Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LDS Charities Begins in Timor-Leste

August 8th, 2015 was a historic day.  Elder Douglas and Sister Lucinda Johnson, LDS Charities volunteers, officially arrived in Timor-Leste to begin humanitarian work. Elder Coffey and I are privileged to travel with them during this set up period.  We will be here in Timor-Leste for several weeks and then return to Hong Kong.  The Johnson's will stay here.  They have been serving in the Hong Kong Area Office with us as Area Welfare Specialists, and have been re-assigned to Timor-Leste.  We are so excited for them!

Elder and Sister Johnson arrive in Dili, Timor-Leste

Arriving at the Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste

First, we worked on settling into our apartments at JL Villa. The inside of the one-bedroom apartments are simple and adequate, but need some tender loving care. But the grounds look like a lush tropical paradise!

Included in the rent is a daily cleaning service.  The housekeepers will do dishes, sweep and mop, clean the bathroom and kitchen areas, and take the laundry away to wash. But the dryer lives on our balcony!

We found one of the best grocery stores in town - complete with a simple metal roof with tin awnings.  But it has most everything you need for basic survival.  Even Oreo cookies.  

We've been meeting with NGO partners and working to get LDS Charities set up. Meanwhile, we have enjoyed meeting the people of Timor-Leste.

The monetary unit in Timor-Leste is the US dollar. This man was selling the orange beaded necklaces for $20 apiece!  We politely declined.  Of course, when the other hawkers saw we had stopped to look, they started running up to us to get us to buy their wares.  Fortunately, we made it through the group without buying anything.

Children go to school for half a day, either the morning or the afternoon.  So at any given point of time, there are hordes of young people just sitting around, doing nothing, waiting for time to pass or for some excitement to happen. With the young adults, the unemployment rate is extremely high.

Children collecting minnows along the freshwater run off near the beach in Dili.

Enjoying sandcastle building

There is always time for soccer on the beach!

Waiting for time to pass....
Sometimes they get very creative!

This 4 month old baby came to visit the housekeepers at our apartment.
She brought her mom along too but slept through it all!

Selling cock cages for cock fights - popular in Timor-Leste

Geckos are our friends, geckos are our friends -
just keep repeating.... geckos are our friends.
We stopped for a delicious lunch at a Portuguese cafe/restaurant called Kakau, and shared our meal with this gecko who was eyeing our food.  Actually, he was trying to get back outside through the glass window. I think geckos are cute, but I am finding out I am in the minority.... ha!

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