Friday, August 24, 2007

Rapid Assessment

After a week delay a team was finally able to hop on a UN heli and fly out to Uatolari and Uatocarbau in the Viqueque district to due a rapid assessment after some unrest. Earlier this month multiple communities in these areas were burned down and pillaged by a large mob. Here is a photo just as we were re-boarding the helicopter after the assessment. It landed in the village soccer field.

Although the reality of the violence was not what had been suspected it was still quite bad. One village had almost every building burned to the ground including the school. Most of the other villages had only selected burned houses including this one pictured which happens to be right in front of the local police station in the rear.

Back in Dili things are good. Next week I am going to Bali for a 7 day fast and some relaxation. Will send an update from there. paz. jesse

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Timor makes Wikipedia

Timor makes Wikipedia front page news.



Jesse Shapiro


IDP Technical Support & Service Advisor to

Direccao Nacional Aguas e Sanemento (DNAS) Timor Leste 

Oxfam Australia


(+670) 732-6275



Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Government

Today Xanana was sworn in as Prime Minister and the new government announced.  It was almost a clean sweep as the AMP alliance cleaned out most of the Fretilin government even the Minister of Health who was loved by all.  Xanana has promised a lot, like most politicians, let’s just hope he can live up to some of it.  Hey, I am an optimist.  Quite a bit is going to change in the government besides just the changing of people as the structure has been changed.  New ministries have been created even one for fisheries.  Huh?  People laughed as they heard announcements of certain ministries new ministers cause they believe they were inappropriate people or like the Ministry of Planning and Finance… who’s office was burned to the ground only yesterday by demonstrations alleging this illegal formation of the government.  I don’t know what the constitution says but it does seem weird that Fretilin, with 30% of the vote and the winner of the election, has not been included in its formation.  Oh well.


The department of water and sanitation will also be moved  back under the Secretary of State along with Electricity and a new department called Urbanization.  This looks real good for water and sanitation as the secretary of state has some technical background which will help to make good decisions.  Only hours after being announced he even came by for a visit.  That has got to be a great sign right?   Laters





Monday, August 06, 2007

Wake boarding

Not usually found in Timor are extreme sports but this past weekend we went wake boarding here in Dili. It was a blast. I think I might of found something similar to skiing and snowboarding which I still fantasize about since I haven’t even seen snow in almost three years. It was actually my second time and I was able to stand up and do some basic turns. The rough sea made it a bit tough and has given me the killer ache in the legs. One of our friends was quite good and could even jump the wake and do flips. Here is a picture of him upside down just in front of the Dili landmark Jesus statue, the second largest in the world. Guess if he landed it or not? Then one of me surfing the wake.

Yesterday was the moment East Timor has been waiting for, for over a year, when the new government is formed and partially announced starting with the prime minister. Surprise, Surprise… it is Xanana, who was previously president. Now the president and the prime minister have switched positions. Although we have waited for this moment to move forward with development again the political problems are not over. Fretilin the party that won the most seats in parliament do not support the new government and will start causing problems here in Dili. This morning there are already some illegal road blocks and stone throwing which is normal except not usually in the morning. NGOs are restricting movement of their employees so we are staying put to see how the situation develops. It is likely there will be little work for a couple days.