Archive for the 'Timor-Leste' Category

Published by dlocke on 29 Jul 2018

Progress Report 2018

Boramba kindergarten.

Well what a month Belinda and I have had. We spent 10 days visiting Bei Cala village and area, visiting schools and supporting the network of kindergarten teachers we are building.

Kindergartens in Bei Cala and Boramba and progressing well. Student attendance is up, with it being higher at the beginning of the week. Not much different to home. Thursday is market day and many students go with parents and who doesn’t want a long weekend on Friday. Despite this, I am confident that numbers are slowly building, with around 60 preschool age students having consistent attendance across the wider region.

The Grub Club was able to supply 2 computers purchased through computers4learning a project of Rotary Nundah. One for each kindergarten. While they don’t have internet service they can write programs and keep attendance, it also allows the teachers to build computer skills and gives an opportunity for our teachers to get together and collaborate. While there I held some computer lessons with the help of Paolo Alves. Paolo was invaluable as my tetum is a bit scratchy. We were also able to hand over a few extra resources to both kindergartens.

A big thanks to Juela Da Costa Ramos, Zelia Maria Da Costa and Rosalia Da Costa from Boramba Kindergarten and Baselia da Costa and Sandra Maria Paco-Real from Bei Cala Kindergarten. These ladies are all volunteers and deserve my eternal gratitude.

While there, we also had the opportunity to visit Bobe. Bobe is the site of our third kindergarten. Bobe school is slightly isolated but also part of the Hatu Udo administrative area. The weather had been very mild and rainy, which we thought was going to prevent us from making it to the village, but the day before we left, roads had dried out enough to let us through. Thanks to Amalie, a very experienced driver, we visited and handed over the first down payment for the kindergarten. The kindergarten’s budget is USD$12000, which has to cover everything. This school should be finished within 6 to 8 months.

While there was plenty of rest time, with a visit to the beach at Betano, we also got to visit Suai. Suai is located about 2 hours driving south west. It is by the sea and the location of the new airport (I think there is 1 flight a day). There we stayed with Antonio Gomez’s family. Antonio is a serving member of the Australian ADF and works in logistics in Dili. He has been with the ADF for over 12 years. He is also translator and interpreter. We were lucky enough to meet Antonio last October and will now collaborate with his family to bring a kindergarten to Kammenos, Suai. Antonio’s sister (in Suai there is a matriachal relationship for inheritance), Emilia Da Costa and her husband Paolo Da Costa have donated the land. Antonio will head up the project and look after financials, his brother Mersu Gomez will be the on site project manager and another brother Ameu Barras a builder/carpenter will be in charge of the actual build. This is another family affair for which we are very grateful. They will build for a total budget of USD$12000 and are at present drawing up plans to suit their local site and environment. We envisage in 12 months time we will have a fourth kin

Bin playing with students at Boramba.

dergarten.

We were lucky enough to not only travel with Antonio and family but we met Lance Corporal Lisa White who also accommpanied us. Thank you very much, it was an absolute pleasure, thank you to Major Andrew March and Sgt David Marshall for allowing both Antonio and Lisa out of the office. I will be sending thank yous to all.

Finally, on our return we drove on a death defying road from Suai to Balibo. It improved slightly after that. Thanks to Bin (apparently it means big sister in Tetum) for driving, I certainly wouldn’t have, but I got to tick a bucket list item. I visited the site of the Balibo 5. This is a haunting place. The museum while small tells the story of the Australian journalists and more. It is one of those news items I can actually remember from 1975 and the following years. So much more to tell.

Well in a nutshell that was visit 2018. I look forward to my next journey to Timor Leste, probably next year.

  Teacher Juela Da Costa Ramos working with students at Boramba.

Teachers and Paolo at Bobe.

Kindergarten site Bobe.

A class at Bobe.

Published by dlocke on 12 Nov 2017

October in Bei Cala

 

The finished classroom.

For the second time this year I have been able to visit Timor Leste and finish the work started in April. I had the pleasure of Belinda’s company and assistance once again from DCP-TL servicemen Daniel and Antonio.  We firstly were able to finish the school building maintenance in Boramba. This now means our second kindergarten building is ready to go. At present we are training teachers and once they are up to speed we will have two classes in neighbouring villages.

