The seven weeks that I spent in Klibur Domin, was nothing short of memorable and humbling. Prior to the commencement of my volunteering period, Ryder Cheshire Australia liaised with Klibur Domin and drafted some tasks which I could possibly assist with, based on my work experiences. I also had the opportunity to speak to a recently returned volunteer, to understand better the environment and hear about his experiences. These helped me to have a better idea of what to expect and prepare myself mentally.
Whilst at Klibur Domin, I spent most of my time helping out in administrative tasks including drafting of finance reports, reviewing policies and editing documents written in English. With my academic background in psychology and some research, I gave a brief presentation on the mental health landscape in Timor Leste, and basic information about a few mental illnesses, which some of the residents in Uma Barbara are suffering from, to a group of nursing students who were doing their practicum and some staff at Klibur Domin. I particularly enjoyed my time out of the office interacting with the residents of Uma Barbara, guiding them in doing simple craft activities, drawing, blowing bubbles, or just simply chatting with them.
Although I was mostly involved in administrative tasks, I learn much about Klibur Domin’s work from the staff in the Community Based Rehabilitation and Tuberculosis teams which head out to the communities regularly for advocacy work and to identify people in need of medical attention. It was always heart warming to hear about and see how the conditions of certain individuals, especially the children, improve after undergoing physiotherapy in Klibur Domin and return home to reunite with their families.
It was easy to settle in at KD as its staff were all very friendly. They were always more than willing to share their experiences, which left me feeling very inspired. They were encouraging whenever I attempted to converse with them in Tetun. It was sad to bid farewell at the end of my short seven weeks. I am thankful to Ryder Cheshire Australia and Klibur-Domin for the opportunity to volunteer with them, giving me not only a memorable and inspiring experience, but also several new friends whom I would very much like to meet again.
In August 2017, Peter and Helen Newton visited Klibur Domin for two weeks. It was Peter’s eighteenth visit and Helen’s fourth. Neither had travelled to other than the capital Dili, Tibar village (where Klibur Domin is located) and a few other remote villages to observe Klibur Domin’s outreach programs. The rest of Timor-Leste was a closed book to us.
On this visit, the Home Manager, Joaquim Soares and his wife Maria decided to take a week’s leave and drive us 855 km around their beautiful country, much of which Maria had not seen, and there were even a few of the places we visited which were new to Joaquim. It was a voyage of discovery for Helen and me and opened our eyes to the delightful Timorese people, the extreme poverty in the remote villages, the great natural beauty and the tourist potential of the country. However, much is needed to improve the roads and communications and to provide suitable accommodation and restaurants before a tourist boom could occur.
Our first week was spent at Klibur Domin where we were impressed with the tremendous progress made since our last visits. Ryder-Cheshire and Rotary have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past five years to undertake essential improvements and maintenance work which has significantly improved the facilities at the home and its operation. Continue reading Visit by Peter and Helen Newton to Klibur Domin→
When I left Klibur Domin in November 2016 a lot of what was going through my mind concerned “what hadn’t been done”. There were some specific tasks on the agenda from day one. Tasks identified by others, tasks that could lead to giving real assistance to the Director.
Snr Joaquim Soares, Director of KD, was the perfect host. Briefing me the first day he took me around the campus, an orientation walk and an introduction to a few of those on staff. Then into his office for the specifics about how best to use my time to help him. Over the next two days I met most of the staff and Iread lots of notes written by previous volunteers. Continue reading My Volunteering Time at Klibur Domin→
Ondria Cheeseman has always wanted to write a book since her early days.
It was her volunteering experience at Klibur Domin in 2014 that pushed her along her bucket list giving her the much needed motivation to write and realize her dream.
At the age of three, Ondria needed to be hospitalized for heart surgery. She knew then that her calling was to nursing. That was in 1966 and fifty years on Ondria is still nursing.
She trained at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Upon her graduation she worked in Northern Territory, Western Australia, Papua New Guinea in the Duke of York Islands and Bougainville.
Ondria met her husband, Leicester, in Papua New Guinea and went to live in his homeland New Zealand, where they raised their three children.
Returning to Australia they settled in Ballarat, Victoria. Ondria worked in a variety of nursing positions and developed a serious interest in palliative care. This has been her main area of nursing in recent years. Continue reading Telling My Story – A Life in Nursing→
Fr Ted Burns is a retired priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese. He has had a long association with Ryder-Cheshire and was instrumental many years ago in recruiting our current RCA President, Peter Newton AO. Fr Burns recently visited Klibur Domin in company with Peter. He is the author of this article which is appearing in the Catholic magazine Annals Australasia and the text is reproduced here with kind permission of
Fr Burns and the publisher.
SHARED LOVE IN EAST TIMOR
RYDER-CHESHIRE IN ACTION ON AUSTRALIA’S DOORSTEP
By Fr. Ted Burns PE
It’s not every day that a priest (especially one in his late 70s) gets such a sweet smile from a young lady. It happened to me recently at a small village in Ermera province, in the rugged mountains of Timor-Leste, better-known as East Timor.
The lady concerned was about 10 months old. As she beamed at me from her mother’s arms, I realized, as her tiny face lit up, that she had virtually no upper lip. My immediate reaction was resolving to find help for her. Such cases are not unusual.
On this visit to East Timor, I had joined the mobile unit of a Community Based Rehabilitation team from Klibur Domin (KD) a Ryder-Cheshire (RCA) initiative sponsored by Australians and New Zealanders, and operated by about 40 local Timorese from their base at Tibar, 17 km west of Dili.
Fr Burns with mothers and young patients
Klibur Domin is Timorese for Shared Love, and the Mobile Rehab team is just one arm of this wonderfully effective outfit. There is also a Mobile TB team. It too travels to remote villages, diagnosing and treating sufferers. Timor has one of the highest rates of TB in the world, and literally hundreds have been treated, thanks to the Clinic at KD. Continue reading Shared Love in East Timor→