Life in East Timor

Reply Thu 23 Sep, 2010 10:20 am
A friend who works here in my home town as a maternal child health nurse moved to East Timor with her husband. She's about 50 and works in the Hospital midwifery section.
I thought you might be interested in life and conditions in Same (Pronounced Sarmay)
I have some photos and other letters somewhere I'll post em if I find them

Hi All just a little update on life in Same

Well I,ve gotten quite used to goats and pigs being hog tied and hanging off the side of trucks and buses and I dont seem to take any notice anymore at the bleaking and squealing. The chickens and roosters continue to wander and crow and the waking sounds of the morning are filled with crowing roosters and chickens and noisy noisy Kids.They Kids are like the Rats they are always there,night and day. You cant work out of the house or go to work without kids being there and asking all the time for Photo, photo or $1 Mister. Mostly they are Ok but some off the pre adolescent boys can be a pain, very naughty at times and a bit full of themselves.

I am still amazed at the roosters that are carried around by the men to go to the market to go to the Cock fights,they crow as they are being carried and seemed very loved and happy,while they are winning its Ok ,but if they lose they are swung around and there head is bashed on the ground and they are Killed (Mate is Tetun for Dead.)

Its amazing how you get used to certain Timores Phrases,Siedauk,Not yet, La Iha, dont have, La Hatene Dont know, Dala Ruma Maybe, Hotu Finished and of course Ba Nebee,where are you going. It has become reflex now to understand and say a few phrases.

Work is ok ,frustrating at times as the Timorese work quiet differently to the Oz culture, they do a lot of sitting around and talking and shopping if a vendor walks past the Hospital,they all disappear to go and buy Bananasos Pig.ect.The vendor rocks up with a hession bag wth chunks of pig and then proceeds to display it on the pavement ,laying it out with care on the dirty bloody hession bag and everyone picks pieces up to have a look and decides if they will buy.The other day at work the staff said to me they were going down the road to buy Cow as someone had just killed one,they said they would be back in 5 minutes and half an hour later they came back.
If someone is in labour they usually only go in when the delivery is imminent, and if the patientt wants to walk around or squat the staff get very angry with them, so I,m still working on the Active labour thing.

I went to a home birth at Betano and on the way the Ambulance stopped at the local market for the midwife and himself to buy some vegetables and eggs ect,then we continued on and stopped to chat to some relatives of the nurse,then finally to the Home.It was a traditional palm leaf hut that you had to climb into,with a low roof,we delivered the baby all good. Then the guys were served coffee and cigarettes and the midwife told the owner she wanted a huge bunch of bananas from the tree and off we went to Same.

The rain has continued and we have no water still at the Hospital and yesterday the tap outside stopped, no one seems to bothered except me.

The other day I was sick of the dirty labour ward as the cleaning just dissapears to talk or sleep and the Midwife and I clened it so at least It has had a good clean now.

We had to take a Pt to Maubisse last week and the Tour De Timor was on and they had the road blocked and told us and about 10 trucks and 10 4wh drives they would have to wait.The woman was bleeding and was a threatened abortion, so I asked the midwife and Ambo driver to come with me to ask the PNTL local police to let us go thru.Well that was like pulling teeth,they are so terrified of authority, it took me all my patience to just explain to them that in and emergency if you follow the correct proceedure you can have things changed.
Well even the Local PNTL guy was adiment that he had orders from Dili not to let any one thru and that was that. So I phoned the UNPOL (United Nations police) and after much discussion we were allowed to go, but in saying that, the Local Policeman was still scared as were the staff I was with. I guess after nearl 500 years of voilent history Authority still needs to have some barriers broken down.

The roads are still terrible and some parts the underside of the bitumen is eroding away and the road on the hairpin bends is only wide enough for 1 car.The rain continues and I,m not sure what happened to the dry season
The roads would be a lot better if they ever cleaned out the drains,but as it is they let them fill up with landslides and rocks and rubbish and trees and vegetation,its a real shame.The infastructure is so important to Health and education and commerce and peoples livelhood.

Same has been very busy with Helicopters the last week or so as the Oz Army is in town for a week or so, just driving around mostly, I spoke to few few of them and they said they are sent from Dili to Regional areas to get out of Dili and Camp Phoenix.

Time is marching on and it appaers thet Stans job will finish around Christmas time so we will be heading home I think unless he decides to stay for a while longer
The sun is out today and it is very hot and humid but I guess it will just get hotter.
Well Thats about it hope everyone is well and happy and the weather is improving in Victoria after all the rain
Hugs Jenny
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Reply Thu 23 Sep, 2010 10:22 am
Thanks, Boss. I get news about Timor from the overnight ABC English language service, if i'm up at that time of the night. There was a good program last week about some kids from . . . damn, it wasn't Sidney and now i can't remember what city they were from--but they were building a school in the hills above Dili.

So anyway, we just don't get news about Timor here in North America, so i appreciate you posting this.
Reply Thu 23 Sep, 2010 10:32 am
Best damn coffee you ever tasted comes from Ven. there is a group here called Friends of Venilali that assist with marketing.

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Reply Thu 23 Sep, 2010 10:34 am
Heres some photos. more at this link





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Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2010 07:19 am
A friends Of Venilala vid.
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Reply Mon 10 Oct, 2011 05:08 am
So anyway, we just don't get news about Timor here in North America, so i appreciate you posting this.

Gee, no news about Timor, Setanta - I wonder why. I thought that you were the great cataloger of US "excesses".

Given what happened in Timor, I think that it's exceedingly odd that this is the only thread that comes up with a tag search of "East Timor".

Thirty Years After the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor, Will the U.S. Be Held Accountable for its Role in the Slaughter?

Thirty years ago today, on December 7 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. Over 200,000 East Timorese lost their lives in one of the worst genocides of the 20th century. A recently-completed East Timorese commission of inquiry into human rights abuses during the occupation makes use of extensive documents that show the US government knew in advance of the invasion and worked behind the scenes to hide it from public scrutiny. The East Timorese government has asked parliament to withhold the report. We speak with East Timor’s ambassador to the UN and the US, and a professor at the National Security Archive. [includes rush transcript]

Thirty years ago today, on December 7 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. This began a brutal occupation that lasted almost a quarter of a century and led to the deaths of over 200,000 people. Even the C.I.A. has described it as one of the worst mass-murders of the 20th century.

Indonesia invaded East Timor almost entirely with U.S-made weapons and equipment. Newly released documents by the National Security Archive show the U.S government knew this and explicitly approved of the invasion. The formerly classified documents show how multiple U.S administrations concealed information on the invasion in order to continue selling weapons to Indonesia.

The documents show US officials were aware of the invasion plans nearly a year in advance. They reveal that in 1977 the Carter Administration blocked declassification of a cable transcribing President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto on December 6, 1975 in which they explicitly approved of the invasion.

The National Security Archive handed over the documents to an East Timorese commission of inquiry into human rights abuses that occurred between 1975 and 1999. Last week East Timor President Xanana Gusmao gave the commission’s report to the Timorese Parliament but wanted it withheld from the public. Opposition politicians and human rights activists have called for the documents to be made public.

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