Day 13: Wednesday, 10 Oct 12 – Maubisse to Dili

One of the benefits of working with teenagers is that you never know when they will surprise you and break the stereotypes. This morning as we prepare for the planned 9am departure time, which was a tall order for some…. Some of the team have not gotten out of bed before 9am on most days. However we were actually ready to go and departed at 8:40am. Yes twenty minutes early, this includes a run into town to buy breakfast, packing bags, breakfast and packing vehicles.

It was an emotional time to drive out of the CCT Factory & Plantation gates for the last time. It has been an exciting, moving and special time that we spent in Maubisse. The school that we came over to work with was located here and we had the Timorese Scouts co-located with us. It has been a special time in Maubisse. All these thoughts went through my mind as we drive down the road towards Maubisse and then finally Dili…

Another interesting note about Timor Leste has been the water pipe lines. The pipes seem to be smaller than the demand on the water. It is not uncommon for the water to trickle feed all day in to the water tank and then the tank to used up in a short period of time, just to take 12-24 hours to refill. This leads to low pressure. There is also substantial leakage throughout the network of pipes. I think that water conservation is yet to hit the country.

As we head out of Maubisse there is a Lady from Melbourne on the local radio station. No matter where you go there are Australians. We are a country of adventurers and travellers. It got me thinking though that there is something relaxing about being in a foreign country with limited communications (including internet), getting much reading done, no pressures from work, exploring and listening to foreign music on the radio.

As I noted on a previous day there is many reasons that a driver use their horn while driving. One of the reasons was to say “hello”. So to this end, as I sat in the front passenger seat and waved to people along the road the driver would honk the horn. I was not sure if I should stop waving or just go with the flow. The other one was that the driver would slow down or even stop when I was taking photos along the way.

It was an interesting trip back to Dili. I lot quicker than from Dili….. Less stops…. We passed a couple of Army Convoys. The convoys are not like in Australia. Here the weapons are showing and faced out, ready for use. Convoys, both Military and Civilian, in Timor travel with the hazard lights on. It was cool, as we did too….. After all we had two vehicles.

It was very common to pass people on the road walking. As most people do not own a vehicle or motorcycle, they walk a lot. So there are people walking all the time on the roads. Some of the people will be walking down the road with Machetes (a common tool in Timor Leste), or carrying large loads of wood etc on their heads. Before and after school (each shift) it is also common to see all the children heading to or from school.

We stopped in at Aileu to see the Scouts one last time. They presented the team leader with hand-made scarf and there were the speeches. There were plenty of hugs and farewells at the Scout Hall. The Scouts from both countries had gotten a lot out of the time we had spent in Maubisse and I hope that this is the start of many more interactions between the two groups of scouts.

One of the beautiful parts of the trip was heading into a valley that was covered in cloud…. It was like being in a fairy tale. We had come through a number of valleys that were all clear and then out of nowhere there was this valley full of clouds. As we headed down the mountain we headed into the clouds. There was mist and a sense of ore.

On arriving back into Dili one of the vehicles started to play up. The brakes were not right…. Luckily, we are back in Dili and could return the vehicles, reporting the fault. After unpacking the vehicles we headed down to refill the vehicles with Diesel (Solar). The service station (gas station) was an eye opener. Some of the staff at the station lived on site. There were people coming in on foot to refill container and there were broken vehicles and vehicle bits all over the place.

Finally back in Dili, it was time to relax in the afternoon and plan out the next two days of sight-seeing. The heat of Dili hit us all again. Not as bad as when we got off the plane in Dili on Day 2. However, there is a significant temperature difference between Maubisse and Dili.

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