by Pei San
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.