Two of the great challenges for any city is to bring clean water to all its citizens and to take dirty water away. It takes good leadership from the top and cooperation, ingenuity and determination from the bottom.
Here in Dili there are still many drains full of stagnate, dirty water. I visited my friend in a middle class suburb the other day and noticed slimy water coming up through their front drive and running down into the drain by the road.
The open drain outside my friend’s home in Dili.
As it was the dry season I asked where the water was coming from. They responded that it was just like that especially if they use the bathroom – that is, it was actually raw sewage running down their driveway which they would walk through each day before entering the house. These were clean people who looked after their family well but right beneath their noses was this urk. So I whipped out my circular saw with concrete cutter, cut a trench in their slab and gave directions and cash on how to put in an absorption trench.
Digging the absorption trench to receive water from the septic tank.
This one is about 5m long, 60cm wide, 80cm deep, filled with 20-40mm stone and running the length is a 100mm PVC pipe with holes cut in it to get the septic tank water absorbing into the ground. The whole job was knocked off for about $80.
500 Years of the Catholic Church in Timor-Leste
This year is also the 500th anniversary of the Catholic Church coming to Timor-Leste. There were many celebrations and even the head of state of the Vatican flew in for the occasion. There is a very strong link between the Timorese people and the Catholic Church and thousands turned out for the special ceremonies.
The main 4 lane road packed with the faithful.
A main event was escorting the “Youth Cross” and its friend “Maria Peregrina”.
The Youth Cross on the right.
With Maria Peregrina protected in a glass box.
The Youth Cross, originally inspired to draw young people to Jesus, has taken on a life of its own and with special Tais (local cloth) and a golden head piece it appears remarkably similar to a sacred pole dressed up as what could be understood to be a witch-doctor or local spiritual leader (similar to the gentleman in the above photo on the left). Mary statues are generally pretty and peaceful and lovingly adored. They make a suitable and comfortable couple to symbolise Timorese religion.
So it seems, even the City of God has its challenges. May God help us both at the top and the bottom to make changes.