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.