This week seems to have been the same monotonous run of work, keeping Timorese employed, supplying Bibles, fielding new requests, fixing things that have broken and managing sickness and injuries. Seems a bit boring but I’ll try to pull out some interesting stories.
The girls discovered straw hats.
One story is a Nigerian Doctor who called me a bit out of the blue to ask for help to build a shed for his plastic bottle recycling plant so he can earn money to support his Epilepsy treatment and advocacy organisation. Make sense? He’s a big man with a big heart. I’ll see if I can find time to see him this week. He has 40 tonnes of bottles stacked up – mountains! Did you know that they sell for 50c a kilo? While meeting me at home, he got to check out Cynthia who was suffering a fever and tonsillitis. Also, he’s part of a small local church and was very happy to receive a box of scriptures giving me the same expression I’ve heard so often, “Wow we’ve been wanting to find scriptures in Tetun for so long but didn’t know where to get them. This is amazing!”
I was also helping folks to buy all their gear for a good solar system for their library in the mountains – a bit of an art to assemble a workable system in this country. At the end of the day we dropped off their gear at Ahisaun (a disability centre) and I just happened to be introduced as the man who distributes Bibles to a Catholic priest there who works in Hata-bulico (quite remote mountain town). He is from an Indonesian island called Flores. He was very keen to get some Bibles so he followed me home and I gave him 50 New Testaments and some other scriptures for his Bible study groups including one of the precious last remaining copies of Genesis (the only OT scripture available). It turns out that his name is in the epilogue of the New Testament as one of the Priests who checked the translation. This is an important connection for me to ensure I can continue buying Bibles from the Catholic distributor without getting too hassled.
Padre Adriano from Flores, working in the mountains of Hata-bulico
The following night, at the markets, I met a girl working with PALMS (Catholic volunteer agency) who seemed rather desperate to build a fence in ... Hatabulico! Small world. The problem they face is that animals are getting to the village spring and they want to protect it as well as their vegetable gardens. I’m hoping I can help them with a bamboo fence. I am so wrapped in bamboo! There are three things you need here to grow a garden, three things to secure food for your family – 1. A good water supply, 2. A good fence, and 3. A willing heart to work. If you can help the Timorese with these three fundamental things then they can grow good gardens. We packed up from the markets to come home to find the truck had died yet again. After a couple of hours I called my mate, Anen, who came and wobbled a piece of wire in the engine bay where a fuse should have been and had the truck started in 2 minutes flat. I rumbled into home after 1 am. The vehicles are a bit of a drama – three flat tyres this week and the accelerator cable snapped on the Suzuki. Last week, the brakes on the truck started smoking and I had to reset one side including pulling apart the slave cylinder. Still struggling with it.
Started building the chook pen this week as a demonstration concept on how to keep chooks more in a more viable way. 6ft fence made from ... bamboo! I have taught boys who have taught other boys who now work for me making fences.
Finalised drawings for submission to government for the new conference centre for the Nazarene Church. We hope to get them water this week and then start on their land drainage problem because the rains have just started. (Our ‘you-beaut’ all-natural thatched roof leaks, doh!)