Kids on the job site
There is little control on a job site here in the undeveloped world. This must mostly be due to the fact that there is nothing like insurance or liability. Except that it is always the person who is perceived to have the most money who is at fault. Actually this might be true in the states as well. Anyway here with every adult comes at least two others under the age of about 15. It is extremely annoying as they have very little skill level or strength, they insist and be involved in everything, they are constantly messing around, and they have no handle on responsibility. I am not sure there is anything to do about it. It is the culture here that children are involved in everything. They only back off slightly when yelled at and at least they are a bit more scared of me. Especially if I yell which I don't enjoy, it just isn't my style.
On Friday night the Minister for electricity, water, and natural resources travelled out to Cairui to visit the town and meet with the people. He brought the message that the road from laleia to Cairui will be improved soon and that electricity is not near in their future. They are still looking into different options because it is so far out. He also came to see the water and sanitation system we are building. I helped to show him around as we walked through parts of the system. He is a very friendly man and speaks excellent english. His wife who is american actually has more of an acent than him. Also with the Minister was a new advisor, a british man from the Water, Engineering, and Development Centre (WEDC). He was very interesting to talk to. Here talks with a lot of experience and gave us a couple good suggestions for our water system.
This week I finally made it back to Baucau and was able to visit my host family. As I walked in only my host mom was there and she about had a heart attack. Turns out they had gotten all my emails and sort of knew I would be showing up sometime. Later that day my host dad came home and I hid. My host mom told him someone had come that she didn't know but then got sick and was sleeping in my old room. When he opened the door I jumped out and gave him a big hug. He about fell over as well. They family is all doing very well. The same day I showed up Baucau finally got 24hr a day electricity. My family had also saved up there mone a bought a mini fridge. My mom always has been the most motivated in the family has started three small businesses. She sells fried bananas, flavored ice, and now firewood. All of the flowers I had planted, my first gardening experience, are still alive and thriving. I was only there for one night but had time and saw all the rest of the extended family as well.
I am sort of surprised and sort of not but most of my stuff was barely touched. Even after I had given them the go ahead by email when I thought that I was not coming back. They took all the money or food I left of course and anything extremely useful light a flashlight or my machete. But most of my clothes, all my books, my mosquito dome, and basically everything else was there. I took all the clothes and books in one of my bags that was still there with me. Even my $200 dollar work boots that I have yet to wear once and now have a real use for were there untouched. In a country that where people will wear rubber boots as everyday shoes all my shoes were still there.
At least three different people I knew in Baucau told me they all have dreams about me exactly one week before I came back and they new I must be on my way back. Weird eh. People were really surprised I was back especially as I showed up in a car. They were all very disappointed though as I couldn't stay in Baucau. They had a hard time understanding that I had to live somewhere else for work as that was the only reason I was able to return. They kept telling me I could drive the hour to laleia everyday. Hey, there is no way I am coming to come Timor and be the only one with a commute to work. Forget that.
I went by PC headquarters here in dili this morning. What a site it was. The timorese had a giant bon fire blazing in the front yard as they were burning all the government documents. It made me feel kind of weird to see it. I walked around a bit and ran into Domingos who gave me a big hug. I also saw Nina who maybe acknowledge me as she walked by. There was also one of the staff members from Thailand there shutting it down. Everything is boxed up. The volunteer lounge is cleared and everything is not being sold as one rumor had it but is being given to the embassy. There is only a bit of mail left mostly for Jessica and Joel. Joel I think you got some bills here or something. They said they would send it to your home of record. I asked about the bikes and they said I could have one. In fact they gave me two. Since I got a truck I took them then and there. I also got one water filter, 2 bike helmets, and the framed picture of TL-4 swearing in on the front page of the Timor Sun. They wouldn't give me any others as they said the embassy wanted them. I guess my group isn't good enough for the embassy.
As for my stuff. The peace corps did in fact go by my house in Baucau and were able to pick up what I specified which was nothing. But they got the water filter and my med kit. I assume this means they went by everyone elses house and did the same but actually got your stuff. It seems they have mailed it already. The letters we wrote to be given to our families were never dilevered and therefore the keys inside were also never given to them. In my case Belun had to cut the lock to get my bike from my house in Baucau and my host family had to break into my room.
Escaping from prison
I don't know if Timor has made it back into the new back in US but a couple things have happened recently in Dili that aren't encouraging. This week we had a couple people shot in a IDP camp during a fight. The initial reports said it was the police that shot but turns out they don't know who it was but definitely not the police. We also had a prison break of maybe 14 people including Alfredo. They got away and may have weapons. I am still safe as I dont spend much time in Dili. I am also a foreigner which aren't targeted. I also avoid going out at night or to places where all the trouble usually happens. There is also the normal daily fights and stone throwing in the camps.
The engineer I replaced because he got sick is coming back today. Vincent will arrive this afternoon. I am excited to meet him as I have been trying to fill his shoes since he left. I have heard all about him from the Timorese and some foreigners in Dili. The foreigners only mention nice things whereas the Timorese only mention the bad stuff.
The project is going well as we are moving faster now. We have started building the largest tank last week. We met all our goals and poured the floor and have built all the forms for the walls. We will start there this week. Everything is coming out well and the Timorese have started listening to me more as they begin to trust me.