Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Samantha, the Bank Manager and Employment Consultant

I gave my third loan this morning to a colleague who had only just paid me back for a loan I gave her last month. She turned up on my doorstep late Monday afternoon, not long after I had returned from Liquisa. She was the first Timorese person (apart from our family) to visit me at home. I was shocked to see her!

She wanted to ask me for a job and a loan of some money, she thought it best to come visit me at home. We live in the same part of town although she lives across the other side of the major road so I was perplexed to know how she managed to find my house but then I thought, silly me! all she had to do was ask anyone in the neighbourhood where the “malae” live and they can all tell her (there is no anonymity here).

This loan is to pay for a hospital bill as her two and half year old son has broken his leg and will be in hospital for a month. My colleague wanted him to have a better room for the first couple of nights as he will have to spend his entire time in a crowded ward of men, women and children. She also told me that her mother blamed her for the incident because she did not go to church enough and pray! (This is quite a common response to tragic events: blame another person (always a close (female) family member) for their lack of religious piety.) So I thought, well, I completely disagree with her mother’s apportioning of blame and it’s for a good cause so I handed over my money to her.

My colleague’s contract comes to an end on 31 December (see previous post What keeps you in Timor?), so she wants me to help her find a new job. The irony is, she expressed concern about finding a new position because of the nepotism that goes on in Timor, but she did not draw a link to the fact that she was asking me to use my connections (in effect nepotism) to get her a job! Moreover, she holds me in too high regard, I have no connections!

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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