LIFE IN LOS PALOS

It’s hard to believe we have been in Timor Leste for almost 3 weeks.

It has been so challenging and so rewarding.
We arrived in Lospalos to total chaos. Nothing had been organised as promised and the key people were not talking to each other.
After much waiting around things started to shift.
Thankfully our Driver Aalto was a gem. He found us digs, shopped and cooked for us and gave us great cultural advice.
He is now off doing a tour with another group and I miss him terribly.
The young people were super keen to start the Media Training so Wayne and Sarah launched into it with great enthusiasm.
They are making a short film which will screen at a major launch here on Saturday the 30th of June.
It has been nothing short of miraculous the way it has all come together. The script has been written by the young people, the Director is West Timorese, sound is being done by a local as well and the star of the show has a Hollywood career coming up without doubt. He is awesome.
Today is pretty much the last day of filming and we needed a guy to play the grownup version of our Actor. While shopping last night Wayne and I found him. He had been living in Melbourne but is back in Lospalos with a thriving little business. He had also acted in Balibo. He also was sensational.
The stand out star was the crocodile that our Director, Charles, managed to conjure up by dangling a puppy over the river. The crocodile behaved perfectly and silently sunk down into the depths of the river right on cue.
While all the filming has been going on I have managed to negotiate a good outcome for the young people and the women regarding the building of a Centre. There will now be two centres, one for each group.
Building finally commenced yesterday. We have a great Indigenous carpenter working with us called Dale. He nearly had a heart attack watching the guys barefoot on the roof ripping off the old iron. He has been training them in the use of power tools. Quite challenging I can tell you.
I was able to buy tools nice and cheaply thanks to a crazy guy called Rocket I had met in the Hotel Esplanada. He is a carpenter and has lived here for 10 years. Quite a character I can tell you. If it were not for him I would still be in the various shops trying to explain what I needed.
Today is a big Fretilin Rally and Maleve and Elsa are speaking at it. They are both so charismatic and inspiring.
This blog would not be complete without mentioning Deb Salvagno. She has been here in Lospalos for 2 years and has achieved so much with the women weavers. I admire her stamina as conditions are quite difficult and relationships are highly complex. I actually don’t know how she has done it.
We will be posting the short film on our website so look out for it over the next couple of weeks.
I hear the weather is terrible in Melbourne. Every day here is perfection but I do miss our little farm and our beautiful dog not to mention my sons Jay and Sam and all my friends.
See you soon.