I consider myself blessed to have had the amazing opportunity to spend the year of 2013 volunteering at Klibur Domin in Timor-Leste. I had some incredible experiences, made many new friends, and was inspired by Klibur Domin’s work to improve healthcare for rural communities.
I was fortunate enough to have been referred to RCA by a friend who had interviewed Peter Newton. She gave me the link to the website and a copy of her article, which was focused on Klibur Domin. I was planning to spend a year volunteering overseas, and after a few emails with Susie, the Volunteers Coordinator, I was sure that Klibur Domin was where I wanted to go. To be careful I initially committed to six months only, but with a fortnight I knew I wanted to stay the year.
Most of my time at work was spent assisting with various reports, proposals, research, monitoring and evaluation, newsletters, a new website, databases, and other duties. I learnt so much from the tasks assigned to me and I was very lucky to have such a great boss in Joaquim, Klibur Domin’s director. When I was fortunate enough to be working outside of the office, I really enjoyed visiting our community-based-rehabilitation clients in the community, visiting tuberculosis patients receiving community-based treatment, and taking clients on trips to the beach (so much fun!). All the staff at Klibur Domin were very kind and generous to me throughout the year, particularly when I got quite ill mid-year. I am thrilled my Tetum is good enough that I have been able to keep in contact with them via email and SMS since returning to Australia.
Timor-Leste is such a beautiful country, and being able to spend time in places like Atauro Island and Mt Ramelau were among the highlights of my year. But the most beautiful thing about Timor is the people. Despite of all that they have so recently suffered, they are so welcoming and genuinely caring. Despite the unavoidable challenges of living in Timor, such as illness and security concerns, I would not have wished to have spent my year anywhere else. I am planning my return visit, and I am so thankful to Ryder-Cheshire Australia for making all of this possible.