DIANNE

Dianne HeadArriving at Dili Airport I was met by the Director, Sr Joaquim Freitas Soares and volunteer, Siobhan, whose brother, Liam happened to be on the same flight.

We gathered ourselves and then headed to Tibar. The weather was hot and sunny and most welcome after the cold climate of Ballarat, Victoria.

On my first day I had my first meeting with the Director to discuss his plans for my stay.   I had been forewarned of some of the legal work so took a USB with some relevant documents as I knew the difficulties of research and the problematic access to the internet in Timor-Leste – being my 6th visit.

My work was challenging, exciting and very satisfying. I was ably assisted by a number of staff and was able to borrow Sr Grigorio’s ‘Lei de Trabalho Code’ (Employment Law) – the national employment legislation.

DSC_1068I visited the TB Administration, Clinic and the Physiotherapy Room and watched a young disabled female child learning to play, with the loving guidance of her devoted parents. I always greeted the residents when I walked past their buildings as they would be sitting on the front porches.   One morning, this young child wanted to show me how she could use her walker, then she turned around and held out her arms and began to walk slowly towards me. I was only about 4-5 feet from her. I held out my arms and hands so that I could reach her hands so she would not fall. Her mother was pleased and proud that her daughter had reached out to a malae and was no doubt slowly building up her confidence. I felt very privileged to be accepted in a small way by this young child and her Mother.

Another friend made was one of the dearest elderly female residents, Fatima, who would sit on a cane chair and watch us. Sometimes she would greet me.   I always spoke to her in Tetum but she had little power of speech but always greeted me with a handshake.

DSC_1110The Volunteer House was a focal point for me as it was a ‘touch of Australia’ where we volunteers could catch up with each other, and discuss anything that we wished to talk about, watch the television or just sit and relax.

I began to feel that I could stay at Klibur Domin forever. There was a feeling of being ‘at home’, with friends and staff who watched out for me and who always greeted me with a big smile. I trust that my contribution, albeit a small one, has and will assist the Director with his wonderful work at Klibur Domin.

DSC_1114I would willingly return to Klibur Domin. I had a truly wonderful experience. I am very grateful for being given the opportunity of volunteering at Klibur Domin, suggested to me by Sra Dianne McGrath of the Ballarat Ryder Cheshire Group who assisted and supported me with my application. A sincere thank you for allowing me the special privilege of volunteering and living at Klibur Domin, Timor-Leste.