On Tuesday I flew 6 passengers from an NGO called Counterpart International (funded through USAID) to Oecusse, the Timor enclave inside Indonesia, about 50 mins down the coast. Leaving Dili at 8am, I was to wait there and bring them back about 5pm, so I had some time to kill. What to do… what to do…
I gratefully accepted a ride into town with them to see what it was they were doing. It turned out to be some sort of expo where representatives from the villages came to show what they had achieved with funding and to to help them identify potential areas for possible grants. It was good to see, but as it was all in Tetun, I was not able to appreciate it for long, so I kept going. I visited Dominico, a cafe run by local Nuns. The monkeys in the cage nearby were keen to closely inspect my iphone, which I wisely declined.
I then decided to mosey back to the plane, where I met some school students walking home from school. In Timor they have morning school (which runs from 8am-12pm) and afternoon school (1pm-5:30pm) to cater for the large children to teacher ratio. One boy beckoned me to come and visit his house and family, which I did. I was warmly invited to sit with them on their veranda, but communication was difficult without my Tetun language book and dictionary which I left in the plane. So I said I would walk back and get it and come back to speak Tetun with them. After walking about 2kms to the plane and 2kms back in the early afternoon, my first phrase to the family was “Hau hakarak deskansa…” – I need rest. The next two hours consisted of broken Tetun and English as well as meeting 9 of the 11 members of their family. Suffice to say my brain was spent by the end of it, so I decided that getting back to the plane with enough time for a nanna nap before the passengers turned up to fly back to Dili was the prudent thing to do. They hailed a motorcycle taxi for me which cost 50 cents.
The nap was just what the doctor ordered and the rest of the day went without anything to write home about (or blog about for that matter).