Saturday, July 01, 2006

AVI closes its volunteer program in Timor

As expected, given the ongoing political crisis in Timor, Australian Volunteers International has made the decision to close its volunteer program. Thus we are now both officially unemployed.

We are currently in Cairns having returned here a few days ago after (mostly) enjoying our much needed holiday. However, most of the time that we were in the hired campervan enjoying the sights of tropical Far North Queensland it rained, and despite our loathing for Timor's sweltering humidity, we were desperate for some of its sunshine.

Daniel flies to Darwin on Wednesday. From there he will catch a flight to Dili. The NGO where he worked will probably give him a month or two of work and pay him the equivalent volunteer allowance. Once in Timor he will scout around for other work as he would like to continue working there in the short term. If no work can be secured, he will volunteer until his meagre financial resources run out and then return to Melbourne.

I on the other hand am very much relieved to be back in Australia. As some of you would be aware from following the blog, I found living in Timor incredibly difficult and although things were starting to get a little easier, I am not keen to return living there under the present circumstances. (I'm afraid that my mental health would suffer further.) However, I would like to return for a couple of weeks in order to bid farewell to my colleagues and "our" family, as the manner in which we left the country has left us both with many unresolved feelings.

Thus, I will leave Cairns next Saturday and join a small tour on the Savannah Way to Darwin. This four day tour will take me to some of the remotest parts of Australia's outback and after green, green, green and rain, rain, rain I am looking forward to red, gold, orange, blue and desert, desert, desert. The trip includes time in the spectacular Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park .

Once in Darwin, I will consult with Daniel who will have been back in Dili a week, to assess the situation in Timor and if it satisfies my comfort level, I will catch a flight to Dili. I plan on being in Timor no longer than a few weeks, then I will return to Melbourne.
Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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Hi Daniel & Samantha, I read your blog occasionally. It seems that I'm in the same boat as the both of you now. I volunteer with WorldVision but since they are forced to closed down the Youth Training centre(as students are either away in districts or in 'refugee' camps), my volunteer contract had been terminated. I am now in singapore. All the best to the both of you and God bless you.


By Blogger Jason, at 12:13 am  

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