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Saturday, 18 September 2010
IT Joy Timor Leste, Day 1 of 11. 18/09/10.

as some people know, i was in Timor Leste with my school for community service.

i'll be posting up an informal journal of the trip, day by day.

1st Day
@7.30am, we were gathered at T2, for our 9am flight.

on the plane, Prasanth started chatting with the guy on our right, a university Portuguese Linguistics lecturer. talk about morning breath! after a bottle of Merlot on his part, the stench faded juz a little. haha.

he recommended us restaurants and dishes, beaches, places to visit.

apparently, some of the beaches had warning signs about crocodiles, which are supposed to be rather common in their crocodile-shaped island. he hadn't seen any first-hand before, tho. so he told us not to worry.

touched down at Dili(Timor's capital) airport. met Michael. (he is AMAZING. our trip was a success largely due to his sincerity and commitment towards us.)

first visit, the convent.

@ the Canossian school.

immediately after getting off the van, there were 2 rows of young Timorese girls, all about our age, forming an aisle to welcome us.

their voices were soo sweet, i bet they melted the guys' hearts!

"Welcome to our family~ we're glad that you have come to share your life with us~ as we grow in love and, may we always be to you~ ..."

they sang Welcome to our Family, as taught by Michael.

we were presented with Tais, Timor's traditional cloth, and after the first song, everyone spontaneously burst into a round-rosy step-in-out kinda dance. couldn't help joining them. ^^

they prepared a welcome meal for us. quite a spread. turns out that almost every meal the convents provided us with would be as extravagant on their part.

halfway through the meal, blackout. twice, their generator stalled.

in the following 10days after, the lack of electricity would pose as the greatest deterrent to our purposes in Timor.

after the power came back on, everyone finally noticed that there were winged insects fluttering around the light, and our food.
to get rid of them, we switched off the light near our table, and let them swarm to where the other light (with a handful of gargantuan wall-lizards were.

<1min, only 6 insects were left alive..

Mana (in Tatum, their local language, MANA = big sister. MAUM = big brother) then told us the legend behind Timor's island.

it's as follows;

"One day, a boy saved a baby crocodile. He fed it and took care of it till they were both big.

then, the crocodile began to have 'bad' thoughts. he wanted to eat the boy.

but he thought about it, and said, "no, the boy saved me while i was a baby, and took care of me. i shouldn't have these 'bad' thoughts."

so he regretted it, and eventually promised the boy his own land when he dies.

the crocodile then began his search for the best spot on earth, and lay down to die.

where his body was, the land began to form, and following his body grooves, Timor now has plenty of mountains, and the shape of a crocodile."

Mana also told us that dolphins and crocodiles can be see at the beaches, and in the town of Los Paulos.

it's fine to pass a crocodile by on the streets there, as you'll be fine if you do not harbour 'bad' thoughts towards the crocodile. thanks to the legend.

however, the Southern beaches facing the Australian seas are too dangerous to swim at, due to too many saltwater crocodiles.

Mana also went on to tell us about Timor's history, civil wars, how the Canossian sisters helped the people, placed themselves in crossfires, etc.

one particular unrest story i listened to was about how the competition between the various martial arts groups blew up into full-blown civil unrest.

wow. i'm amazed at how such childish matters could cause soo much tension.

and with each period of unrest, Dili was always empty at one point of time.

the whole time we were there, i kept hearing someone playing the guitar.

not bad, actually. talent exists, but no proper techniques/skills, i guess. nature, no nuture.

Fieary. 18/09/10.

will add pictures and colour after all 11 days has been posted up.

when will my dreams be fulfilled??