Day 03: Sunday, 30 Sep 12 – Dili

Our first full day in Dili was the Sunday. I was fully expecting that Dili would be quiet and everyone at church. How wrong was I. The town was buzzing. There was road work out the front of our compound and everywhere I looked businesses were open. I was a little annoyed that I had not been able to settle in yesterday and get my bearings, so I used the Sunday to do this.

The day started with fruit for breakfast, awww I do love fresh fruit. Over breakfast I did a map recon of Dili, using Google Maps. What did we ever do without Google Maps? The map recon of Dili, gave me a good understanding of where we went yesterday and all the areas that I wanted to go over the next few days.

After offering each of the team members the opportunity to join us for a walk to explore a part of Dili, Kim and I headed off by ourselves. We got as far as the Timor Plaza (about 1 km from the Timor Lodge Hotel), before we stopped for a break. First stop in the Plaza was to the mobile phone shop. We got the team a mobile. This has been a great tool for the team and a great investment. We had a few supplies that we need to buy at the supermarket. After our small shop we decided to get a cuppa from Gloria Jeans. Gloria Jeans offers 30 minutes Internet with every purchase.

It was while we were at Gloria Jeans that the project was to be changed forever…… In fact it was the first of a number of changes that we were to have to make. This change however at Gloria Jeans had an awesome positive impact. While Kim was lining up to order our cuppa’s a lady named Sarah approached her and asked about Scouts in Timor Leste. We wear our Australian Scarfs at all times when out of the compound, which gave away that we were scouts.

Sarah is from Australia and her husband, Paul, runs a Security, Logistics & Communications Company based in Dili. They have two daughters and have not been able to find Scouting in Timor Leste for their daughters. Kim quickly asked if she knew anyone that can help us with drivers. Up until this point this had been the only part of the plan that had not come to plan. We needed drivers for our trip up to, time in and trip back from Maubisse.

Paul who owns the Sentinel Group was very helpful in not only sourcing drivers, but also donating their services to the project. In addition to this Paul also assisted us with a driver and vehicle for a few days around Dili before we departed for Maubisse. This was awesome help that enabled the project to achieve more and also provided for the safety of the team.

Fernando from the local Scouts also came down to join us at the Plaza. It was good to catch up with him and some other scouts. The bonus was that Paul sent one of his drivers around to the mall for us to use for the day….. That is one way to speed up the Recon and explore faster. So we did a quick recon of the Australian Embassy, Tais Markets and the Hospital.

In the afternoon we gate crashed a Scout Meeting in town. The Scouts were planning for their national camp next month. The meeting was being run in Tetum, the local language. This was an experience for the team….. We had no idea what they were saying. However every once in a while someone would translate part of the meeting for us. The meeting also provided the opportunity for the team to meet Michaela, who is a Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD), a program run by AusAID. Michaela is spending twelve months living in Dili and working with the Scouts National Office.

On the way out to the Scout Meeting we heard our first big piece of bad news. Due to a short notice tour of the country by the new President of Timor Leste, our accommodation in Maubisse will not be ready on the Tuesday night as planned. The President was due to stay there on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I must admit that the team handled the news very well. There was no panic and the team got onto Plan B….. Plan B was to stay in Dili a further two days. I must admit I was very impressed with the way that the team handled the situation.

That night we got to catch up with Fernando and Octaviano for dinner. They popped in to our accommodation to join us for dinner. It was great to catch up with them and hear all the things that they have been up to over the last twelve months. That is one of the great things about scouting. Scouting creates international bonds.

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