Monday, May 15, 2006

(East Timor Problems) Being asked for food

This morning upon commencing the journey from my house to the main road to catch a mikrolete, a middle-aged woman who lives in my neighbourhood was sitting on the ground with some younger women and a number of small children. I greeted her and she did likewise before saying, “ami hamlaha, la iha hahan” (we are hungry, there is no food). I was waiting for what I believed was the next part of her sentence (can you give us some food) but it never came. I just responded deskulpa (sorry) which probably confused her because Timorese do not use sorry in the way that we malae do.

I walked off pissed off for the umpteenth time that the Timorese treat me like I’m an endless source of giving (I’m not!) I was so taken by surprise by her comment that I didn’t have the chance to respond to her in a way I would have liked. If I had I would have said then you need to talk to the Ministry of Labour and Solidarity as they are giving out food to families who fled on the 28 April. I also thought to myself if I didn’t live in her neighbourhood, she would have to find another way to get food, not simply rely on asking the malae for it (if that had been her intention all along)! The issue of overwhelming need and dependency weighs greatly on my mind yet again.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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