Good Friday in Timor.
Like in Aust nothing is open and there is very little people around in the streets, we were supposed to go to church with a group of local boys that we met, but we think they must have gone without us, some sort of miscommunication I'm sure, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are pretty much the most important days to the timorese, with about 90% of the population being catholic.
I haven't done much for the last couple days, yesterday was spent mostly at home, last night we were invited around for a BBQ at our neighbors, they are expats who have been living and working in Dili for about 2 years each. Monty runs an English language school, and Kat works in some sort of teaching and development role, heading out into communities and teaching them skills to help their families and communities
be more self sufficient and be able to support themselves etc. they have been so nice to us. Rich (our other contact) left for Australia on Wednesday so they have been there to help if need be, which included feeding us 2 nights in a row. Kat has flown to Bali for the Easter break, and Monty has take a couple of his friends who are over from Perth hiking up one of the many mountains for the weekend..
Yesterday Mat went out in the morning to one of the doctors clinics in Dili, to meet with "Doctor Dan' who we have figured to be a bit of a celebrity of sorts. everyone seems to know him. Google this man, he is amazing, the work he does with the resources he has is ridiculous.
This morning i went with Mat to Doctor Dan's, we followed him while he checked on patients, there was one lady pregnant with twins, who has some sort of heart defect which means she probably wont survive childbirth, she is also so malnourished her thighs would be about the same size as my arms. there was another lady who was sitting with her 2 kids, they had tested for Malaria and Hep A/B and were treating for TB, they were close to 2 months old and only weighed 6 kilos, and they had been there for a month and still couldn't make them gain any weight, the next test was to be for HIV, it is absolutely devastating to see this. Talking to Dr Dan, he says the most common things he treats, are infectious diseases, which is most other countries are not problem, they become much worse here because of the close proximity of houses and also the amount of people in each house as well as poor nutrition and sanitation. these can include things as simple as a cold, yet here it develops and becomes much worse because the nutrition isn't very good and the lack of basic medications. He was telling us today that he has recently had to smuggle drugs in through the Singaporean Mafia with the help of the PM's wife, for his patients, these same malaria meds cost about $10 and are readily available in Australia. I really wish there was something more i could do.
Mat is wanting to do a story on womens issues in Timor, at this clinic they have a program that is training Timorese midwives as well as nurses. he is most probably going to go out to the districts with one of the travelling clinics, where they go to the smallest villages to treat anyone unwell, as travel here can be quite difficult, especially for those living in the mountains. the Timorese are amazing people, the amount of shit they have dealt with and continue to deal with everyday is insurmountable, yet they are always smiling and are so incredibly patient.
today while wandering the streets of Dili, we came across a Tais Market, Tais being the traditional woven cloth of the timorese, it is all hand woven exclusively by women. These cloths come in so so many different patterns, shapes and sizes, they are so intricately designed and you don't very often see the same patterns recurring. like many things here they seemed to have a local price and a malae price, we don't mind paying a little more but sometimes they are just making fools of us. there isn't much of a bargaining culture here, though at this market, i said no to one lady and she asked how much i wanted to pay, so we haggled a bit, i felt bad haggling too much, i think she was happy withe the price in the end.
the weather today is super hot, and quite high humidity, im struggling the most since we have been here..