The work involved cementing the last floor of the school house and the local lads, led by Kamal, replastered walls and painted them fresh. It looks magnificent. We also purchased lino for the floor, which finished it off nicely. A big thank you to DCP-TL Daniel and Antonio for their help this time, it is very appreciated.

We also had the opportunity to visit a third site in the nearby village of Bobe (pronouced Bobby). The villagers will provide a level site and we are looking to supply the funds for resources and man power to build the kindergarten. There may be slight modifications to improve the layout but otherwise we will follow our existing formula which seems to work.  It is hoped by this time next year this kindergarten will be almost complete.

Thirdly, we were very chuffed to be asked to build a fourth kindergarten in Suai. A town a few hours away and home to Antonio. Antonio has worked for the Australian Army for a number of years in logistics and translating and we are certainly pleased to look into this idea. Hopefully on our next visit we will be able to do a reccy to the area.

While staying with our hosts Anisetto and Karbina in Bei Cala I also visited our Bei Cala Kindergarten and worked with Lala at every opportunity. There is certainly a need to train more teachers to help Lala and provide a back up. This time last year we trained 7 teachers. Three have found work elsewhere, two in teaching, one is unable to teach due to ill health which left us with two. Our goal is to now train some more. This is important resource building.

Thank you to all those involved particularly the communities of Bei Cala, Boramba and Bobe and Bellingen. The support of all of you has made this possible and it continues the legacy of Sgt. Matthew Locke MG. We hope he is proud of our efforts.

Published by dlocke on 05 Jun 2017

April in Bei Cala

During the last school holidays (April) I had the pleasure to catch up with the people from village of Bei Cala, Timor Leste. This time Wayne accompanied me and Dean West from Brisbane. We travelled to Dili via Darwin and were met by Jino at the airport.

On our first night we met the boys from the Defence Cooperation Program Timor-Leste (DCP-TL) in Dili.  We met Daniel, Craig, Roy and Brad who would be travelling up Monday and meeting us in Bei Cala to help with the work ahead.

We had set ourselves and ambitious program to fix up our original school building at Boramba. A couple of floors had been laid too thinly and consequently had broken up from wear and tear. We also hoped to weather proof the ends of the building as rain could come in.

After travelling on the Monday, I can report that road improvements are still in progress, we caught up with the boys and Karabina and Aniseto and extended family in Bei Cala.

Over the next three days were were able to re-cement one room completely by barrow and hand, fix two others, seal both ends of the building, fix furniture, hang new solid lockable doors and hang blackboards. It was an incredible pleasure to see the work undertaken by our crew, ably assisted by half dozen local boys. Thanks to all of boys for their assistance, it couldn’t have been done without them.

We also took over resources for our kindergartens and are planning on returning in the October holidays to continue the work.

Published by dlocke on 12 Feb 2017

2017 Book Drive

Once again we are collecting books to send to Timor Leste. We are looking for early childhood, primary and high school books that can be used for reading practice. There is also a high school looking for commerce, maths and economic style texts. We will also accept early childhood toys for our kindergartens in Bei Cala and Boramba.

While the Bei Cala kindergarten has been up and running for a number of months, the Boramba school will be set up in a room of our existing school block.

If you have any books or early childhood toys, in good condition that you would like to donate please contact me at debbielocke@bigpond.com. They can be delivered to Dorrigo or Bellingen or dropped of at the Sgt. Matthew Locke MG Charity Event on the 25th February 2017 in Bellingen

.

Once items are collected they will be delivered to Melbourne by Cramptons truck company and from there the Rotary Club of Melbourne sends a container every six weeks to Timor Leste.

Thank you in advance for your kind donations.

Published by dlocke on 17 Jan 2017

Have you considered volunteering in Timor Leste?

Have you considered making the journey to Timor Leste. In 2011 we built a 4 room school house that now needs some maintenence. Can you help?

In April 2017, I will be travellingdeparting Darwin on the 9th April and returning on the 17th April and I am looking for anyone who would like to join me and undertake this work.

After arriving in Dili, you will be met and escorted to the village of Bei Cala which is in the Ainaro district. It is approximately 30 minutes past Same.

Accommodation in Bei Cala is with locals who will welcome you into their homes.

If you are interested and would like to know more, please email me at debbielocke@bigpond.com

 

 

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