Monday, August 26, 2013

Training Centre for Liquidoe



We’ve had a great visit from Rob and Chris a carpenter and builder from the  Gold Coast, Australia.  Rob has come a few times to Timor already and blesses us with his practical experience and caring heart.  Another plus is that he speaks Indonesia so they can operate fairly independently.  We just help to coordinate the next job, line up a few materials and they take it from there.  This time they built a training centre for the Serving Our World school at Liquidoe.  The function of this building is to provide a training room with either sewing machines or computers or both in a clean and secure environment.  A recent advance for the school was getting electricity which has made a facility like this possible. There is also a space for a school office, storeroom and cooking in the verandah out the back.  After trying to get mudbricks made up for a year by locals without success we resigned to using a stud frame plywood construction (eating up more Indonesian rainforest – o dear…)  The building went up pretty quick – within a few days. 


Rob and Chris employed around 15 locals who got an opportunity to learn a few new building skills.  I will go a one or two more times to finish electricity and lining the inside where needed.  Then we think it may be enough building for a little while in Liquidoe – its time to concentrate implementing more lessons and using the facility that they have more effectively.  A big thanks to these guys who have the courage to hop on the back of a truck and travel up into the bush with a few supplies and live rough in order to help the locals.

Our family is going great after some recent sickness.  Xakira is now crawling and cute as ever.  Her arms are bandaged with splints 24/7 now to stop her scratching an itch we think is fungal based.  Without this she would scratch until she bleeds.  So, like I said, going great.

Some other cool news:

A Tetun Terik translation of the whole New Testament was launched in West Timor.  Some people in East Timor speak this language and will benefit.

Jesus Comics are finally on there way to Timor after an 18 month campaign to get them.

Water filters have just arrived from America and more are on their way from Oz to provide clean drinking water for Timorese.

The Youth House is moving forward with the roof getting done.

We’re coming into a tight time for the small farm business in Los Palos where the group has a very short window to get registered into a new seed system before being allowed to sell their 1.7t of corn seed. 

More cook stoves are going out to villagers.

We built a pizza oven the other day so next time you come we can have some yummy pizza.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A corn sheller for Timor Leste

A while back now my sister brought a corn sheller from America for me to take to Timor Leste.  Its a cast iron machine that takes kernels off the cob.  These things were invented about 100 years ago or more by some Aussie guy (I dont really know actually but figured we Aussies should take the glory because its such a fine invention – and we dont mind stealing things).  In Australia, we stopped using machines like this about 50 years ago.  The technology is forgotten by most people and it was never passed on to people in developing countries who are left doing the job with their bare hands.  There are actually a bunch of ideas like this that can help bring practices out of the middle ages and into the 20th century.

I’ve finally had the chance to take it out to Lino to give it a run with some of his corn.  If you check out the video you might notice it was pretty hard to take the smile off his face while he was cranking this machine.  It took him about 20 labour days to shell nearly 2 tonnes of corn last season.  We reckon with this machine he could cut it down to 5 days.  Sturdy technology like this helps to make Timorese famers more efficient in their work and hopefully makes the whole farming business more viable.
We’d like to get this machine out to a heap of farmers across the country which will likely happen through connections with NGOs.
Linos sheller
Now that I’ve wow’ed you with yet another cool idea… lets get a little D & M.  Is this actually a good idea?  What does it mean for a human to have more stuff?  Should the farmer buy it or get it for free?  Will this mean he gets hooked on our developed country’s vicious treadmill of always looking for the most efficient way of doing things?  What does production of this machine mean in terms of a carbon footprint and more mining to make all that steel?  Shelling corn can be a very communal activity where a bunch of family members sit around together for a number of days and all help to shell the corn while telling stories.  What will mechanisation do to that cultural activity if one guy is sitting there trying to rip through the cobs as quick as possible?  And before we jump to condemning me as a culture destroyer, what if I thought it was a nice cultural activity but they saw it as a tedious task struggling to get it done while it belts down rain knowing that the other family members will want to take more than their fair share of his corn in return for having shelled it? 
It would be pretty hard to get to the bottom of all these questions.  In the mean time, Lino looks pretty happy.