My name is Charlotte, and I recently returned from two months staying at Klibur Domin (KD). I was privileged enough to complete my final placement for a Masters of Public Health at KD. Over the course of two months, I was placed alongside the tuberculosis (TB) team and worked specifically with Carlos and Jacinto. I was lucky enough that my time crossed over briefly at the beginning with the Australian dental team. John, Lyn and Matty, along with Marty gave me a very warm welcome to Timor-Leste. Over the eight weeks I was at KD I had some amazing experiences, including joining the TB team in one of their mass screening programs at a local high school in Liquica, visiting the KD lab in Viqueque, attending a Global Fund meeting with Joaquim, and attending the International TB Day event in Dili. Another highlight was the opportunity I had to join Gregorio Mendes to visit the homes which KD was helping to rebuild in the aftermath of cyclone Seroja.
While working alongside the TB team I gained an appreciation for the large contribution that the TB program has had towards Timor’s progress towards ending TB in the country. Further, it became evident early on in my stay that I was working amongst a team and organization that was very well respected in the county. KD’s TB program is regarded highly by others working in a similar space.
The TB team and everyone I encountered while staying at KD was so warm and welcoming. It was great living within the compound and interacting with the KD staff and residents on a daily basis. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the Garton Cottage students and attending church with Carmen. Through my experiences I have gained an insight into the focus both KD and Timorese society in general have on community empowerment, self-determination, and commitment to the long-term growth of Timor-Leste. I learnt so much about the history of Timor-Leste and gained an appreciation for the resilience of such a young nation, I look forward to returning to KD soon.