Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tour de Timor

Holiday snaps time! Well not actually a holiday, a work trip. I work for an international development organisation and occasionally get the chance to go on field trips like this to visit our projects. Last week I travelled  to Timor Leste, just an hour's flight from Darwin, to visit some of our water and sanitation projects. I'd heard some things about Timor and was aware of it's history but had no idea what to expect. 

I wanted to share just some of the beautiful pictures from the trip. We spent a day and a half with one community following them from sunrise to sunset as the girls collected water for their homes, walked an hour to school then returned and spent the afternoon helping their families on the farm.

I had no idea Timor was this mountainous. The capital Dili sits on the beach and then everything behind it is hills. The roads are mostly dirt and incredible difficult to drive on. It took us 1.5hours to drive 26km! The small building on the hill top is the local school. The children in the village we were at walked about 1 hr 15 min each day to get to school. The school was in quite good condition but the big problem is around resource capacity. While the school had 8 teachers only 2 were paid, the others were all volunteers. When the volunteers couldn't show up the principal would have to teach the extra classes.

This is the village of Mate Restu that we spent the day at. In the first hut lived 2 families about 16 people.
The girls as they walked to collect water. They each carried two 5 litre jerry cans. The girl in blue in the foreground is called Elezete, she's just 9 years old and collects water 3 times a day.

At the water point the children do everything. They wash themselves, brush their teach, comb their hair and then fill up the jerry cans. This is a natural spring and it's flowing out of a cut-in-half piece of bamboo.
The walk down to the water point is crazy steep! I helped carry some jerry cans up and almost fell over a lot of times. For someone half my weight I can't imagine how they do it every day.

This is Erlinda, 12 years old.
I love older people's faces. This was Manuel, one of the oldest men in the village. We spoke to him about how the country had changed over the years.

These two girls were at a different village where our organisation had installed water taps for the community. The little girl in green had the most beautiful smile and walked the whole time arm in arm with this other girl.

Me at work.

The beautiful sunrise as we left Dili on our final day.
All pictures are credited to James Alcock.

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