Today we had guest speakers in our control technology class. They were Rosemary and David. Rosemary was the speaker and David was the helper. They explained about their journey in Timorleste and how the XO was helping the country. They also explained about the social issues about the country.
The first issue they explained to us was about that Timorleste was once a Portugal country but then Portugal left. After that in 1975 Indonesia took over Timorleste and then they pulled out at 1999. There is a port at the bay where all the goods and supplies come in on ships. The world has now nationalised a language for Timorleste. Portugal is a common language in Timorleste but there is also the local language which is Tetun. The word ‘Mallai’ means ‘white people’ in Tetun.
The tourism in Timorleste is undeveloped because they don’t have much tourist sites and most of the sites are small. The Australian Army and the United Nations are stationed in Timorleste to keep peace. The guest speakers were staying with missionaries from Brazil. The Brazilians know the Portuguese language which makes it easier for them to be able to communicate. Deanne, one of the missionaries, was working in a village 20 minutes away from where they were staying. They had a project to collect water from mountains, so that the women didn’t have to go up there and gather the water. The Brazilian missionaries were sent by churches at Brazil.
Mina, who is another missionary, works with children in the morning and afternoons. In Timorleste, school is not compulsory, so a lot of children don’t go to school. The missionaries from Brazil have two children. One of them is an 8 year old boy and the other is a 5 year old girl. The children know three languages: English, Portuguese and Tetun. A lot of the people have no exposure to English, so it’s hard to communicate between foreigner and the locals.
Almost everyone in Timorleste have a scooter. The scooter costs $2.50 U.S dollars to fill up. The currency for Timorleste is U.S dollars because they currently do not have a currency. It is very expensive to fill up the scooters. The country is still improving and developing.
When Rosemary drove past children who were walking to school, she saw the children carrying a 32 page exercise book and a pen. They didn’t have any other stationery with them.
In 2006, there was a terrible outbreak in Timorleste. The people were fighting against each other and the police was also fighting with the army.
The housing in Timorleste is really bad. They live in huts and there is no flooring, heating/cooling and electricity. There is a project which is called the ‘IT Engeo-forum’. This project is made to send out broadband connection to other places in the country. They set up routers which connect to other routers. These resources are helpful because foreigners want to contact home and check resources on the internet.
David teaches the locals how to program phones on the internet. There are 23 people in his class who volunteered to join and learn. The XO has eBooks where you are able to download books from the internet without buying them. The XO is waterproof and has a low power usage. Rosemary and David met up with Syntus, a person who interprets for the Australian Army and 2 other representatives for schools around Timorleste. The missionaries have to teach the teachers how to use the XO before they can teach students.
The churches in Timorleste look like warehouses. The church was open on Sunday and 80-90 people would be there. Syntus was a translator at the church. When Timorleste had an internal revolution where the army was fighting with the police, the Red Cross set up huts near the city and the huts are now being used as homes by the locals.
GreenPC is an organisation that helps children learn how to program computers and fix them. The children are taken to Melbourne for six months and trained. The electricity in Timorleste are turned on at 6:00 pm for 3-6 hours.
Mina is a person who teaches children out of school. She teaches them how to sing, rehearse words, memory verses and lets them use pencils, crayons and paper. She gives them morning tea and makes sure they finish it before the lesson ends because at home their family members might take the food.
There are nuns that run a program to help girls get a job somewhere outside of the city. There is a 40 bedroom and girls from the ages of 12-15 come to learn. The nuns teach hospitality, cooking, book keeping and computer lesson in evening. The girls stay for 9 months and the next lot of girls come to learn.
This has been a good story and it makes me feel how poorly some countries are supported around the world.
Here are pictures which were taken by the missionaries at Timorleste.