Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chugging Along

Click on the movie to download while you read if you want to.  Its 8Mb, a walk through our new home nearlyish complete.

We are all fairly well.  Israel is a bit sick.  It probably doesn’t help that he tears around outside most of the day in the dust and poo from various different living organisms.  Samuel has been away for another 4 days trying to run some semblance of a building program.  His latest pull-your-hair-out drama is the windows and doors.  It was eventually agreed that all the windows and doors need replacing.  He arranged a subcontract through the building contractor to get them professionally made.  Both the contractor who is a Timorese architect trained in London and the head carpenter came on site to measure up the doors and windows.  Now they are being delivered on site only to find that many of them are 10-15cm out in width and length.  This turns a window installation job of 2 hours into 8 hours in this country.  Its just a major hassle that wouldn’t have to happen if only they could use a tape measure.  I will learn my lesson one day I suppose.
Friday, 20th, May, was the 9th anniversary of “The Restoration of Independence of Timor Leste”.  They put in ‘restoration’ to make the point that they got independence for a few months back in ‘75 only to lose it again to the Indonesians.IMGP0574
The Mission Base (which is about to undergo a name change) is chugging along without much involvement from Samuel.  We just check it out once a week, suck in our breath at the interesting building techniques, and go “cant wait to move in”.  Check out the movie if you can wait for the download. 

plan jpg
We still distribute some Bibles.  We are waiting for a big wig in the Nazarene Church to come and talk about the design of their complex.   There’s a bit of a design here.  Its Samuel’s first go at using a real CAD program. 
Sese, the evangelist, got a motorbike and is able to get around and visit different places and villages.  He also has connections to the Catholic Bible publishing group which can give me a way in to get Bibles.
We gave Mateus a small loan to buy materials to help build a school in the mountains and this is moving along.
We are involved in other odd jobs whenever people can nail us like advice for a microfinance org on solar and battery backup power systems so remote workers can crunch numbers using excel on a laptop and print forms for village applicants.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Murderers and Thieves

We are happy to report that we are all well.  We have an announcement to make about an increase in the size of our family.  I might as well make it official – much to my chagrin – we have a cat.  Not that I dont like cats and all.  Its just that I think they belong in Egypt with all those mummies.  But one must have a positive attitude on things so I will admit that it does do the cute thing … sometimes.  It has pooed on me though which I will count against it and the verdict is still pending as to whether it will prove a worthy member of the family and knock off a few rats.  Not that I dont like rats and all.  Its just that I think that they belong … well somewhere else.  We humans are a nasty lot.  But the cat does keep Cynthia and the kids very happy so I will be content with that.
Much of my time through the week has been spent in a place called Baucau putting a new roof on an agricultural station in a village called Triloka.  Baucau itself is the second biggest ‘city’ in the country and has some beautiful old buildings built in Portuguese times.  Many of the Portuguese used to live here as the climate was milder.  It is built on the side of limestone cliffs and is oozing with spring water everywhere.  There is so much water in this place it bubbles up out of potholes in the streets.  The roof replacement has been difficult.  Some of the men I work with have killed more men with machetes than I care to think about.  We were up on the roof the other day waiting for something to be passed up and one of the men tells me about the torturing he went through in the past – during the times of Indonesian occupation.  Indonesian rule spread from the west to the east as they tried to stamp out the resistance and catch the rebels.  Some of the Timorese sided with the Indonesians and would turn in their brothers and kill them for a fee - $200 a month.  It doesn’t seem much, but it would have been a pretty good wage back in the 80’s and 90’s.  Anyway, that survival spirit still lives on and I find myself in a bit of a diplomatic challenge as they nicely explain that there’s going to be trouble if I don’t give work to so and so.  Add to that the thieves who seemed to be able to steal building materials before they touched the ground.  Roofing never seemed so hard.  Throw in a flat tyre, landslips, barely standing bridges, more rats and a broken fan belt out in woop woop and you’ve probably got a pretty good picture of the last couple of weeks.  Its work though so I cant complain I suppose.
The mission base/our home is still coming along and roof timbers have been half installed.  We are designing a complex for the Dili Nazarene church which is pretty exciting.  We are giving some support to Mateus to build a school in the mountains.  We are also being there for a young man called Sese who has a vision for discipleship groups across the country.  
The Sewing room is still chugging along.  Sinta has another order of 18 cloth books for the library in Gleno.  Mending jobs keep flowing in so she has been a bit busy.  A week ago we tried to employ a second trained woman (Sintas friend) however our neighbour kindly suggested it would not be a wise idea to employ someone from another area.  Apparently it has to be family, or someone from this small village/suburb.  Sinta could train someone but it means she cant be working at the same time. And at the moment we have just been too busy to spare her to train.  Still trying to work out how to move forward.  We are waiting with bated breath for the arrival of a crate of vintage machines and fabric etc.