Saturday, December 03, 2005

Brief moments of serenity

Yesterday I attended my second district training with my team. It was part of my NGO’s contribution to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence which runs from 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). This training was again in Ermera but in a little “suku” (village) of 1300 odd people called Matata in the subdistrict of Railaku. It is located about 45 km south west of Dili, and takes about one and a half hours to get there thanks to the road conditions. About 5 to 10km out from Matata, we turned off the main road on to a very small narrow windy road that was a combination of paved and washed away segments. This was definitely 4WD territory. The drive up was really pretty as everything was green and lush thanks to the recent monsoon rains. The road was bordered by beautiful colourful flowers, the sight of which lifted my spirits considerably. Then I spotted my first two colourful parrots in Timor (similar to the ones we have in Australia); and as we approached the centre of the village, I caught sight of a brown eagle/hawk with a white neck and head flying overhead. When I got out of the car, I noticed immediately the cool fresh air and the fact that there were no mosquitoes (but there were lots of flies). I didn’t notice a single drop of perspiration all day. What bliss. My Timorese colleagues of course were complaining about how cold it was while I was professing my contentment.

In attendance were nearly 100 people, unfortunately 90% were men and therefore they chained smoked really strong pure Timorese tobacco from 10:30am until we left at 4pm. We were sitting outside; my team were placed on the veranda of the local (medical) clinic, and the villagers under tarpaulins. The wind was blowing towards us so all the cigarette smoke ended up in my nostrils and lungs and by the end of the day I had a massive headache. There’s always something to spoil my brief moments of serenity in Timor.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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