Br Frank Hennessy in Timor Leste
During the month the rain was particularly heavy & regular. The experts tell us that for Timor Leste the ‘La Nina’ although weak is affecting the weather patterns & looks like extending the wet season in this part of the world. The spin off for us is the beautiful greening of the mountains.
I attended the graduation (2nd) of the vocational training - STVJ – in Gleno. Pleasing to see the young people so proud of their achievements in hospitality & administration & the flow on that some have got jobs as a result. On the 3rd I went to the final profession of 2 Dominican Sisters – a huge commitment of local women to a growing congregation in TL.
Two important meetings held on the 6th. Julia & Peter met with the card ladies & the Vanilla team in Railaco Criac while at the same time Delfina & I met with the committee of the TEKA teachers at Railaco Leten. Detailing the links that will happen over the next few months as we partner with MMI as of the 1st July. I again met with MMI – Emma form Sydney, Sr. Kath & Alipio from Dili to address some details/challenges of the process towards a MOU.
A consultant, Ariana Almeida, has been appointed to work with the card ladies to ascertain the possibilities for the future for this important community engagement activity. She will commence work in late April. Thanks to TTN for funding this research.
We were graced with the presence of our Congregational Leader, Br. Hugh O’Neill (18th – 24th) a Canadian. Hugh visited some of the projects here but could not visit all villages due to the poor condition of the roads. He engaged with the local parish in Railaco & also with Bishop Virgilio in Dili. We had an engaging community gathering on the Friday to reflect on our brotherhood & its meaning. Thanks for being with us Hugh.
Peter Coe’s brother, Dennis, passed away (20th) after a long illness. Peter returned to Warwick, QLD to join the family, friends & CB’s for the final farewell.
Recent research (Simone Rensch) shows that the Timor Gov’t spends the least amount of money on healthcare than any other country in the world – 2.4% ahead of countries like Laos-3.4%, Eritrea 3.6%... This does not include the NGO’s contribution to health care in TL. Added to this is the list (Zsusanna Pengo) of the ‘Hungriest” countries in the world in 2018 – Timor’s global hunger index (GHI) is 34.3. – 10th on the world list. A vast improvement on 2008 – 46.8 (compare- Liberia 35.3, Sudan 35.5). Our experience shows that in Education minimum amounts are spent with many long term teachers unpaid under the banner of ‘volunteer’ teachers. Unicef have recently announced a huge program to build pre-schools & primary schools in remote areas – a wonderful contribution but still missing the point.
The tridium as usual was celebrated with great devotion, participation & enthusiasm. We attended the English ceremonies. Huge crowds, double parking on both sides of the main road, police rendered helpless & a huge crush of bodies as we exit & the Tetun mass congregation enter.
Happy Easter Br Frank Hennessy