Sat’s service in Sg…
We went to a Catholic Church. The ETimorese are predominantly Catholic due to the Portugese rule in past years. The whole service was in Tetum (main languages besides Portugese) and sat next to Apolli, one of the interpretors and he translated parts of the sermon to me :P And boy was it funny and interesting! For example:
-women should go to church. If not, men would have no incentive to go to church. (What is this la…wrong reasons then!)
-Should spend less money on cigs and booze. Give your money to God. No the money is not going to me (the priest).
-You youths should not drink but study hard in order to develop ET. You are ET’s future!
These guys do not get paid for giving out news to Maliana! And yet they are doing it…
This was to mark the end of our stay at Maliana. We performed for each other and exchanged tokens of appreciation :)
Back to Dili
To the airplane
Our arrival at Singapore
This is my team! The people I have bonded with in such a short span of time :)
Many goats around :)
The house where we stayed in Maliana
Better not mess around with me :P
Group photo (one of the rare ones with Pastor Bee in it)
Sometimes, all we need is to be deprived from something in order to treasure it even more when we finally have it .
Do we really mean it when we sing “All I ever need is You, my Beginning, my Forever.”? How can I truly differentiate my want and my need?