Dr. Dan with SOLS 24/7 Students
These are a group of kids from the SOLS 24/7 school that volunteer their mornings at Dr. Dan's clinic. Dr. Dan is in the middle with the hat and glasses.
I am in East Timor and things are pretty good. A couple of weeks ago there were assassination attempts on the President and Prime Minister, but Dili is far from tense. It actually seems more relaxed and prosperous than any other time that I've been here. There are more stores and restaurants. And more foreigners to fill them, not the gun-toting military guys from Nov 2006, but UN and NGO people.
I am staying with my friend from Peace Corps Jesse and I pay him back by translating articles from Tetun to English for the weekly newspaper where he works. As far as I know there are 6 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) here, though maybe Returned isn't the right word. Another RPCV friend Annie is the Administration Manager at Dr. Daniel Murphy's clinic. Dr. Dan is an American doctor that's been here since 1997. So I'm also helping out at his clinic doing odd jobs.
My first full day in Dili I went to find my host family from my Peace Corps days. Romana, my host mom, shrieked when her daughter and I got out of the bemo. It was so great seeing her again and
Ano with guitar
Ano's "house" has a bed, a laptop and four guitars. That's it.
we picked up where we left off, telling stories and making jokes. I'm surprised and thankful by how quickly my Tetun has come back. It has made this trip a lot easier. Romana is in the middle of her maternity specialization course to become an official midwife/nurse. Coincidently, she just started her rotation at Dr. Dan's clinic, so we'll be running into each other a lot.
After we caught up with the family there, we headed back into town to find my oldest host brother Ano. After walking along a river bed, we came to a house made out of corrugated tin. Ano was sitting in the window hunched over a laptop working on a paper for his International Relations course. When he saw me, he got this huge grin on his face and clapped his hands like a little kid. Ano is usually reserved and way too cool for such things, so it was pretty adorable.
Mia, Ano and I went up to Laclubar over the weekend. The drive along the coast before turning inland has always been one of my favorite things in Timor. And that day everything was even more intense than I
The new hospital in Laclubar.
remembered. The mountains were steeper and covered with impossible shades of green and a bruised blue ocean swelled beneath. It was surreal and I soaked it up from the back of the truck remembering what it's like to live in Technicolor.
We were just in time for Laclubar's Sunday market, where you go to see and be seen, and occasionally buy things. Most of the news was about who got married and who had babies. The one big change in Laclubar was a new hospital that had been completed after my last visit. But the best part of going to Laclubar was seeing Rony and Memo, my two youngest host brothers. Seeing them made the trip. When we came back down to Dili, we brought Rony with us.
Now I'm back in Dili and enjoying the luxury of having electricity.
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