Finishing up the first Timor stint

Days 33-38 passed by incredibly quickly. Saturday morning (day 34) I was supposed to be travelling by bus to Baucau but the driver came down with an eye infection and couldn’t drive, so Mana Er booked me on another bus for Sunday morning. I spent this bonus day in Lospalos going to the big Saturday market with Ona. We bought various vegies (way more than we needed, it turned out) and I fell in love with some little dishes made in the brittle local pottery style. “You don’t need them,” Ona reminded me, but I bought two and back home used them to store things like onions and garlic cloves and turmeric root in the drawers of the big kitchen dresser.

I also bought a woven basket to carry everything home in, but Ona wouldn’t let me carry it – wouldn’t even let me have a turn! Here she is with it on her forehead:

Sunday, day 35, I was up and all set to depart at 7am. Shame that the bus arrived to collect me at 6.20am! No breakfast for me. I sat next to Maun Elvis who chatted away in between various sneezes and coughs, and unsurprisingly I came down with a cold a few days after that bus trip.

They dropped me at Mana Lorensa’s in Baucau. There, I had a quick meeting with the Women’s Group and we recorded their song again. They also sang another song for me, one in their local language (Makassae) that is from Indonesian times and was the song of defiance and strength that the local people sang after an attack by Indonesian forces. We decided that they would continue to rehearse this song, the song they wrote with me, and a third, well-known children’s song in Tetun, and that they could prepare for a performance as part of the Human Right’s Day concert that I am organising with Marqy from Arte Moris Afalyca.

Sunday afternoon, day 35, Lorensa and I drove to Dili. It’s a beautiful drive, but it is also quite slow going at times. We arrived around 6pm, I think. That night I caught up with Sarah (the young UN intern from the house in Comoro) and we went to dinner and had a swim in the pool at her new place of residence.

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