Friday, June 24, 2011

Cave man

Cynthia has pretty much recovered from the measles. The damage to the eyes seemed to lead on to a severe eye infection. After some coaxing (I, Samuel am a very non-hospital goer) we went off to the doctor whichIMGP0780 was a good thing because one of my many little injuries was going septic on me and my hand was starting to swell. So now we’re both on antibiotics. But we shouldn’t be getting sick for a couple of months now because the very cool Portuguese doctor we see (SDA) will be out of the country till August.
Serenity and Israel showed the kids that group knot game.
Aside from caring for Cynth, keeping the house and doing the whole sick thing (I’ll spare you all the details just in case you think all we do is be sick, which actually seems to be what most of the people do here a lot of the time, I think its a ‘developing country’ thing) ...where was I... yes, aside from sickness I’ve basically been running two main jobs – the ag station renovation at Triloka and the mission base building in Dili. The cool thing about the work at Triloka is that I have made a new friend in the head builder. He’s a very sweet bloke the same age as I with 7 kids. When he was young he found a patch of boulders at the base of the limestone cliff in the city of Baucau. The city is built along this cliff which spews out the beautiful mineral water. Anyway, he made himself a flat patch by busting up some boulders and filling holes between bigger boulders with the rubble. And since he has lived there for 15 years he’s basically claimed it for himself – terra nullis rule, I suppose. You can claim a patch of land if no one else has. I’ve been staying with him on IMGP0671 several occasions which is really sweet as they cook meals and I get to read stories to the kids and check out his caves. He’s asked if I’d give him $200 so he can get water put on so the little girls don’t have to carry water up the steep rocky slope. I talked to him about saving $20 a month for 10 months instead (I’m a cruel mean-hearted so and so aren’t I). His wife really cottoned onto this novel idea of saving up for a goal. It would be really healthy for them if they could do it this way although I do feel for them. I gave him a handful of tomato seeds which, if he grew them and sold the tomatoes, could pay for the water. I noticed that their ‘kitchen’ had no light. The picture shows the family with the kitchen behind them tucked in between two great limestone boulders.  One of the little daughters was holding a little bottle filled with kero and a wick out the top as a light for mum as she stirred the vegies over the fire. She was perched on an old empty car battery which tipped and she fell ... almost into the fire with the kero lamp, not a good look. Mum had been cooking this way for years. I walked (climbed?) down to the local shop and put together some electrical gear - $7.25 and 2 hours later she had a light in her kitchen, revolutionary! We are so rich in the west its embarrassing. I get a few bites from sleeping in their house. It was one of these bites that went septic on my hand. I will keep thinking about the water. Its not the money that’s the issue, its how to help them in an appropriate and meaningful way that will help them to grow into the future by guiding their priorities and choices.
IMGP0700This pic shows a cool Timorese house in Triloka.  The bottom half of the wall is limestone rock stuck together with red clay soil.  Above this is rusty 44 gallon drums beaten flat.  The roof is a thatch grass – the light brown section to the right has more recently been replaced.  For the ridge cap, they have lashed out and put on some roofing iron sheets held down with a couple of lengths of bamboo.

1 comment:

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

An interesting read. Hope you are all well soon ....and for along time. I think you made good choices with the head builder friend.