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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Dili, East Timor

Dec 15, 2016 - End of Dili diaries

December in Dili, 2016 School finished at the end of November so the streets are filled with kids. Many houses in our lane do not have television, so I am assuming that there are no computers and computer games, DVDs, or internet, so no ipads or iphones. No play stations or whatever it is that entertains children in Australia. Dozens of kids play out in the street til it gets dark. A popular game at the moment is throwing crackers at each other. Luckily, the crackers are small. The boys have made bats out of rolled up cardboard tied...

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Nov 20, 2016 - November in Dili

November in Dili Amazing what a bit of time off work and a bit of luxury will do. It took a while but by the end of my Bali holiday, I am almost back to normal. Being out in the districts has been very hard. The roads are terrible and driving for hours is unpleasant, but staying in a village with no one to talk to from 12 o’clock on each day was the worst. There was often no phone or internet service, no shops or restaurants and absolutely no luxuries. As the main village was only 1 ½ hours from Dili, the driver and my Timorese counterpart...

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Nov 20, 2016 - October in Dili

October 2016 3 Oct – 22 Oct I am completely out of sync with my journal entries. I have not been well and my virus gave me Bell’s Palsy. I was off work for three weeks and felt like a feeble old lady. I also took time off to go to Darwin, went to the physio and spent a lot of time just relaxing. Cindy and Brit came up from the Gold Coast and we had fun shopping, eating, walking and visiting markets. I really did relax and we spent a lot of time by the pool. The Bell’s is not permanent and my face is finally getting back to normal. A bit...

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Oct 19, 2016 - Week 11

Week 11 and 12 19 Sept – 25 Sept Coming back from the districts last week, we went along the road with a view of the harbour. The scenery is much better and it was quite late in the day so there was a sunset. Bad move! The road goes along the mountain and there had been a landslide. It looked for a moment that we would be cut off. Luckily we were in a 4WD and we managed to negotiate the steep, rocky, almost non-existent road. No signs, no flag wavers, nothing stop anybody trying to go on a road that clearly was not going to last the...

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Sep 22, 2016 - Week 10

Week 10 12 Sept – 18 Sept We had a long weekend for a Muslim holiday, strange since the country is officially Catholic. We made it even longer and took an extra day off and a group of us headed to Jaco Island, the most eastern point of Timor-Leste. We left on Friday and our first stop was Baucau. There is a wonderful swimming pool which is spring fed. It has a high diving board and I was very keen to have a go. Sadly it closed at 4pm. We spent the night at the Cannossian Madres for $10 a night each. It is run by Sister Aurora who is from...

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Sep 22, 2016 - Week 9

Week 9 5 Sept – 11 Sept School visits this week have been interesting. One of the schools is three hours from Dili, through the mountains and across a dry river. The river bed has become the road as there has been no water since the rainy season. Not possible to visit in the wet. The lesson I observed was terrible, no planning, no preparation, lots of work to copy from the blackboard, nothing creative or even mildly interesting for the Grades 1 and 2 students. The teacher had her young son with her being a little noisy and then a dog...

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Sep 22, 2016 - Week 8

Week 8 in Dili 29 August – 3 Sept This week has been very trying and tiring. We are finding out about the importance of communication and logistics in a project such as ours. Example, I drove for five hours to get to Natabora in the south to observe some schools with the girls who are my accompaniers in the district. Day 1 was fine. Day 2, I turned up at school to meet the girls after 1 ½ hours driving, only to find that they weren’t there. Our boss had told them they had to go to the Municipal Office to pick up their pay. Three hours away....

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Sep 22, 2016 - Week 6 and 7

Week 6 and 7 in Dili 15 – 28 August Another trip into the district of Manatutu. It is a huge area and takes hours driving over incredibly rough roads to get anywhere. On our first day we drove for three hours and when we got to the school there were no classes. This happens a lot. The Grades 3 and 4 teachers from all the schools in this cluster were having professional development for the new curriculum. The other teachers in the school were there but no students. There is no way to communicate with the teachers in the school as there is no...

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Aug 28, 2016 - Week 5 and 6 in Dii

Week 6 and 7 in Dili 15 – 28 August Another trip into the district of Manatutu. It is a huge area and takes hours driving over incredibly rough roads to get anywhere. On our first day we drove for three hours and when we got to the school there were no classes. This happens a lot. The Grades 3 and 4 teachers from all the schools in this cluster were having professional development for the new curriculum. The other teachers in the school were there but no students. There is no way to communicate with the teachers in the school as there is no...

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Aug 14, 2016 - Week 5 in Dili

Week 5 in Dili 8 – 14 August It is exhausting here. Between the heat and the endless explanations of very simple things it is very tiring. So far, work has been very frustrating. There is no such thing as giving an answer quickly and in simple terms, using key words or making a point…….it is all very long explanations with lots of intricate details. People love to go over and over the same points, usually they go right back to the beginning of something and repeat it. I have worked out that this is often the tactic used when they don’t know...

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Aug 7, 2016 - Week 4 in Dili

Week 4 in Dili 1 – 7 August I am on a program which is a collaboration between DFAT and the Timor Leste Ministry of Education, training Timorese teachers as mentors. Our group of International Mentors will be going into the districts with the National Mentors and Accompaniers who are all Timorese. The MoE has developed a new curriculum and our task is to train mentors and accompaniers, who live in the remote districts, to observe classes and provide feedback to teachers. Our job is made harder because we don’t speak the language and not...

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Jul 31, 2016 - Week 3 in Dili

Week 3 24 – 31 July Rachel is heading home in another week so we spent the weekend on Atauro Island off the coast of Timor-Leste. Apparently, a favoured spot for the local ex-pats. There is an eco-lodge there, Barry’s Place. Because Australian Volunteers International is responsible for our project, I have to follow their rules. This means I had to take the water taxi which cost $45 and takes 1 ½ hours instead of the Dragon Boat which costs $10 and takes 50 minutes. The Dragon Boat does have another name – the death capsule, which is...

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