Montag, 31. August 2009

Field Trip: Saburai, Bobonaro District

Last week I visited Saburai, another Red Cross project village in Bobonaro district, together with Mariano and Juvenal (on the picture) from the National RC Society. As Saburai is very close to the Indonesian border (West-Timor), it's just a short walking distance to Indonesia!
My room in the guesthouse... as there were no mosquito nets available I decided to arrange my Mosquito Dorm on the bed which was not a bad decision... I had a good sleep at least until the roosters woke me up at around 4 am! In the morning I had the possibility to some sightseeing in Maliana, capital of Bobonaro District, while Mariano and Juvenal were busy with some meetings:
Maliana mercado in the early morning hours:
The ladies are selling fresh bread, donuts and some other fried stuff - similar to the Austrian "gebackene Mäus'"!
One of the stylish public transport cars:
The road to Saburai - it's good to have a 4WD - not only for crossing one of the "rivers":
Finally we arrived in Saburai after an one-hour-drive from Maliana. The children in the village were of course excited about the visit and especially about my camera ;-)!
First we had lunch with a local family and the team had the possibility to talk about the news:
In the afternoon we could finally visit the projects - starting with some tap stands and a spontaneous hand washing presentation by Juvenal and me:
Within a few seconds we were surrounded by a crowd of children who apparently got motivated and had o lot of fun!
Final pic with clean hands ;-)
One of the village's eldest with his family:
This bamboo tube was a present from the lady... it's used to store home-made sago-starck:

Timorese people (mainly adults) love chewing strange things that make their mouth and teeth red-coloured. It's even more famous in rural areas. I soon figured out that it's apparently Betel Nut mixed with some other stuff. Finally, I found a nice lady who could explain it to me how it really works. Apparently it is a mixture of 3 things: dried betel nuts, some leaves and white powder (probably calcium carbonate, made out of crushed rocks). People like it not only because it has the effect of an appetite surpressant but also because it apparently makes them high. It also colors lips and teeth incredible red, so it's kind of a biological lipstick! Another side-effect is that it damages the teeth seriously.
The mountainous landscape surrounding Saburai... at the moment there is a traditional week taking place. A group of community members, who are selected by the village's eldest, have to do some rituals like burning the fields and hunting animals. The traditional week ends with a big celebration on the weekend. It's a pity we have to go back to Dili already on Thursday!
On our way back to Dili we passed some very traditional and small-scale salt-producing industries next to the beach.
Lunch at one of the local Drive-in-Restaurants with my vegetarian choice of Catupa and boiled Corn and some grilled fish/chicken for the guys...
Fruit stands along the main road:

Sonntag, 23. August 2009

Road Trip Dili - Baucau - Viqueque - Uatolari

This photo shows me with Ina, who served as a guerrilla fighter during ET's independence struggles. Ina was also a close friend of Alfredo Reinado ( or who was one of the leaders of the rebel forces (F-FDTL). "Reinhado" was killed during attacks on Prime Minister Xanana and President Ramos-Horta on Feb 11, 2008.

Ina is now doing research on Peacebuilding and Trauma and she gives lectures at Universities in Timor-Leste and Australia. She invited me to join her trip to Viqueque where she was supposed to attend one of those Community Dialogues (see also the Blog entry "Embracing Dialogue"). The dialogue was taking place in Uatolari which is far in the East of Timor-Leste. We left Dili Friday evening (at around 8 pm) and arrived in Baucau at 11 pm (3 hours for 100 km), where we stayed over night and we then left Baucau early in the morning.

Some impressions from our way between Baucau and Viqueque:
Finally we could see the south coast of Timor-Leste! In the local language the sea here is called "Tasi Mane" ("men's ocean") whereas the sea in the north is called "Tasi Feto" ("girl's ocean") as it's apparently calmer in the north!
Huge rice plantations in the south:
After 5-hours driving from Baucau, we finally arrived in the village (Uatolari) where the dialogue was already in progress. While the dialogue was running, I preferred spending my time in the village walking around and watching the children playing football. The community dialogue is a very emotional issue and not for or foreigners or even "tourists". I didn't want to bother the process with my presence.
Spiderman house:
Betel nuts and a small choice of other local products at the village's market:
We decided to spend our night in Viqueque and go back to Dili on Sunday morning after breakfast at the guesthouse:
Some impressions from our way back...
For lunch we had a traditional "catupa" (rice balls in tiny baskets made out of palm leaves cooked in coconut milk)
Baucau market... there are so many varieties of bananas I've never seen before! If possible go for the red ones, they are delicious!
Deserted landscape between Baucau and Dili:
Even though it was a lot of driving (we spent about 14 hours in the car) I had a great weekend with Ina and the others. I got so many impressions and learned a lot about this country and it's people that I will (hopefully!) never forget! Thank you, Ina!