Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Timor Leste Presentation

Today two people, Rosemary and David came to talk to us about their involvement in the X.O project and their time in Timor Leste, 1 hour above Darwin. Along with them were Seriar, a principle and Syntus who was taught by seriar how to speak English and now Syntus works as an interpreter. The country is not very big, it is 90 km from North to South, about a 12 hour trip on road and 25 minute by plane. It is considered as a third world country close to the equator with tropical weather and everyone arrives at a dock. Their national language is Portugal, but their local language is Tetum.

In 1975 the Indonesian people took over and later pulled out in 1999 and had left destruction to the country. During the civil war there were a lot of massacres and the people during that time set up huts which some of the locals now use for shelter. The huts were only made of local materials and they even make their own cutting tools such as machetes and axes, though they aren’t used as weapons but as tools. Along a road there are the Australian army, they work to keep peace around the town. Their main transport was by scooter and their currency is in US dollars. It is hard to find leisure in the country for foreigners who go there because of low entertainment sources. There is a store designed to supply the needs for foreigners like us to please our needs such as furniture and normal food we usually eat. Mosquito nets are always put up to prevent malaria, a disease caused by mosquitoes and they love to hang around humid areas.

Many tourists visit the beaches as it is a popular tourist attraction. The foreigners (anyone who are not pure bred there) are known as “Mallai” to the locals. Though in the waters there lurk many crocodiles which often worries to people. Many Brazilians go there to help the development of their country because they can easily communicate them in Portugal.

We have skills to help their technology and we must make sure we can guide them to further develop their community making sure we don’t make the mistake of giving them too much and not telling them how to use it or giving things that aren’t necessary to them. We must help them in a way that we give the essentials and we must make sure what we give them is benefitting them.

Many Missionaries come to this country to help develop many things. Missionaries are people who have been sent to help the development of the town. Education is among these needing of development and is highly worked on as they have a poor education system. Many of the locals have had no exposure to English. Education over there is not like ordinary school that we are used to, they go to school and get taught verbally, without using any books, paper or pens and there is no electricity which doesn’t help with the hot weather. That is why schools are run only in the early mornings when it is still quite cool. Electricity is also poor because they can get occasional black outs. Their diet consists of all the naturally grown foods such as rice and fruits.

The main thing that has been developing is their knowledge, understanding and involvement in technology. The ITNGO (Information Technology No Government Organization) forum is helping there to supply Internet access to the local people. Using the VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) system the people are able to gain Internet access at a low price and David had been running a teaching program to teach them how to use the phone to connect to the Internet. Phones were like strange things to the locals because they had not seen one before and when they were taught how to use one they thought it was quite funny. Only the rich people have been able to afford mobiles but they were bought because of their “cool factor”

As I mentioned in my first blog about the X.O laptops being part of the OLPC (One laptop Per Child) plan to supply one of those laptops to every child in developing countries, this is one of the developing countries that have been offered these laptops. The laptops can be used for their education and help them use them as books. It would be a much more efficient way of learning and it can even be solar powered, which is a great function to have since they have low electricity. During this program questions about whether the children would cherish these laptops or not were debated and they strongly believed that they would care for it. David, Rosemary and others were also deciding if should make them leave their laptops at school or take them home and believed that they should be able to take them home.

The Greenpc, a Melbourne based company was also there to help out with the advancement of technology. They went there to train a selected group of local people how to fix up computer and how to sell them, and how to make and run a business out of them.

Locals were even taught how to make roofs and how to nail them down at the right angle etc. The jobs the locals did were sometimes dangerous and with no Occupational Health and Safety Nothing would help them if they got hurt during work. They also had no insurance which meant if their houses got damaged they would have no way to repair it unless they had enough money of their own. There is a pilot from the Mission Australia Fellowship who flies around spotting any accidents that may occur and rescuing them, e.g. people fallen off a tree or crocodile attacks.

There were nuns who went to help the teenage girls there, skills on hospitality, cooking and more. They have no churches neither did they have a sense of what their god was so some people went and taught them about Christian ways.

The locals are bright just need to be taught how to do things.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. A very thorough coverage of Rosemary's presentation. Good to see you intersperse the photos with the text too.

    These might be typos or grammar errors, I'm not sure:
    Timorleste, should be Timor Leste (Leste means East)
    crocodiles which concerns to people
    communicate them in Portugal
    English is taught to the all children
    foods such as rich and fruits
    X.O (XO since its not an abbreviation)