Friday, November 30, 2012

Hash run from Timor Coffee Cooperative – Mass exodus of Dili to Same – Agriculture Graduation on Wednesday + celebration – Beach run – ‘Bloodshot’ film + director and familiar faces - UN create website fo/for Timor Leste

Ending Friday 30th November

The Saturday afternoon Hash started for me with a 10minute cycle ride along Comoro road, over the main river bridge (being widened) and then to the Coffee Cooperative compound where we chatted (you’ll see we have members from all around the globe and this was the first time we had someone from Sudan) then off we went, in two groups: walkers and runners. I ran. Tough going, without any cooling breeze and just the ever-present heat and humidity. Naturally the Timorese are fine with the conditions – just a malae problem . At one stop I checked my back pack and found an open pocket…oh dear, another phone gone. Then someone rocked on up 30 seconds later and said “I just found a phone on the road!”. So nice things DO happen occasionally. Photos here:
Me arriving in fourth place and rather rubbed in the chest, :

There was a huge celebration in Same during the week. Same is about a three hour drive to the south. Apparently there was a man who led a rebellion against the Portuguese in 1911 and then surrendered in 1912. It all took place in the Same area. So this was the official 100th anniversary commemorating his fight – I think it parallels the independence struggle against Indonesia. Many people and officials went to Same for three days of festivities. Wednesday 27th was an official public holiday and tied in with the anniversary. The Government also had Thursday as a holiday, while NGOs missed out :-(

My counterpart and his wife graduated with a degrees in agriculture, also on the Wednesday and that area of town was packed with students in gowns and sashes, he and she had a deep bright green colour. Scooters were parked everywhere and the traffic crawled. I had to leave work at 12:30 to get to the presentation ceremony and I was then invited to go back to their parents’ house for a food and drink later. So I was there, near the Cathedral, at 3:30 and introduced to everyone and given a seat up in the porch area. There was a large banner erected on the house wall with carefully cut out letters congratulating the graduates and announcing ’Knowledge is Power’. There were also about 50 other people being friends, relatives and families. Food and drinks were served. Quite a day for everyone. Americo actually won a scholarship to study Agriculture in any of about five different countries including Cuba and Portugal. I asked if he would and he said ‘No’, he was going to stick with computers. I wonder if there was also a challenge with managing two people in a foreign country and the associated costs.

Thursday morning I got Kate to go for a run along the beach past the airport. It is much easier now that someone has cleared away the rusted perimeter fence that had fallen across the route. A difficult and delicate stepping exercise each time. There were ten fishing boats out in the bay; most with a single paddler + nylon net. I hear that because there is no navy nor functioning inshore policing, that foreign ships are helping themselves to the fish off the south coast. There are some larger Zodiac-type craft pulled up on the beach across from the Palacio in Dili central, but I hear they are non-functional due to lack of fuel. If there is another reason, then I shall edit this entry at a later date.

Thursday night was film night at the indoor theatre – the only one I know of in town. The producer of ‘Bloodshot’, Peter Gordon, was there to talk to the sell-out crowd. Three of us had managed to grab some ‘primo’ seats 5 minutes before everyone else had decided to knock back their wine and head on in. This film was a recap of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre film clip + how two of the film crew had stayed in Timor: Kirsty Sword (married Xanana Gusmao) and Max Stahl (made more films). They visited parts of Timor in 2011 and reviewed what had happened since 1991 and 2002. There were some excellent interviews with Timorese affected and impacted in different ways, from ex-fighters to victims, to parents who had lost their children to the violence. Xanana and Ramos Horta also had important things to say. Several people featured in the film were also present in the cinema. One of them was a medical student at the time and met Peter Gordon on a beach in Bali, twice I believe, in 1991. I thought to myself, ‘I know that face!’. After listening and watching I recognised my ‘boss’ from 2006-7 when I worked at Ministerio de Saude (Ministry of Health) when the man, Dr Rui Araujo, was Minister of Health. I said hello afterwards, he remembered me and we exchanged cards.  

Tomorrow I am off to Brisbane for a week of IT training, on a product called ‘Abacus’. Designed especially for microfinance organisations such as ours. Is it possible to get a good coffee in Brisbane?

I just noticed a report released just over an hour ago. It covers a new web site created by the UN of and for Timor Leste. My initial check out is of some really neat photos. I'm sure there is a lot more depth than just photos. Have a look:

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