Our time in Indonesia was running out. We had one day left in West Timor before heading to Darwin, Australia via Bali. We had not forgotten Sister Henrita. We had met her at the lakes in Kelimutu, Flores when she had said we could stay in her convent. When I called her from Kefa she reconfirmed it was fine for us to stay our last night in West Timor. It help that it was right by the airport.
We got the bus to Kupang having bought a few items at Kefa market, including avocados as a gift to the sisters. It was a short motorbike ride to the Fioretti convent. As Henrita said, 'Everyone in Kupang knows where Fioretti is'. We had no idea what to expect. We had never stayed at a convent before.
The convent was a simple building with rooms off a corridor. At one end the sisters run a clinic for local people with the help of a nurse. At the other end they run a pre-school. The latter was not running because it was the weekend. We were given a simple room with single beds and mosquito nets. It was
Outside the Fioretti convent with the ambulance ready to go to the airport
The young lad is their 'house boy' who they support at school in exchange for doing odd jobs around the convent.
The convent is run by the Order of Saint Francis. There were photos of the Californian born Mother Superior now based in Rome on the wall. Henrita was actually from Java and had been in Kupang for 2 years. There are four nuns at the convent and it just so happened that the other three were away. We sat and chatted about her work, her family and the order. These days you can 'friend' nuns on Facebook. I went with her to the neighbouring monastery to pick up carboys of fresh water. The Forenti convent is on a hill with a poor water supply and the monastery had an impressive water purification system they can use.
You don't expect to be served dog for lunch in a convent! Henrita explained that a recent local visitor had brought some and did we want to try it. Why not? It was like a cross between rabbit and lamb in a spicy sauce. Jane stuck to vegetarian options. Whilst eating dog is commonly associated by Westerners with Korea and Vietnam it is also regularly eaten by the Christian communities in Sumatra (the Batak) and Timor.
The next day I asked Henrita how much we should pay her and she said she did not want anything. We gave her a donation to the covent Which she happily accepted. It certainly had given us a different experience we will surely remember.
She offered us a lift to the airport. He only transport was the convent's ambulance so that's how we went. I expect it to be the only time in my life I am taken to an airport by a nun in an ambulance!
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